The best diet neuropathy sufferers can eat varies from person to person. The Ketogenic Diet and the Paleo Diet are very similar. The Keto diet worked for me, but it is important your doctor be consulted before starting any aggressive nutrition plan.
A ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet – less than 50 grams of carbs per day – in order to get your body to produce ketones. Several studies show that when you increase the production of ketones, you improve myelination and increase myelin production (1-4).
I am a diabetic who had become disabled from peripheral neuropathy. I reached a point I felt I had nothing to lose by taking educated radical action. What worked for me may not work for everyone. I was trying to rebuild myelin sheath around my damaged nerves.
When you restrict carbohydrate-rich foods – such as grains, sugar, and even potatoes, legumes and fruit – your body enters ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state in which your body and brain run on fatty acids and “ketones” instead of glucose.
I stopped eating anything with high carbohydrates. I personally took it so far I tried to eliminate all the carbohydrates I possibly could. My personal target was less than 20 grams of carbs per day.
Within one week of beginning the diet, my daily insulin requirement had dropped by more than 65%. I ate a lot and never suffered hunger pains. Insulin generally causes hunger and by reducing my insulin intake by 65% my hunger was reduced as well. In the beginning, I did have sugar cravings, but they diminished over time. After six weeks on the Keto diet I had completely stopped taking insulin. I continued to take oral medication.
My diabetic peripheral neuropathy diet included eggs for breakfast with either bacon, ham or corned beef and onions. I drank two cups of decaf coffee sweetened with stevia. Occasionally, I would usually eat an avocado.
I later dropped the coffee and replaced it with a tea made from lemons and turmeric.
I often had a large salad for lunch with lots of nuts and berries when available. Dinner often included a steak or a bunless hamburger. Vegetables included broccoli, asparagus or avocados.
For snacks, I generally ate an avocado or almonds.
Each time I checked my blood glucose level I also checked my blood ketone level. Ketosis requires attention to the entire nutritional plan including food supplements which I will get to in another article.
Losing weight was easy with the Keto diet. Within two months I had dropped 40 pounds. I felt terrific except for neuropathy pains which had been reduced, but were still very much present. The breakthrough for the neuropathy pain would come later from Dr. Randall C. Labrum.
However, losing 40 pounds had given me some of my mobility back. Still aided by pain medication, I was now able to stand up and walk again. Using the ketogenic diet for neuropathy feet pain was starting to pay off.
Nerve regeneration (also known as neuroregeneration) is not well understood by the medical community, but research has been escalated recently because of the number of patients who suffer from nerve damage. As stated earlier, several studies show that when you increase the production of ketones, you improve myelination and increase myelin production (1-4). This diet is very important to nerve generation.
Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, dandelion greens, cilantro, and parsley, are packed full of phytonutrients that are known to boost human health. Two of these nutrients that have been shown to help neuropathy are folate and magnesium.
Folate, also known as folic acid, is another name for vitamin B-9. Spinach is an excellent source of B-9. Spinach and almonds are also the two top dietary sources of magnesium.
Cashews and peanuts are high in magnesium. Type 2 diabetes patients who have higher blood levels of magnesium tend to have better peripheral nerve function, as well as other parameters associated with diabetes and diabetic neuropathy progression, such as blood glucose levels. (5,6)
Broccoli is an excellent source of many nutrients including chromium. Wild-caught, cold-water fish, such as salmon, trout, tuna, and sardines, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12.
The Ketogenic Diet was the best diet for me and my neuropathy. You may have other dietary needs. I am only documenting my journey to recovery from painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy. I am not a doctor. I am a survivor.