Taking Charge of Your Health

“Curing Painful Diabetic Neuropathy” Neuropathy, or damage to the nerves,
is a debilitating disorder. Diabetes is by far
the most common cause. Up to 50% of diabetics will
eventually develop neuropathy during the course of
their disease. It can be very painful, and the pain is frequently
resistant to conventional treatments. In fact there is currently
no effective treatment for diabetic neuropathy. Clinicians rely on steroids,
opiates, and antidepressants to try to mediate
the suffering. But, 20 years ago,
a remarkable study was published on the regression of
diabetic neuropathy with a plant-based diet. There are two types of
diabetic neuropathy: a relatively painless type
characterized by numbness, tingling and pins-and-needles
sensations, and then a second form, which is painful with burning
or aching sensations to the point of excruciating,
lancinating—stabbing—pain. This paper concentrated
on the painful type. Twenty-one diabetics suffering
with moderate or worse symptomatic painful neuropathy
for up to ten years were placed on a whole-foods,
plant-based diet along with a half-hour
walk every day. Years and years of
suffering and then, complete relief of the pain in 17 out of the 21
patients within days. Numbness noticeably improved too. And the side-effects
were all good. They lost ten pounds,
blood sugars got better— insulin needs
dropped in half, and in five of the patients, not only apparently was their
painful neuropathy cured, so was their diabetes. Normal blood sugars
off of all medications. And their triglycerides
and cholesterol improved too. High blood pressure
got better too. In fact gone in about half
the hypertensives— an 80% drop overall
in the need for high blood pressure
medications within three weeks. Now this was a live-in program, where patients meals
were provided. What happened after they
were sent home? The 17 folks were
followed for years, and in all except one,
the relief from the painful neuropathy continued or improved
even further. How’d they get that
kind of compliance? Pain and ill health are
strong motivating factors. One of the most painful and
frustrating conditions to treat in all of medicine and 75% cured in
a couple days with a natural nontoxic—
in fact beneficial—treatment, a diet composed of
whole, plant foods. How could nerve damage be
reversed so suddenly? It wasn’t necessarily the
improvement in blood sugar control, since it took
about ten days for the diet to
control the diabetes, whereas the pain was gone
in as few as four. There are several
mechanisms by which the total vegetarian
diet works to alleviate the problem of diabetic
neuropathy as well as the diabetic
condition itself. Their most interesting
speculation was that it could be the trans fats
naturally found in meat and dairy and refined
vegetable oils that could be causing
an inflammatory response. They found a significant
percentage of the fat found under the skin of
those who ate meat or dairy consisted of trans fats, whereas those on a strictly
whole food plant-based diet had none. They stuck needles in
the buttocks of people eating different diets, and nine months or more
on a strict plant-based diet appeared to remove the trans fat
from their bodies…or at least their butts. But their pain didn’t take
nine months to get better; it got better in days. More likely it was due to an
improvement in blood flow. Nerve biopsies in diabetics
with severe progressive neuropathy have shown small vessel
disease within the nerve. There are blood vessels
within our nerves that can get clogged up. The oxygen levels in
the nerves of diabetics were found to be lower than
even that of de-oxegenated blood. This lack of oxygen
within the nerve may arise from blockages
within the blood vessels depriving the nerve oxygen, presumably leading them
to cry out in pain. Within days, though,
improvements in blood rheology, the ease of blood flow
on a plant-based diet may play a prominent role
in the reversal of diabetic neuropathy. Plant-based diets may
also lower the level of IGF-1 inside the eyeballs
of diabetes and decrease the risk
of retinopathy— diabetic vision loss—as well. But the most efficient way
to avoid diabetic complications is to eliminate the diabetes, and this is often feasible
for those type 2 patients who make an abiding commitment
to daily exercise and a healthy enough diet. Since the initial report
of neuropathy reversal, the results have
been replicated, significant improvements in
numbness and burning. Why didn’t I learn about
this in medical school? The neglect of this
important work by the broader medical
community is nothing short of

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