A recent study has revealed that switching to a plant based diet may help to reduce the nerve pain that can come along with diabetes.
More than half of adults who have Type two diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage that results from poor blood circulation and high levels of glucose in the blood. This happens when high blood sugar levels damage nerve fibers Diabetic neuropathy is an extremely painful affliction that can lead to ulcers and infections in the legs and feet. It’s the primary cause of limb amputation for people with diabetes.
Vegan Diet As Cure
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Unfortunately, there isn’t any known medical cure for diabetic neuropathy, which means there isn’t any concrete way of getting rid of it. When you go to see a doctor, they typically recommend that you treat the soreness with painkilling medication, and advise you to just stay in cleaning your wounds to prevent infections.
This seems like bad news to anyone who has been diagnosed with this, but there’s no need to lose hope yet. A new study has revealed that a plant-based, vegan diet might actually be one of the most effective ways to treat diabetes, and reduce the risk and effects of diabetic neuropathy. In the small study, researchers had 17 overweight adults with diabetic neuropathy on a strict 20 week low-fat vegan diet that emphasized complex carbohydrates that are high in fiber like beans and whole grains, and fresh vegetables. The people who participated in this study also took a daily vitamin B12 supplement, which is a nutrient that is important for proper nerve functioning and only found naturally in animal based products.
Health Benefits of Going Vegan
Compared to a separate control group of 17 adults who only took vitamin B12 supplements but did not change their dietary habits, the group who began vegan diets reported significant improvements in pain relief. Further tests revealed that the group on the vegan diet also had improved circulation and nerve function, as well a weight loss of 14 pounds on average.
This study appeared in the May 25, 2015 addition of the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, and was led by a group of doctors and nutritionists from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). “We hypothesize that by increasing your insulin sensitivity and improving blood sugar levels, you are allowing your body time to fix the nerve damage,” said Cameron Wells, a dietician at PCRM and one of the authors of the study.
The low sugar levels that come along with a vegan diet appear to control levels of glucose, which allowed the participants of the study to actually lower the dose of their diabetes medication.
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