If you’re treating patients with neuropathy symptoms as a result of
- Crohn’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Ulcerative colitis
They may well be suffering from nutritional neuropathy in addition to the symptoms for their underlying illness.
Why Digestive Issues Cause Nutritional Neuropathy
Patients with any of these digestive disorders suffer from a very special set of problems and nutritional neuropathy just makes their physical issues worse.
They have to be careful about everything they eat because they never know exactly what will set off their symptoms. They have to plan their lives around food and exactly how their underlying illness will disrupt their lives.
Their illness affects how their body absorbs the vitamins and nutrients from the food they eat. One of the leading causes of nutritional neuropathy is vitamin deficiency, especially Vitamin B12. If your patient is limiting their animal protein because of their digestive issues, they could be suffering from a vitamin deficiency in the vitamins they would normally get from those foods.
Any condition that affects the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients and vitamins from food can lead to nutritional neuropathy.
Designing the Right Treatment Program for Your Nutritional Neuropathy Patients
To effectively treat your nutritional neuropathy patients, the first thing you need to do is a thorough history and physical. Your treatment program will need to not only take into account their nutritional neuropathy symptoms; you need to design a diet plan that will work well with their underlying illness. Digestive issues present a separate set of challenges for you as a clinician.
Your diet plan will not only need to include the vitamins and minerals, but you also need to take into account any digestive problems that will prevent their body from absorbing the good nutrition your diet plan provides.
Make sure your diet plan includes:
- Whole grains and legumes to provide B vitamins to promote nerve health. Whole grains promote the production of serotonin in the brain and will increase feelings of well-being.
- Fish and eggs for additional vitamins B12 and B1.
- Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, and other greens) for calcium and magnesium. Both of these nutrients are vital to healthy nerve endings and health nerve impulse transmission and, as an added bonus, they give the immune system a boost.
- Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables (such as squash, carrots, yellow and orange bell peppers, apricots, oranges, etc.) for vitamins A and C to help repair skin and boost the immune system.
Advise them to avoid:
- Coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
- Fried foods and all other fatty foods. Fatty foods suppress the immune system and that’s the last thing they need when fighting nutritional neuropathy and their digestive system disease.
- Limit high protein foods like animal protein. High-protein foods elevate the amount of dopamine and norepinephrine which are both tied to high levels of anxiety and stress which will only make them more irritable.
- Alcoholic beverages. Alcohol consumption limits the ability of the liver to remove toxins from the body and can make a bad situation worse.
- Processed sugar. They don’t have to eliminate sweets completely, just control them. Keeping blood sugar levels constant will help control irritability.
- Control salt intake. Opt for a salt substitute with potassium instead of sodium and stay away from preserved foods like bacon, ham, pickles, etc. Reducing salt intake will help ease inflammation and that alone will work wonders in the healing process.
Sit down and discuss your nutritional neuropathy patient’s diet as part of the initial consultation process. The information gained will help you devise a nutrition plan tailor made for your patient and help to build a rapport between you.
When you’re trained and ready to work with them, let them know you’re there.
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