Peripheral Neuropathy is damage to the nerves outside your brain and spinal cord. Several factors can lead to a person developing this condition. It might surprise you to learn that diet is one of the main factors. Find out how by reading the following responses from a few of our readers.

Hannah C. Machemehl, MD

Hannah C. Machemehl, MD

Neuromuscular Neurologist at .

Peripheral Neuropathy Can Result From Specific Nutritional Deficiencies

Diet can play a role in peripheral neuropathy as it pertains to specific nutritional etiologies. For example, diabetes is the leading cause of peripheral neuropathy, and poor glycemic control can lead to worsening symptoms over time.

Low or high [levels] of certain vitamins can [also] lead to peripheral neuropathy, specifically the B vitamins like thiamine, cyanocobalamin, and pyridoxine.

There have been links to obesity and high cholesterol with peripheral neuropathy, which often require dietary management for optimal prevention and treatment.

Dr. Jill Barat

Dr. Jill Barat

Compounding Pharmacist at .

Excess Sugar Molecules Damage the Nerve Fibers

Diet can play a huge role in the development of peripheral neuropathy. Most people who develop peripheral neuropathy have it occur because they are diabetic or prediabetic. For type 2 diabetes, this is a condition that develops due to your diet and lifestyle choices. It is the excess sugar molecules in the blood from diabetes that end up damaging the nerve fibers in the first place, leading to numbness, tingling, nerve pain, and general discomfort.

If you have diabetes or are told you are on the road to diabetes, you may be able to improve or avoid the development of neuropathy by improving your diabetes through diet changes.

Bill Strange

Bill Strange

Highly Processed Diets Negatively Impact Nerve Health

Peripheral neuropathy is influenced by the holistic picture of one’s lifestyle, and diet is a fundamental element. Highly processed [foods] lack essential nutrients and antioxidants contribute to systemic inflammation that can impact nerve health.

Gluten sensitivity, common in some individuals, is linked to neuropathic symptoms. [Additionally], a diet low in omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and nuts, may compromise nerve function.

Adopting a holistic approach that emphasizes whole, nutrient-dense foods, identifies and addresses food sensitivities, and incorporates anti-inflammatory elements can be instrumental in preventing and managing peripheral neuropathy.

Clint Brasher

Clint Brasher

Trial Lawyer at .

Consistently High Glucose Levels Aggravate Neuropathic Symptoms

Diet plays a pivotal role in peripheral neuropathy, especially in the context of diabetes. Diets high in refined sugars and unhealthy fats contribute to elevated blood sugar levels, a primary driver of nerve damage in diabetes. Consistently high glucose levels lead to inflammation and oxidative stress, exacerbating neuropathic symptoms.

Managing diabetes through a well-balanced diet that prioritizes complex carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats is key. Addressing nutritional imbalances and promoting stable blood sugar levels not only aids in diabetes management but also significantly reduces the risk and severity of peripheral neuropathy.

Cameron Heinz

Health Expert at .

Nutritional Deficiencies Can Lead to Peripheral Neuropathy

Certain dietary aspects play a role in the development of peripheral neuropathy:

    1. Nutritional Deficiencies: Inadequate intake of essential nutrients, such as vitamin B12, can contribute to peripheral neuropathy. Vitamin B12 is crucial for nerve health, and its deficiency is linked to neuropathic symptoms.

    2. Role of Dietary Nutrients: Dietary nutrients, including supplements, play a vital role in peripheral nerve development and regeneration. A well-balanced diet focusing on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, omega-3-rich foods, and lean proteins supports nerve health.

    3. Contaminants in Foods: Some seemingly healthy foods may contain contaminants that can contribute to neuropathy development. Awareness of food quality is essential to mitigate potential risks.

    4. Diabetes and Diet: For individuals with diabetes, managing diet is crucial as diabetes is a common cause of peripheral neuropathy. A balanced diet and regular, moderate-intensity exercise can help improve insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of neuropathic complications.

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