Natural Treatments for Diabetic Neuropathy

Natural Treatments for Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes neuropathy is a frequent consequence of the disease, affecting around 50% of diabetics 1. It is characterized by nerve injury and can cause numbness, tingling, and searing pain 12. While there is no known cure for diabetic neuropathy, natural remedies may help ease symptoms and improve nerve health. In this post, we will look at numerous natural therapies that may be included in a complete diabetic neuropathy treatment strategy.

What is Diabetic Neuropathy?

Diabetic neuropathy develops as a result of long-term elevated blood sugar levels causing nerve damage. This injury can affect nerves throughout the body, but the feet, legs, hands, and arms are the most typically affected. Diabetic neuropathy is classified into four types:

Peripheral neuropathy: The most frequent kind is peripheral neuropathy, which affects the nerves in the feet and legs.

Autonomic neuropathy: Autonomic neuropathy is a condition that affects the nerves that govern involuntary activities including digestion, heart rate, and bladder control.

Proximal neuropathy: The nerves in the thighs, hips, buttocks, and legs are affected by proximal neuropathy.

Focal neuropathy: Affects certain nerves, resulting in weakness or paralysis in a specific location.

Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy symptoms might vary based on the kind and severity of nerve damage. Among these signs are:

  • Foot, leg, hand, or arm pain, burning, or tingling
  • Numbness or lack of sensation
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Cramps
  • Balance issues
  • Digestive issues
  • Bladder problems
  • Sexual issues

Causes of Diabetic Neuropathy

Several factors contribute to the development of diabetic neuropathy, including:

High blood sugar levels: This is the major cause of nerve damage in diabetes.

Long-term duration of diabetes: The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely they are to develop neuropathy.

Uncontrolled blood sugar levels: Uncontrolled blood sugar levels haveten nerve damage.

Other medical diseases: Some medical disorders, such as renal failure, might exacerbate diabetic neuropathy.

Lifestyle: Smoking, alcohol consumption, and a lack of exercise can all raise the risk of neuropathy.

Natural Treatments for Diabetic Neuropathy

Maintaining good blood sugar levels is an important element of controlling diabetic neuropathy. This is possible with good medical treatment, frequent blood sugar testing, and a healthy lifestyle. 

Here are some lifestyle changes that may help reduce symptoms and decrease the growth of diabetic neuropathy:

1. Exercise for Nerve Health

Exercise-for-Nerve-Health

Regular exercise improves muscular tone and can help alleviate certain neuropathy symptoms. It is also important in the management of underlying illnesses such as diabetes, which can lead to peripheral neuropathy. 

Exercise helps the body control blood sugar levels and lowers pressure on peripheral blood vessels, both of which assist persons at risk of neuropathy.

2. Dietary Changes for Blood Sugar Control

A good diet is critical for controlling blood sugar levels and avoiding neuropathy. A diet high in fiber and low in simple carbs helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. 

Foods high in antioxidants, high in fiber, and low in salt and saturated fats should be included in the diet. It is also critical to restrict alcohol consumption and refrain from smoking.

3. Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

Acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are examples of over-the-counter pain medications that can give short relief from neuropathic pain. However, if these pills must be used daily, it is important to visit a physician, since long-term usage might have negative health consequences

4. Capsaicin Cream for Pain Relief

Topical capsaicin cream can be applied to the affected areas to alleviate the burning pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. It is available over-the-counter in low doses, but higher dosages may require a prescription from a physician.

Supplements for Nerve Health

In addition to lifestyle changes, several vitamins and supplements may help promote nerve function and decrease diabetic neuropathy symptoms. Here are several substances that have shown promise in the treatment of neuropathy:

1. B-Complex Vitamins

B-complex vitamins, such as B-12 and B-6, are essential for nerve health. These vitamin deficiencies can cause nerve injury and worsen neuropathic pain. Individuals who are deficient in B-12 and B-6 may benefit from supplementation.

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps decrease inflammation and preserve nerves. It has been demonstrated to alleviate neuropathy symptoms such as burning and tingling.

3. Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant that can help to manage blood sugar levels and relieve nerve discomfort. It has been demonstrated to be effective for people suffering from diabetic neuropathy.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in fatty fish, offer anti-inflammatory characteristics and promote nervous system health. Including omega-3-rich items in your diet or taking supplements may help decrease inflammation and improve neuropathy symptoms.

5. N-Acetylcysteine

N-acetylcysteine is an antioxidant that can alleviate pain feelings. It has shown potential in inhibiting some enzymes involved in neuropathic pain.

6. Magnesium and Calcium

When magnesium and calcium are combined, they can aid with muscular cramping, which can aggravate neuropathic pain. It is crucial to remember, however, that large amounts of these minerals might induce diarrhea.

Before beginning any new supplements, contact your healthcare professional to confirm they are appropriate for your condition and general health.

Other Natural Remedies

Some people get relief from diabetic neuropathy symptoms through alternative therapy, in addition to lifestyle modifications and vitamins. While additional study is needed to properly understand their efficacy, these treatments may be worth considering as part of a complete treatment strategy. Here are some alternative remedies that have been proposed to treat neuropathic pain:

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been identified as a viable therapy for neuropathy because it may increase nerve conduction and aid with pain relief. More well-designed research, however, is required to show its conclusive advantages.

2. Aromatherapy Massage

Essential oil aromatherapy massage has demonstrated excellent outcomes in lowering neuropathic pain and enhancing the quality of life in diabetic neuropathy patients. When used in combination with massage, essential oils such as lavender, peppermint, or chamomile may give relief.

3. Chiropractic Techniques

Chiropractic methods, such as spinal adjustments, may help relieve nerve pain by improving spinal alignment and decreasing nerve pressure. However, further study is required to back up these assertions.

4. Energy-Based Modalities

Reiki and other energy-based therapies aim to balance the body’s energy flow. While there is no scientific evidence to support their efficacy in treating neuropathy, some people find them useful in controlling symptoms.

How to Prevent Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes neuropathy prevention is critical for sustaining nerve health and general well-being. In addition to the natural remedies indicated above, here are other precautions and considerations:

1. Regular Medical Care

Diabetes neuropathy prevention is critical for sustaining nerve health and general well-being. In addition to the natural remedies indicated above, here are other precautions and considerations:

2. Blood Sugar Control

Blood-Sugar-Control

Maintain appropriate blood sugar levels by food, exercise, and medication as directed by a doctor. Rapid dips in blood sugar levels should be avoided since they might exacerbate discomfort.

3. Foot Care

Individuals with diabetic neuropathy must take care of their feet. Foot ulcers and infections can be avoided by performing daily foot washing and examinations, wearing comfortable and well-fitting shoes, and exercising caution while handling sharp items.

4. Lifestyle Modifications

Avoid smoking and restrict alcohol use since they might aggravate nerve discomfort and create more damage. To improve general health and well-being, maintain a healthy body weight, and manage stress levels.

Conclusion

Diabetic neuropathy may have a substantial influence on an individual’s quality of life, but natural remedies are available to help control symptoms and improve nerve health. Exercise and dietary modifications, as well as supplements and alternative treatments, may give comfort and reduce the course of neuropathy. 

Working together with a healthcare practitioner to build a thorough treatment plan that addresses individual requirements is critical. Individuals suffering from diabetic neuropathy might find treatment and enhance their entire well-being by taking a holistic approach.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read this article on Creating a Prediabetes-Friendly Diet That Works for You.

*This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical or dietary advice tailored to individual needs.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberly-langdon-m-d-41847610/
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.

Publications

-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being