Diabetic Neuropathy is a common complication of Diabetes (Type 1 & Type 2) which results due to long-term elevated blood sugar levels. High levels of sugar in the blood results in damage to the various blood vessels that nourish the nerves. This damage prevents nutrients from reaching the nerves resulting in degeneration and damage to the nerves themselves.
This condition typically affects the peripheral nerves (sensory and motor) and in some cases the autonomic nervous system – meaning it can eventually affect major organs and systems.
It initially presents with symptoms of burning, numbness, and tingling – this most commonly starts in the feet. As a result, individuals with this condition can sometimes have foot injuries which they may not be aware of. Due to poor circulation to the area, these injuries can take a very long time to heal. This can lead to another complication commonly seen in Diabetes, which is “non-healing wounds”.
If this condition is left untreated, it can result in complete loss of feeling and eventually spread to other parts of the body.
Please keep in mind that Diabetic Neuropathy is a very broad topic and is associated with various other syndromes which I will not be going into detail within this article. The purpose of this article is to give you a brief introduction and more importantly, remedies to solve your problem.
Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy:
It usually starts with numbness, tingling and/or burning of the feet and hands.
As it progresses and more nerves are damaged throughout the body, it can lead to:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Inability to orgasm
- Difficulty swallowing
- Impaired speech
- Eyelid dropping
- Burning pain
- Retrograde ejaculation
- Muscle contractions
- Balance issues
While these symptoms appear to be very severe, keep in mind that there are many things that can be done to prevent or slow down the progression of this condition.
Firstly, it is important to note that the only way to get results in this condition is to first get the blood sugar levels under control. As long as blood sugar is elevated, damage is occurring. To learn more about how to lower blood sugar levels, read my article on Diabetes Type 2 or read my book “Healing Diabetes Naturally“.
Benfotiamine (Vitamin B1)
Benfotiamine is a fat-soluble synthetic form of Vitamin B1. It appears to inhibit the mRNA expression of an enzyme known as Aldose Reductase – an enzyme which is associated with multiple diabetic complications including both diabetic retinopathy and neuropathy. This enzyme is actually found in various parts of the body which are often associated with diabetic complication such as the cornea, retina, lens, kidneys, and myelin sheath.
In the case of Diabetic Neuropathy, Benfotiamine supplementation has been associated with a significant improvement in symptoms in multiple clinical trials (see study 1 & 2).
Vitamin B12 is very well known for its crucial role in neurological health and the synthesis of myelin (the fatty sheath that protects nerves and which is found to be damaged in neuropathy). Vitamin B12 has numerous health benefits and is found to be deficient in many people. It is crucial to maintain vitamin B12 levels for both general health as well as for healing certain illnesses.
In the case of Diabetic Neuropathy, Vitamin B12 supplementation has been associated with improvement of all neurophysiological parameters, sudomotor function, pain, and quality of life (see study). Please keep in mind that in this study, Methylcobalamin was used, not Cyanocobalamin.
While this is an important nutrient, there seems to be many issues surrounding its absorption and usage in the body. Some people have a hard time absorbing it due to lack of a protein called intrinsic factor while other have trouble with methylation of B12 due to a mutation of the MTHFR gene. If your issue is with intrinsic factor, you may benefit from Vitamin B12 injections. If your issue is with the MTHFR gene mutation, you should supplement with a methylated form of Vitamin B12 called Methylcobalamin.
There have been several Ayurvedic herbs and formulations that have been found to be highly beneficial in improving the symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy. These include Phyllanthus Niruri, Abutilon Indicum, bitter apple and Guduchyadi Kwath. However, these can have negative effects if not used correctly. For example, Bitter Apply has to only be used externally as a medicated oil. Internally, it is extremely toxic. These medicinal herbs should only be used under the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor.
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(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
by Dr. Nishal R.
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