Can a Medical Food Help Control the Symptoms of Peripheral Neuropathy?

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Peripheral Neuropathy is becoming a more-frequently diagnosed condition. In fact, in Houston, TX podiatry practice, I see neuropathy as becoming an overused diagnosis...one that is used when the doctor can't figure out what is causing a numbness or pain.

Peripheral neuropathy is a common effect of diabetes. The blood sugar can cause the nerves to swell, affecting the nerve fibers within. Also, because diabetics suffer from problems with the microvascular circulation, there is a reduced amount of blood flow to the nerves. Neuropathy is not excusive to diabetes, however. Chemotherapy can cause neuropathy, which often continues after treatment stops. Alcoholism can also cause neuropathy. Unfortunately, there are also many forms of neuropathy that are not able to be attributed to a particular disease.

There are a number of pharmaceuticals that have been used for years to help alleviate the pain and numbness from neuropathy. Neurontin, Lyrica, and Cymbalta are a few of the better known and used medications. These are antidepressant medications that have an effect to moderate nerve pain. Unfortunately, because the medication often provides side effects, people are confronted with the decision of taking the medication and having relief or feeling exhausted and cloudy all day.

Medical foods are specially formulated supplements intended for the dietary management of a disease that has distinctive nutritional needs that cannot be met by normal diet alone. Two medical foods commonly used in podiatry are Neuremedy and Metanx.

Neuremedy is a fat soluble form of Thiamine (Vitamin B1). Thiamine deficiency is well-documented in those who can suffer from neuropathy, such as diabetics and the elderly. Resolving a thiamine deficiency can result in resolving the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Neuremedy delivers a bioactive form of thiamine that is readily absorbed and used by the body. I recommend that people try a two month course of Neuremedy to assess how effective it works. Neuremedy is dispensed from the office by many podiatrists.

Metanx is another medical food that is indicated for the distinct nutritional requirements of diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy. Metanx regulates homocysteine and helps the blood vessels to produce a natural vasodilator called nitric oxide. As a result, blood flow increases in the vessels that carry important nutrients and oxygen to the nerves. This has been found to alleviate the symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy. Metanx is available at all pharmacies by prescription.

When it comes to alleviating neuropathy symptoms, don't stop at pharmaceuticals that can provide adverse reactions. Ask your podiatrist if a medical food can help to alleviate your pain and numbness.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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