Unless we’ve been breaking in a new pair of shoes, or we’ve spent too much time scrubbing the bathroom without gloves on, most of us don’t give our hands or feet much thought. After all, if your feet aren’t barking or your hands aren’t aching why would you?
But some folks don’t have that luxury anymore because they suffer all day long with relentless and exhausting nerve pain. This kind of pain is referred to as neuropathy and it’s often, although not always, linked to diabetes.
Neuropathy is often described as feeling like you’re touching or stepping on pins and needles! And if you, or someone else you care about is in that boat you know exactly what I’m talking about.
But I have good news. There’s some exciting new research that could help. I’ll tell you about it in a few moments, but first let’s talk a bit more about nerve pain.
Neuropathy is most common in the hands or feet
Although neuropathies are most common in the hands and feet they can actually affect some folks all over, adding to a sufferer’s misery.
And a number of different factors can affect whether or not have them—and how severe they are—including…
- alcohol consumption,
- and Hemoglobin A1c (your average blood sugar over the past 2 to 3 months)
Neuropathy is different for everyone.
Besides “pins and needles” your own experience of neuropathies may also include…
- vibrating or buzzing sensations,
- burning sensations (even in your tongue),
- trigeminal neuralgia (a chronic pain condition involving the trigeminal nerves)
- or cystitis (inflammation of the bladder)
Nutrient deficiencies or diabetes can cause nerve pain
Recognizing what is causing your own neuropathy is critical to you getting well.
For some, it is due to a nutrient deficiency. For example, vitamin B12 or probiotics which help you to manufacture your own B12 in the gut. For others, it could be that wine you drink with dinner because wine is a potent drug mugger of B1 (thiamine) which protects your nerve coating.
But by a mile, the most common cause of neuropathy is diabetes. Approximately half of all people with diabetes experience diabetic neuropathies, mainly in the hands and feet.
Some doctors will tell you that simply maintaining healthy blood glucose levels will always reverse neuropathy, but that’s not true. We know from The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial that even intensive blood sugar control isn’t enough to control the risk of diabetic neuropathy.
It’s not just pain that’s at stake here either. Uncontrolled neuropathy can cause a 25 percent higher cumulative risk of leg amputation. So gaining control is important for your independence.
I’ve written about natural supplements for neuropathy before, but today I want to share some new research with you about salicylates such as aspirin and nerve pain.
Salicylates such as spearmint may help relieve neuropathy
In a study published in the journal Current Diabetes Reports researchers confirmed that targeting inflammatory cytokines can help relieve diabetic neuropathy.
Inflammatory cytokines are part of your body’s immune response. They relay messages between cells and stimulate cells to gather in the case of infection, disease or injury
Oftentimes, that bad gateway called NF Kappa B (NFKB) opens its floodgates, and spits out proinflammatory cytokines like COX-2 (Celebrex lowers this), nitric oxide synthase, lipoxygenase, TNF alpha and a lot of pain-causing interleukins (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8).
The researchers reported that something as simple as salicylate therapy could help reduce some of these cytokines as well as circulating glucose, triglycerides, C reactive protein and free fatty acids.
When you think of salicylates you likely think of aspirin. But while it’s true that salicylate is the main ingredient in aspirin and other analgesics salicylates are actually a broad of compounds that are found naturally in the plant kingdom.
Salicylates include spearmint and peppermint (they’re even found in mint toothpaste and muscle rubs). And of course White willow bark is the herb that’s morphed and turned into aspirin.
Salicylates aren’t right for everyone so please ask your doctor about using salicylates for your own neuropathy. Also ask if you can have a blood test to evaluate some of the pro inflammatory markers I noted above.
In addition to writing a syndicated column on health which reaches 20 million people each week, Suzy is the author of a number of books on natural health.
You may have seen Suzy on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health and hundreds of morning shows. Quotes from Suzy, as well as her articles, have also appeared in major publications including Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, OK Magazine!, First for Women, Fitness, Natural Health and Better Homes & Garden and dozens more.
Read more from Suzy at suzyCohen.com
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