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5 Steps to Reverse Diabetes Neuropathy Naturally.

5 Steps to Reverse Diabetes Neuropathy Naturally.

When diabetes has been poorly managed for a long time, the risks of developing neuropathy increase.

Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. High blood sugar (glucose) levels can injure nerves throughout your body, but diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet. It is a common and serious complication of diabetes that affects up to 50% of people with diabetes.

Because we specialize in Diabetes Management, it is common for us to see clients struggling with neuropathy often. It also seems to be a wake- up call for a lot of our clients.

is neuropathy reversible?

Diabetes by itself, especially pre- diabetes does not really have any symptoms. But once it reaches a stage of neuropathy, clients can have constant burning or tingling sensation through the day. Most often, this is when clients are the most motivated to make lifestyle changes.

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Types of Diabetic Neuropathy.

There are four main types of diabetic neuropathy, each affecting different parts of the body:

  1. Peripheral Neuropathy:

    • This is the most common form and affects the feet and legs first, followed by the hands and arms. Symptoms include pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in these areas. This is the easiest to reverse and take control of. 

  2. Autonomic Neuropathy:

    • This type affects the autonomic nerves, which control your heart, bladder, stomach, intestines, sex organs, and eyes. Symptoms might include digestive issues, urinary problems, and changes in perspiration. Frequent urination and uncontrolled bladder are a few other complains from clients struggling with automatic neuropathy.

  3. Proximal Neuropathy:

    • This rare type affects the hips, thighs, or buttocks. It can cause sudden, severe pain and muscle weakness. Less than 1% of the clients we work with can present with proximal neuropathy.

  4. Focal Neuropathy:

    • Also called mononeuropathy, this type affects specific nerves, most often in the head, torso, or leg. It causes sudden weakness or pain.

Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy.

Not sure if you struggle with neuropathy? Here are a few signs to watchout for. 

  • Shooting or burning pain: This pain can feel like a constant burning sensation or sharp, shooting jolts in the feet and legs.

  • Numbness and tingling: Loss of feeling or a prickly sensation can occur in the hands and feet, making everyday activities like walking or grabbing objects challenging.

  • Loss of balance and coordination: Nerve damage can affect your ability to sense your body's position, leading to stumbles and falls.

  • Weakness in eyesight. 

  • Sexual dysfunctions due to neuropathic reasons.

The good news is, if caught early, neuropathy can be reversed completely with simple lifestyle and nutritional changes. Here is what I mean by lifestyle changes:

High blood sugar is like having too much sugar syrup flowing through your body's wires (nerves). This can damage the wires over time, causing the burning sensation. So, you can protect your nerves by keeping your blood sugar in check.

But is taking metformin/insulin the only way to manage diabetes?

You might already be taking metformin or insulin and still experiencing complications of diabetes. That is because diabetes has many fronts. I insist my clients work on making nutritional and lifestyle changes before we even discuss medication. 

What are these nutritional changes? I have a blog discussing a few of them:

The next change is bringing in activity that can increase blood flow and help keep blood sugar levels down. Any form of fitness can work. But for making things simpler to understand, lets pick yoga. 

The ancient practice of yoga is really a mind- body connection. Its much more than fitness. Inculcating breathwork, meditation and physical movement, yoga is really a complete package. 

In this study, participants with diabetes underwent yoga therapy. Their progress was tracked for three months, and they showed substantial improvement. Their fasting and postprandial blood sugar levels decreased.  

We will discuss five very impactful changes I help my clients make on the program below. I want you to constantly think how you can make each of them a lifestyle change so it is sustainable. Oh before that, here is one of our clients talking about her battle against Type 1 Diabetes:

5 Powerful Steps To Help Reverse Neuropathy.

The more fronts you cover, the stronger you become. Here are the five powerful steps that will help you fight diabetes on all possible fronts:

Embrace a Plant-Based Plate:

Living with diabetes and neuropathy can feel overwhelming. Some of the patients I meet daily are anxious and worried. That is because they believe that neuropathy is inevitable with diabetes. 

That is not entirely true. Diabetic neuropathy can be reversed and prevented. The most tried and tested and successful method is a plant-based nutrition regimen.

It's simple, eat mostly plants. The more unprocessed plants you fill your plate with, the better your health. 

plant based diet for neuropathy

Here's why filling your plate with plant power can benefit your nerves:

A Symphony of Antioxidants: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are bursting with antioxidants. These superheroes fight free radicals and, harmful molecules that damage cells, including nerve cells. 

This can help reduce inflammation, a significant player in the development and progression of neuropathy.

In this research studP, scientists put a certain number of diabetic patients into two groups. 

Group A

Group B (control)

Plant-based diet with vitamin B12 supplements.

Vitamin B12 supplements only.

Immense improvement in blood sugar within 20 weeks. The electrochemical skin conductance in the limbs of these patients also improved, and patients reported reduced pain. 

No such improvement.

This proves the efficacy of a plant-based diet in reversing the diabetic neuropathy. 

Vitamin and Mineral Powerhouse: Plants are a treasure trove of essential vitamins and minerals. B vitamins, for example, play a very important role in nerve function, and deficiencies can lead to neuropathy. 

Plant-based sources like lentils, chickpeas, and whole- grains naturally boost these essential nutrients.

Fiber Fiesta for Your Nerves: Dietary fibre, abundant in plant-based foods, helps control blood- sugar spikes. This is key for preventing nerve damage caused by chronically high blood sugar levels. 

Fibre also promotes gut health, which can indirectly influence nerve function through its role in reducing inflammation.

Making the Switch Easy: Don't worry, going plant-based doesn't have to be a drastic change! Start small by incorporating more plant-based meals into your routine a few times a week. Explore the world of delicious and nutritious vegetarian and vegan recipes – there's something for every taste bud!

food to reverse neuropathy

Dr. Greger, a pioneer is nutritional science, talks about how common and painful diabetic neuropathy is. But there is no effective allopathic treatment that makes it go away.

In one study, twenty-one patients were included who had been living with diabetic neuropathy for ten years.

They were put on a low-fat, high-fiber diet based on whole foods, vegetables, and fruits, along with mild daily exercise. Within 4 to 16 weeks, they exhibited complete relief of pain!

Explore Breathwork Practices:

While working with clients, my team never uses nutrition in isolation for disease management. It has to be a combination of nutritional and lifestyle interventions. 

One very important lifestyle intervention practice we use is inculcating breathwork techniques everyday. 

pranayam for diabetes

We've talked about the power of food to fight neuropathy, but there's another weapon in your holistic arsenal: Brethwork or Pranayama! This ancient yogic practice focuses on controlled breathing techniques.

Pranayama can relieve your pain and improve your health by various mechanism's. 

Boosting Blood Flow and Nerve Health: Research, like the one published in the Beneficial Yoga Practices for Health: An Overview (2016), suggests that Pranayama can improve blood circulation. This enhanced blood flow can deliver vital oxygen and nutrients to your nerves, promoting overall nerve health.

Taking Control with Your Breath: Here's the exciting part: Pranayama techniques are super simple to learn!

  • Kapalbhati (Skull-Shining Breath): This technique involves rapid exhalations followed by passive inhalations. It will get rid of the residual air in the lungs. 
  • Bhastrika (Bellows Breath): Similar to Kapalbhati, but with a more forceful breathing pattern. This technique can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve nerve function.

While these techniques sound simple, consulting a qualified breathwork coach is essential. They can guide you in choosing the right Pranayama practices for your specific needs and health condition.

A Holistic Approach to Well-being: Combining a plant-based diet with Pranayama creates a powerful one-two punch for managing neuropathy. You can support your nerves and promote overall well-being by nourishing your body with the right foods and improving blood flow through breathing exercises.


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Spice Up Your Life- Power of Anti- Inflammatory Foods:

Chronic inflammation is a major contributor to the development and progression of neuropathy. Here are common anti- inflammatory foods that we suggest our clients add to their daily nutrition:

  • Turmeric: This golden wonder contains curcumin, a strong anti-inflammatory compound. Studies suggest curcumin helps reduce nerve pain associated with neuropathy. Your goal should be to consume 1/2 tbsp per day. 
  • Ginger: Research indicates that ginger is effective in managing chronic pain. In this NCBI study, researchers found that oral ginger reduces inflammation and pain in the body. I suggest my clients drink 1-2 cups of ginger tea per day. Simply boil 1 tbsp grated ginger in water. Squeeze some lemon before you get driking!
  • Cayenne Pepper: Don't be afraid of the heat! Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, a compound known for its pain-relieving properties. 
spices for neuropathy

Topical capsaicin cream can be effective in managing neuropathic pain. Cayenne pepper can also help improve nerve health.

Spice up your plant-based meals. The best part? Incorporating these spices into your diet is easy and delicious!

  1. Turmeric: Add a vibrant touch to curries, lentil soups, or roasted vegetables. You can even try a warm glass of plant- mylk with turmeric with a dash of ginger for a soothing bedtime drink. Avoid dairy ofcourse as it is highly inflammatory.

  2. Ginger: Grate fresh ginger into stir-fried marinades or sneak it into your morning smoothie for a refreshing kick.

  3. Cayenne Pepper: A sprinkle of cayenne adds a fiery touch to dals, sauces, or even sabzi's.

    Remember, moderation is key! Start with small amounts of these spices and gradually increase them as your taste buds adjust.

    It is also noteworthy that spices alone will not help with neuropathy management. They are medicine certainly, but will only act if you change your overall lifestyle. Unfortunately, bad lifestyle habits cannot be fixed with a pinch of turmeric.

    Embrace the Power of B Vitamins:

    B vitamins are involved in energy production in nerve cells. They also play an important role in the development of the myelin sheath over the nerves. Many patients experience improvement in symptoms when they take intravenous B vitamin supplementation.

    However, studies have shown that this is not the solution. The long-term and more effective solution is to build on your stores of vitamin B from natural sources. 

    Plant-based foods are rich in antioxidants and B vitamins. Both help protect the nerve health of the body.  

    Here is how B vitamins will help:

    • Maintaining the Myelin Sheath: Imagine your nerves as electrical wires. B vitamins, particularly B12, are like the insulating sheath protecting these wires. This sheath, called myelin, ensures the smooth transmission of nerve signals. A deficiency in B vitamins can damage the myelin sheath, leading to nerve dysfunction and symptoms like numbness, tingling, and pain.
    • Supporting Neurotransmitter Production: B vitamins are vital in producing neurotransmitters, the brain's chemical messengers that allow nerves to communicate. A lack of B vitamins can disrupt this communication, leading to nerve problems.
    • Aiding Nerve Cell Metabolism: B vitamins help with energy production within nerve cells. When B vitamins are not available, the energy production mechanisms halt. The nerve cells begin to die, disintegrate, and become dysfunctional. 

    You can get your daily dose of B vitamins from a variety of delicious plant-based sources:

    • Lentils and Chickpeas: These protein powerhouses contain B vitamins, especially B6 and folate. Enjoy them in curries, soups, or hearty salads.
    • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds are all excellent sources of B vitamins, particularly B1 and B6. Snack on them raw roasted, or add them to your salads.

    Move Your Body (Exercise is Key):

    We've covered a lot of ground in our fight against neuropathy – nutritional intervention, calming breaths, fiery spices, and essential B vitamins. But there's one more weapon that can be just as strong and effective: Exercise! 

    It might sound counterintuitive if you're experiencing pain. However, gentle movement can offer surprising benefits for managing neuropathy and improving overall health.

    Regular exercise offers a two-pronged attack on neuropathy:

    • Pain Management: Physical activity has natural pain-relieving properties. It helps release endorphins and dopamine. Dopamine is associated with pleasure. And endorphins alter pain perception at various brain and spinal cord levels. 

    • Exercise can improve blood circulation. This helps deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your nerves, promoting healing. 

    Regular physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight, which is crucial for managing diabetes and reducing the burden on your nerves. It can also improve sleep quality, boost energy levels, strengthen your muscles, and improve balance and coordination – all important factors for living well with neuropathy.

    I do not suggets my diabetic clients to go to the gym or engage in vigerous exercise routines. Instead, I suggest they work with an expert and explore functional or occupational therapy. Functional training for diabetes has shown robust results in my patients. 

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    About Roshni Sanghvi

    Roshni Sanghvi is an Indian plant-based sports nutritionist and body transformation specialist. She is the first Indian to represent on a national bodybuilding stage being on a 100% plant-based diet. Roshni is a holistic nutritionist, graduated from the prestigious NutraPhoria college of nutrition in Canada.

    She is also an ACE-certified personal trainer, certified PlantFed gut coach, certified Bodyshred, and Animal flow instructor with a specialisation in disease reversal through food and lifestyle modification.

    Her approach is more focused on helping you in adopting a healthy lifestyle. With her result-oriented holistic methods, she has managed to transform and reverse lifestyle diseases such as PCOS, Thyroid, Diabetes etc for 12k+ clients worldwide.