Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
This condition is characterized by unpleasant or painful symptoms caused by inflammatory or degenerative changes in nerves. The sharp, burning pains characteristic of polyneuropathy, when treated with exercise, diet, hydrotherapy, herbs, and regularity in lifestyle, will often begin to subside in one month. (Journal of Nutritional Medicine 4:431;1994)
In some individuals, taking B12 can help clear lost vibratory sensation and neuropathy.
Neuropathy is helped especially by myoinositol, a nutrient found in abundance in all legumes (beans), cantaloupes, all citrus fruits (especially grapefruit), whole grains, wheat germ, and nuts and peanuts, and most other vegetarian foods. But myoinositol is quite low in meat, milk, eggs, and cheese. The myoinositol content of foods is one of the reasons the vegan diet is superior to a diet which contains any animal products. (Nutrition Research 16(4):603; 1996)
Complete vegetarians tend to avoid neuropathy.
A low sodium diet coupled with a low protein diet can be very effective in slowing down the development of age related nephropathy. All persons over age 45 may best be counseled to use both a low protein and a low salt diet. Some of the protein taken should be from soybeans, as that kind of protein is actually healing for the nerves as well as for the kidneys.Magnesium helps slow or prevent the progression of neuropathy. (Trace Elements and Electrolytes, 15(4):163; 1998)
For many years we have known that foods that have been overly browned contain toxic substances. Recent research indicates that Advanced Glycolated End products (AGEs) from excessively browned foods of all kinds, whether it is roasted chicken, or overly browned toast, produces AGEs, which are dumped quickly into the bloodstream and contribute to the development of neuropathy. These risks are particularly high if the person has kidney damage which makes it difficult for the body to dispose of the AGEs rapidly. Dehydration also encourages the build up in the blood of AGEs. (Your Health August 20, 1996 page 80)
In neuropathy, a continuous stroking of the back and lower extremities, shoulders and backs of the arms, taking between 25 and 30 minutes merely continuing the stroking, and then 10-15 minutes of the rubbing of the front of the legs and arms is helpful for neuropathy. The treatment should be done at least twice a week for two months and then every ten to fourteen days for about six months. The circulation can often be improved to the point that the severely compromised circulation can come back into service. (Massage #20 March-April 1996, p. 102)
A contrast shower of the legs and feet can be very beneficial in neuropathy. The patient can remove only the clothing on the feet and legs, sit on the edge of a bathtub, and using a hand held shower attachment to spray the first hot then cold water on the legs and feet. The hot water is sprayed on for two minutes at 105-110 degrees, then changes to cold at 55-70 degrees for 30 seconds. The treatment should be done twice daily for several months.
Vitamin B12 should be taken by mouth daily, about 1,000 mcg more or less. Much good has been reported from its use in neuropathy. I think it may be helpful to add B6 and folic acid to the supplement.
As an experiment for this disorder try capsaicin cream, an extract of red or hot pepper. Apply the cream to an area of altered sensation six times a day for six days, then drop down to only two applications a day. If relief of symptoms occurs, keep up the cream until the neuropathy is in perfect control.
A form of carnitine called acetyl L-carnitine is helpful in neuropathy. As yet, it must be obtained by prescription in this country, but is sold in Europe over the counter.
Case History of Diabetic Neuropathy and ErythrocytosisInez Stewart, a dear lady in her late 50s, came to Uchee Pines complaining bitterly of shooting pains in her thighs and severe burning in her whole body. She was so miserable and anxious, she had not been able to smile for over a year. During the past year, she had been hospitalized twice, with four other visits to the emergency room for treatment of intolerable pain. Except for the times when powerful painkillers or narcotics were given to her, she had no relief from the overwhelming pain.Her doctor had studied her condition using a complete blood count and blood sugar tests. He did not recognize her blood sugar problem because her fasting blood sugar was only 114. Her hemoglobin was 14.4 grams. He decided she was healthy and only had a problem with menopausal hysteria. He prescribed estrogen. She felt worse taking the hormones and stopped them after two months. A variety of drugs were then prescribed for her, none of which alleviated her symptoms.
When she arrived at our Lifestyle Center, we thoroughly evaluated her case. The first diagnosis we made was erythrocytosis (the opposite of anemia). The first treatment we prescribed, even before her blood sugar levels had been thoroughly tested, was to have her donate a pint of blood to the Red Cross. This brought her hemoglobin down below 14 grams and allowed her blood to circulate more freely. When the blood is too rich and heavy, the circulation is slowed down. Women living at an elevation of 5,000 feet or below should have an ideal hemoglobin level between 10.5 and 12.5. After that the higher the hemoglobin level, the more likely a woman will suffer from fatigue.
Two hours after breakfast, we took a blood sample from her for a sugar level. Her sugar level was 132. We consider any reading over 100 at two hours after eating to be suggestive of diabetes, so we made a diagnosis of diabetes. Her pains and misery were all caused by diabetic neuropathy complicated by stress erythrocytosis. Stress erythrocytosis is a condition caused by the presence of too many red blood cells. This overproduction is generated by the stresses of disease, lifestyle or emotions, and results in a slowed down circulation.
Inez was so sick and disorganized in her thinking, she could not even get a glass of water for herself. Sitting through church, or even a 20-minute lecture, was out of the question for her. She tried to make it through the night without calling for help, but most mornings she could not stand the pain and anxiety past 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. "Isn't there something you can do for me?" she would ask us. "I can't stand it another minute!" We would give her sedative and pain-relieving teas, and put her in a cool, sedative bath at 97-98° F.
The diet we prepared for her concentrated on foods high in myoinositol. By the fifth week she was improved enough to call her husband and ask him to drive the 350 miles for a visit. She met him in the front yard with a smile. He took her by the hand and began looking for me immediately. When he found me, he walked into the room with a big smile and said, "This is the first smile I have seen on my wife's face in over a year." By the eighth week, she was walking 8 miles a day and had lost about 12 pounds, which brought her to a normal weight. Her neuropathy was 60-70% better and she though she could start helping with the work at the Institute. She stayed about six months and during this entire period she was extremely careful with her diet. When a dish was passed around the table, no matter how appetizing it appeared or how hungry she was, she would not eat it if she were not 100% certain it would fit into her diet.
This case illustrates several good points. The first point is that people who have suffered severely, who gain improvement from diet and exercise, will not complain if they cannot have this or that food, or do this or that activity. They are so thankful to be better they almost never grieve over their restrictions.
Secondly, mild diabetics can have severe neuropathy. Third point is that stress erythrocytosis (two many red blood cells) often complicates chronic disease. Chronic dehydration and concentration of blood occurs with diabetes. And the fourth point is diabetic neuropathy can be cured using natural and physiologic remedies, whereas standard medicine as yet has no specific treatment.
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