Nerve Pain and Nutrients
Focusing on Healthy Eating to Help Control Nerve Pain
Nerve pain is a common condition that can be caused by many different problems including diabetes, fibromyalgia, injuries and certain lifestyle habits. Unfortunately, having a nutrient deficiency alongside these problems can exacerbate nerve problems, and may even contribute to their development. When you're suffering from nerve pain, it's important to focus on healthy eating in order to control it. Here are some of the key nutrients you should be getting more of.
This is often considered to be the most important of the B vitamins. Many things can result in B12 deficiency, such as excessive alcohol use, veganism, vegetarianism and certain digestive and autoimmune disorders. A very small number of people may also suffer from pernicious anemia, a genetic issue wherein the body lacks a protein required for B12 absorption. B12 is a key building block for nerves, and it's also used heavily in nerve signaling.
Once the deficiency reaches serious levels, you may have difficulty walking, suffer from pricking pains on your extremities or experience numbness and tingling. If you're prone to nerve pain, try getting more B12 in your diet. Supplements as well as foods like beef, liver, pork and lamb are the best sources of this critical vitamin.
Current research has estimated that an alarming 74 percent of adults fail to meet their minimum daily magnesium requirements. This mineral is just as important to nerve health as B12, yet it can be difficult to get adequate amounts from food alone. Magnesium is needed for nerve signaling and repair and for maintaining proper cardiac rhythm. Another critical role of this mineral is in the control of inflammation. Chronic inflammation can irritate and damage nerves, which can cause increased pain. Low magnesium allows inflammation to run rampant, making you miserable. Foods like nuts and seeds contain a decent amount of magnesium, but supplementation with magnesium citrate is often recommended as a more efficient and effective option.
Everyone knows that after a hard day of sweating, you should replenish your electrolytes. However, few people understand the importance of these nutrients in their everyday lives. Electrolytes are a group of minerals consisting of magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium. Each of these electrolytes are critical for proper nerve function and signaling, especially to the heart and muscles. Low or imbalanced electrolytes can cause muscle spasms, irregular heartbeat, tremors, weakness and poor coordination. In some cases, painful muscular cramping may also result.
Among other substances, copper is to your nerves what insulation is to electrical wiring. This layer, called the myelin sheath, covers your nerves to protect them and keep them from "shorting out". When your diet is deficient in copper, your myelin sheath can degrade, resulting in nerve pain and unpleasant sensations. However, due to the abundance of copper in many foods, this deficiency is fairly uncommon.
Essential Fatty Acids
Like copper, essential fatty acids (EFAs) help form the myelin sheath around nerves. Indeed, this layer consists mostly of fatty acids, which highlights their importance in your diet. Furthermore, certain EFAs, like omega-3, are potently anti-inflammatory and serve as an excellent pain relief for nerve pain. Since the body can't make EFAs, it's necessary to get them from food. This can pave the way toward deficiency and subsequent nerve problems. Most of these fatty acids are easy to acquire from regular eating habits, but omega-3 presents a special challenge. The best sources include fish oil, cod liver oil, wild-caught seafood, wild game and pastured animal products.