August 18, 2019
Today’s Dishing Up Nutrition is all about neuropathy; which is essentially nerve damage that often causes a prickly or tingling sensation, numbness or muscle weakness in hands and feet. We’ll be answering some common questions like: What causes neuropathy? What are some treatments for neuropathy? And what are some foods and supplements that may help relieve some of the symptoms? Dr. Robert Silverman will be joining us today to provide further insight into possible ways to restore and heal damage to peripheral nerves.
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CASSIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. This show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today we are going to tackle a pretty serious health problem; one that affects more than 20 million people. Any guesses as to what this serious health condition is? Today we're going to be talking all about peripheral neuropathy. So peripheral simply meaning your extremities: your hands, your fingers, your feet, your toes. Now as my co-host and I go throughout the show, most of the time we'll just be saying neuropathy, but just know that what we're actually referring to is peripheral neuropathy. So here's a question for the listeners. Do you personally have neuropathy? Or if you don't have neuropathy, do you have a loved one that does? We're going to be talking today first of all about what causes neuropathy, because as our long time listeners know, we have to figure out the cause of any health condition before we can truly remedy it.
CASSIE: We're also going to talk about some treatments, some natural treatments for neuropathy. And I know that you all listening that listen frequently to the Dishing Up Nutrition show know that we're all about food and nutrition here. So certainly we'll be focusing on some foods and some supplements that can help relieve some of the symptoms, or in some cases all of the symptoms of neuropathy. So I guess I should back up a bit. Now that I've told you what the show is about, I'm going to do some introductions. If you haven't recognized my voice I'm Cassie Weness. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietician. I've been practicing the science of nutrition for the past, oh; I think it's been 21 years now.
CASSIE: That's a lot, isn't it? Now my co-host, that voice you hear is Britni Vincent. Britni, lucky her, is quite a bit younger than me, so she can't brag about 21 years of experience. But Britni, who's also a Registered and Licensed Dietician, has a lot of clinical experience. Britni’s currently working full time at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. So day in and day out she is seeing clients and helping them learn how to use the power of nutrition to heal and to be healthy. So with that, welcome to the show Britni.
BRITNI: Good morning.
CASSIE: Good morning.
BRITNI: Well we also have a very special guest this morning: Dr. Robert Silverman. He is the author of Inside-Out Health, and he is joining us via phone today. And he's going to give us some further insight into possible ways to restore and heal that damage of peripheral neuropathy.
CASSIE: Yes, and I am so excited to have Dr. Silverman on the show. I have heard him speak in the past and I've heard a lot about him so I know he's going to be a wealth of information. Before we bring him on the show, I think for the sake of our listeners, Britni, it would be good to describe exactly what neuropathy is and then also talk about some of the common causes.
BRITNI: Absolutely, because I think if you haven't experienced it, it's hard to wrap your mind around. So I like to keep my explanations simple and when it comes to neuropathy, you first need to understand that somehow nerves in your body were damaged, therefore, impacting a variety of different places in your body. It can affect one nerve or many nerves all at the same time. You could experience mild discomfort to really extreme pain. So because of that damage that has occurred to the nerves, clients often complain of these symptoms of prickly sensation, tingling, muscle weakness, and numbness of their hands or feet, or feeling cold in their feet when they're really not.
CASSIE: Great explanation. I love how you kept it simple so everybody, like you kind of said, can wrap their head around it. And then the causes of nerve damage: let's tackle that for just a little bit. Now we don't have time to talk about all of the causes because there are a lot of different reasons why somebody might develop neuropathy, but let's just talk about some of the more common causes. I think one of the most common reasons why people develop this nerve damage is high blood sugars.
CASSIE: So it could be that you have full blown diabetes, especially if that diabetes is out of control, or it might just be that you're walking around with high blood sugars much of the time and not even realizing it may be you're in that prediabetes stage. But when we look at people with diabetes, we know from the research that about 50% of those people with diabetes, diabetes, excuse me, develop neuropathy. So certainly, right, high blood sugars puts you at a greater risk of neuropathy. Another cause of that nerve damage could be chemotherapy. Kidney failure is another cause. If you're a heavy drinker or certainly if you have alcoholism, that puts you at a greater risk of developing neuropathy. And then just general poor nutrition is another one if that's going on day in and day out. Oh, and I should mention one more. This is sort of in my wheelhouse, and this might be a shocker for some of the listeners, but for some people it's a gluten sensitivity that causes the neuropathy. So if any of you are sitting down to breakfast right now, if you're having a piece of toast, did you ever stop to think that that piece of toast in the morning with your breakfast could be causing nerve damage to your body?
BRITNI: And that research on gluten sensitivity and nerve damage actually goes all the way back to 1908, so not a new idea at all. And the gluten connection to neuropathy was once again reported in May of 2002 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
CASSIE: And as you know, Britni, 1908 and 2002 certainly aren't the only times this connection between neuropathy and gluten has been made in the literature. Another one that comes to mind: back in 1996 there was a landmark paper published that connected neuropathy to gluten sensitivity. So my question for the listeners, if you have neuropathy, has anyone ever recommended going gluten-free? If they haven't, today Britni and I are recommending that. Stop eating gluten for at least three months and see if those symptoms of neuropathy get better. At the end of the three months, your body will tell you whether or not gluten is the problem.
BRITNI: And what an easy solution; just taking something out of your diet. It's pretty…
CASSIE: It's pretty easy and pretty affordable.
BRITNI: Yup. So we've hoped we've set the stage for Dr. Robert Silverman, author of Inside-Out Health, as he joins us now to discuss how both higher blood sugars and vitamin deficiencies can lead to neuropathy.
CASSIE: Yes, and I want all of our listeners to know how fortunate they are to get to listen to the wisdom of Dr. Silverman. So before I turn it over, I want to let you know that Dr. Silverman is a chiropractic doctor. He's also an international speaker. He's the author, as Britni said, of Inside-Out Health, a revolutionary approach to your body, which is a great read. And his extensive list of educational accomplishments is too long to list in our short hour here. But I want to let you know that his education, when you look through everything he's, he's accomplished, he has six different degrees in clinical nutrition. And he has his own successful private practice. So Dr. Silverman, you have the experience, you have the education and then some. I know you're going to be able to handle any and all questions we dole out today. But first I just want to say thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to join us. And welcome to the show.
DR. SILVERMAN: Oh, thanks for having me again. I greatly appreciate it. Love what you're saying about the gluten. Let's explode.
CASSIE: Right, right. I want to... before we talk more about gluten though, I want to get back to that statistic of 50% of people with diabetes also have neuropathy. Could you explain to our listeners what happens to the nerves when those blood sugars are high on a regular basis?
DR. SILVERMAN: Absolutely. I mean, so the real question is how does high blood sugar truly damaged the nerves or i.e. diabetes? So researchers have been thinking over time that uncontrolled high blood sugar does damage nerves. And by so they interfere with their ability to send signals, ultimately leading to diabetic neuropathy. High blood sugar also weakens the walls of the small blood vessels that are called capillaries that supply nerves with oxygen and nutrients. Without the oxygen nutrients, these nerves aren't able to heal. They're not able to function appropriately. Additionally, diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage that is caused by diabetes. So over time, high blood glucose levels, which we also call high blood sugar and high levels of fats, such as triglycerides in the blood from diabetes can damage the nerves. And many of the symptoms really depend on the type of diabetic neuropathy you have. So there it is; it's inflammatory; it doesn't allow for oxygen and nutrients, and truly the nerve is starting to die and work aberrantly.
CASSIE: That's a great explanation. And Britni, you might have heard, I don't remember who said it, but somebody I was listening to gave a great visual too of when you have those high blood sugars all the time, think of having shards of glass circulating in your blood and they're bouncing off, you know, the blood vessel walls. And every time they do, they're taking a little nick and creating damage.
BRITNI: It’s a really great way of thinking about it and a scary way of thinking about it.
BRITNI: So it is already time for our first break.
CASSIE: Darn it.
BRITNI: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today Cassie and I, with our special guest, Dr. Robert Silverman, author of Inside-Out Health, are discussing some causes of neuropathy and some foods and supplements that support the health of your nerves. We will be right back.
CASSIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you're just joining us, our topic today is centered around both preventing and treating neuropathy. Now on the back side of the commercial break I talked about the importance of maintaining a normal blood sugar level. And I just really can't stress it enough, and if you're in the prediabetes range, so that means your fasting blood sugar level is between a hundred and 125 I would say it's time to schedule an appointment with one of our Nutritional Weight and Wellness dietitians or nutritionists to maintain blood sugar control, not just to achieve at once, but to achieve it and maintain it. I really think that most people need ongoing monthly nutritional guidance and support. And I tell you, it is much easier to gain control of your blood sugar numbers when you're in that prediabetes range versus waiting until you have full-blown diabetes to try to make a change. It, it reminds me of that old saying that is so true. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So call our office today at (651) 699-3438 to set up a one-on-one nutrition consult to get those blood sugar numbers in check. And we do now accept some insurance plans, so be sure to check with your health insurance and ask if they provide coverage for nutrition consults.
BRITNI: So right before the break, Dr. Silverman provided a really great explanation of what actually happens when you have high blood sugar and how that damages our nerves. And I think when we're working with clients who are diabetic, we try to help them understand the seriousness of those higher blood sugar numbers. And the reality is that they usually have to give up some of their favorite foods to achieve the results they want. So I always try to find substitutes for them that are lower in sugar and carbs and still enjoyable. I think that's really important. So here's some ideas that are, I think, easy switches to make to lower the amount of sugar: so instead of rice, cauliflower rice. You can find that both in the freezer section or by the produce. You don't have to rice it yourself. Rather than popcorn to get that crunchiness, I suggest nuts. Instead of cereal in the morning, wake up and have eggs and bacon.
CASSIE: And you'll feel so much better throughout the morning; better energy.
BRITNI: Yeah. And then rather than ice cream, what about half a cup of fresh berries with some heavy whipping cream on top? Delicious. So the trick to this is to enjoy the food, but replace those higher sugar foods with real foods that are lower in carbs, but they're still going to satisfy your taste buds and reduce your cravings too.
CASSIE: Yes, and I love all of those ideas. It's sort of an “eat this, not that” scenario that you gave. And you know in Dr. Silverman's book, Inside-Out Health, he does sort of the same thing here on page, what is it? 101 and 102. He does kind of his own version of “eat this, not that”. And I want to point it out because it kind of takes me right into my next thought. So on page 102 he lists beverages too. So not just foods, but we need to think about what we're drinking. And Dr. Silverman says, avoid the alcohol, avoid the pop, avoid the other caffeinated beverages and instead drink plenty of filtered water; maybe some herbal teas. He also says seltzer or mineral water would be good choices. But again, he says avoid the alcohol. And that leads me into, like I said, my next thought here. A lot of times people that are heavy drinkers or certainly a few who have alcoholism… a lot of times these people develop neuropathy. And we're well aware Britni, you and I, and I'm sure Dr. Silverman, that one of the reasons why alcoholism or heavy drinking can lead to neuropathy is that alcohol is a diuretic, which simply means it makes you pee a lot. And so you're losing a lot of those B vitamins in your urine. And the lack of those B vitamins can sometimes cause the neuropathy. Now, certainly the best recommendation would be to stop drinking completely. But if you're absolutely not ready to do that, at the very least, if you're a heavy drinker, you should be supplementing with a high quality, high-dose B-complex to try to help to prevent that nerve damage; because there is definitely a connection in the research between B vitamins and neuropathy, particularly when we look at B12. And this is where I want to hand it over to Dr. Silverman. Dr. Silverman, besides drinking a lot of alcohol, what would be some other reasons for a B12 deficiency?
DR. SILVERMAN: Well, I, I wholeheartedly agree with you, and most people don't look at these B12 deficiencies enough: pernicious anemia. So, B12 does a lot of things in your body and helps make your DNA and helps make your red blood cells, for example. Since your body doesn't make vitamin B12, you have to get it from animal-based foods or from supplements. Probably should do that on a regular basis because your body doesn't store B12 for a long period of time. And when I say animal-based foods, any animal based food that we're talking about. I'm not a proponent of dairy and lean meats of animal based are going to be grass-fed or grass-finished. In addition, unfortunately for people like me, with age, it can be harder to absorb the vitamin B12. It can also happen if you have a weight loss surgery; extraordinarily deleterious for overall nutrient absorption, and any kind of operation that removes part of your stomach out. Or as you said, if you drink too heavily, ease up on the booze. With all that being said, you may also be more likely to develop a vitamin B deficiency even if you haven't before. So, some of the things that interfere with the absorption of B12 or these awful medications, including protein pump inhibitors: you can also get a vitamin B12 deficiency if you follow a vegan diet. I’m not anti-vegan. I’m pro-vegan. Meaning you don't eat any animal products including your meats, your alternative milks and eggs or you're a vegetarian who doesn't eat enough eggs or dairy products to meet your B12. In those cases you can add a fortified food to your diet or take the supplements to meet your need.
CASSIE: And when you say proton pump inhibitors, just so that all of the listeners are aware of that… I mean there's too many probably to list, but Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium. This class of drugs that help with heartburn and acid reflux are what Dr. Silverman is referring to when he talks about proton pump inhibitors. And I have just a quick story. This goes way back to before I even started at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, but I've heard the story enough that it just sticks in my mind. The owner of Nutritional Weight and Wellness years ago had a client come to her. This is when we had our old office where he had to go up quite a few stairs. He could hardly make it up the stairs because he was losing the feeling in his legs. He had been diagnosed with the beginning stages of dementia and he had a variety of other health problems. Well, when Darlene Kvist sat down with him, one of the first things she realized as she looked through his paperwork is that he had been on an ant-acid. I don't know if it was Prilosec or Prevacid or which one, but he had been on it for years. Those are drugs that are not meant to be taken for years. So she quickly made the connection that this man was deficient, very deficient in B12. Once she figured out why he was having acid reflux, which for him was a gluten sensitivity, and she got that gluten out of his diet, he was able to come off the antacid. And Dr. Silverman, within a couple of months he had the feeling back in his legs and his memory was back. It was really I think miraculous. But it's just; I just want to share that to show that this class of drugs that we call antacids can be a really ugly class of drugs. They're not meant for long-term use.
DR. SILVERMAN: Well most drugs aren’t meant for long-term use, but I concur.
CASSIE: Good point. And I think it's already time for another commercial; seriously?
BRITNI: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I don't think most people realize the health danger of having higher blood sugar levels. Even in that prediabetes stage. Diabetes can increase the risk of developing long-term memory problems and high blood sugar levels, as we were talking about can also damage your nerves. So I want to mention as we're talking today about these supplements throughout the show, you can go on our website. They're available at weightandwellness.com or you can purchase them at any of our seven locations in the twin cities. We’ll be right back.
CASSIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Cassie. I'm in studio today with my co-host, Britni, and we have on the line special guest, Dr. Robert Silverman. I have a question for the listeners to bring us back into our topic of neuropathy. Here's my question: have you given yourself permission to cook with nourishing animal fats yet? If you haven't, I would suggest you start with butter; easy to find in the grocery store; easy to cook with; tastes great; and it's not just me saying this. The president of the Weston A. Price foundation and well-known author, Sally Fallon Morell, says in her book titled Nourishing Fats that butter… I love this. She says butter is the queen of fats, and she goes on to say it's a good source of vitamins like A, E, D, and K. She says butter also contains selenium, iodine and magnesium. And I know some of the listeners have read her book Nourishing Fats. We've talked about it on shows past, so you might remember that she also talks about lard, bacon fat, duck and goose fat. And she says these are all great fats, healthy fats to be cooking with. If you want to learn more about what fats and oils are healthy and great to cook with, and if you want some great recipes, I encourage you to join us in October for our six-week Weight and Wellness series. And if you want more information on that six-week series, you can call the office at (651) 699-3438, or if you'd rather go online to learn more, go to weightandwellness.com and click on classes.
BRITNI: So before the break we were talking about proton pump inhibitors and heartburn. Those are medications people are on for reflux, heartburn, and how that can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency. So I think that we probably have some listeners that are like, “Wow, I am on that. How do I get off when I have reflex?” So we have helped so many people get rid of their reflux and be able to wean off those medications. So again, real food is the answer to that. And I know there have been previous radio shows you can refer to.
CASSIE: I’m glad you brought that up, Britni. If you are taking antacids long-term, it's time to make an appointment with a nutritionist because there are some other really bad side effects besides just a B12 deficiency.
BRITNI: So far we've talked about a variety of different reasons for developing neuropathy. It might be a result of a gluten sensitivity or high blood sugar or a vitamin deficiency, especially in B12, as we've been mentioning. We also know that many people have neuropathy after chemotherapy. So Dr. Silverman, could you please explain to our listeners what chemotherapy might do to the nerves?
DR. SILVERMAN: Without question. Neuropathy is nerve damage that can cause tingling, numbness and other sensation. And as you depicted before, often in the feet and the hands. Neuropathy, as you said, is an extremely common side effect of chemotherapy. Many doctors believe it happens because the chemotherapy damages healthy cells, including nerves. So, with that being said, chemotherapy can damage nerves that affect feeling and movement in the hands and feet. Doctors actually have a name for this condition: chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) and the symptoms can be severe and may actually unfortunately adversely affect a patient's quality of life. It's used so much as a strategy to kill cancer cells, but unfortunately, once again with the adverse effect, it also can affect the nerves that connect to the spinal cord, to the muscles, skin and internal organs. And now you're really speaking about your peripheral neuropathy again.
CASSIE: Yes. So we've covered so many different causes: the chemotherapy, the B12 deficiency, the gluten. Like I said, we don't have time to cover all of the causes. You know, we, we could spend a lot of time talking about pesticides or heavy metals like lead or mercury or other, other medications besides just the antacids that can cause neuropathy. But I really want to spend plenty of time here this morning talking about what people can do to restore nerve function. So Dr. Silverman, I'm going to hand it over and let you talk about some of the leading vitamin supplements that you have found to be helpful and I don't know, start wherever you want. But I'm, I'm wondering if you want to start with the very basics like omega-three fish oil.
DR. SILVERMAN: Oh, without question omega-three fish oils would be a great choice. You know, I use omegas not just for this. I use them for every one of my patients. Omegas are great for nerves because they build up the cell membrane. They're also fabulous because there are certain nerves in the brain called axons. Fish oils may also help with diabetic neuropathy, which approximately 50% of people with diabetes suffering from nerve damage and neuropathy, maybe the most effective treatment in addition to keeping blood sugar in control, which would slow neuropathy, is omega-three fatty acids found in fish oil. Many studies show that fish oil supplements can restore the condition of nerves damaged from diabetes. In addition, I like a large amount of fish oils. We're looking at three to six grams of what we call omega-six. I’m sorry, of omega-three fish oil; DHA and EPA. I think that too many people wait till they get the diabetic neuropathy and then decide to take the fish oil. I think anybody with diabetes prior to the neuropathy would benefit greatly from taking omega-three fish oil.
CASSIE: Oh, I love that recommendation. Prevention is key, right? And when you say three to six grams, I mean that depends… how many capsules that is depends on the brand. But just to give listeners a visual, a lot of brands: that's going to be between three and six capsules of fish oil at least. You know, when I'm teaching a class, I'll often ask if people are taking fish oil and a lot of people will raise their hand, but then when you ask them how much, they're taking like one pill, which might be 500 or a thousand milligrams. We're saying 3000 to 6,000 milligrams.
BRITNI: And they might not be taking good quality.
CASSIE: And that too, right. It's good to buy from a nutritionist or a chiropractor and really know that you're getting quality. What else do you use for neuropathy besides omega-threes?
DR. SILVERMAN: Well, I'm a big proponent of B12; B vitamins for neuropathy. B vitamins are used in treating neuropathy for healthy nervous system function. And as we said before, peripheral neuropathy is sometimes caused by a B deficiency. But the supplementation truly should include all the Bs, like B1, B6, and B12. In addition to that, I like Alpha Lipoic Acid, which at some point I'd love to go into a little bit more detail. Alpha lipoic acid is a great antioxidant that may be used in treating neuropathy. Acetyl L-Carnitine; most people don't look at it and acetyl L-carnitine is great energy in the brain, but it's an amino acid an antioxidant. It may raise energy levels, create healthy nerve cells, and reduce pain in people with neuropathy. A typical dosage is approximately 500 milligrams twice a day. NAC or an N-Acetyl Cysteine is great for neuropathy. It is a form of cysteine. It's an antioxidant and an amino acid. One of its main uses is for treating neuropathic pain and reducing inflammation. Unfortunately it isn't found naturally in foods. So cysteine is in most high protein foods. 1200 milligrams once or twice a day will really help greatly. There is a lot of robust literature that shows assisting in treating diabetic neuropathy. Once again, let's hit it again. Fish oils: fish oils are extremely useful for treating neuropathy due to its anti-inflammatory effects, its ability to repair damaged nerves, and it helps to relieve muscle soreness and pain. Remember the amount of fish oils as you so nicely depicted previously. Curcumin is a cooking herb known as an anti-inflammatory antioxidant. It may also help to relieve numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. So curcumin is something that I would use in a multitude of ways. It also stimulates an antioxidant pathway called NRF2. That antioxidant pathway is a critical element and avoiding diabetic neuropathies.
CASSIE: Wonderful, wonderful.
BRITNI: It’s a great list.
CASSIE: It is a great list. And I jotted all of that down and I, I do appreciate too that Britni mentioned get high quality. I want to remind all of the listeners, the supplement industry is not regulated. So you might go to a big box store and pick up a bottle of omega-threes or any of these other things that Dr. Silverman just mentioned and it might not even have what it says it has in it because nobody is auditing these companies. But if you buy from a chiropractor or a nutritionist office, we have what is called pharmaceutical-grade supplements, meaning that they are actually audited and they have a lot of standards that they have to meet. So again, I think most of these supplements can be found at nutrikey.net.
BRITNI: And Dr. Silverman, you had mentioned alpha lipoic acid and that's, that's one of my favorite supplements to use to help clients with neuropathy. And it's a really powerful antioxidant, but could you explain for us why it's so beneficial and how, how it actually works in the body?
DR. SILVERMAN: Absolutely. I think it's one of the hidden gems. I think everyone could benefit from taking alpha lipoic acid virtually daily: the only antioxidant that works with the water and the fat part of the cell. And as a mitochondrial fatty acid, it's used as a co-factor in the synthesis of ATP. In addition, is really truly shown to improve the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy and improves insulin sensitivity; once again, going back to that blood sugar. It works synergistically with acetyl L-carnitine as an antioxidant. It is also shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer's. Good amount of dose is about 600 milligrams daily. And last but not least, it protects against free radical damage, which can lead you down the path of diabetic neuropathy or some blood sugar… And you know, interestingly enough it stimulates four different pathways, all of which are health-promoting.
CASSIE: I think I need to buy this.
BRITNI: Alright, it is time for our third break already. Thank you for listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. It is August 17th already: crazy to think that. And there are only two more weeks to take advantage of our 90-minute $10 classes. Many of the classes are already full at this time. However, some locations still have space for you. And of course the most popular class has been Five Steps to Boost Your Metabolism. Another other very popular class has been Eating to Reduce Pain and Inflammation. So we encourage you to sign up for a class. I mean it's a really… 90 minutes, such wonderful information. And I know you will be pleasantly surprised because they are not the typical boring nutrition classes.
CASSIE: No, they're very interactive.
BRITNI: They are. Yes. I've taught a couple already, and so I suggest you sign up today to reserve your spot. And again: $10. What do you have to lose?
CASSIE: Yeah, a good deal.
BRITNI: So go to weightandwellness.com to sign up or you can call (651) 699-3438.
CASSIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I would think everybody would agree with me that today's show has been a whirlwind of great information. And as you've learned, there are a lot of different causes for neuropathy. We don't have time to get to them all, as I said before, but one I do want to mention before the show's over is the exposure to Agent Orange. We're well aware of what Agent Orange has done to many of our Vietnam vets, and we would love to help any Vietnam vets who are listening who have been exposed. I mean even if we can help reverse some of the damage and give at least some relief to the pain that neuropathy might be causing you that’s certainly better than no relief at all. Our office number is 651-699-3438 if you'd like to call and set up an appointment. And on a side note, be sure to join us here, same time, same place next week on Dishing Up Nutrition. We're going to have another great show. Melanie and Leah are going to be discussing nutrition to reduce back pain. But back to our topic of neuropathy, I have some information here that I think will be new information for some of our listeners and that's this: nerves are built primarily of fat. Think about that. Nerves are built primarily of fat. Now I'm not talking about just any old fat. I'm not talking about going through the drive through and getting your daily dose. I'm talking about the real fats, the healthy fats. So I want you to think about using coconut oil, not Crisco. Think about using extra virgin olive oil, not the soybean oil. Use butter, not margarine. So these fats I'm talking about I think of as the cooking fats. And then there's also the category that I would classify as therapeutic fats. And I'm going to let Britni and Dr. Silverman talk about those in just a minute. But I want to reference back again to author, Sally Fallon Morell. In her book that I mentioned earlier, Nourishing Fats, she talks extensively about how our brains and our nerves need animal fats to function well. So butter for example: that's an animal fat. It's not only good for building healthy nerves. It's good for maintaining a good working memory as well. Bacon fat would be another great fat for healthy nerves and healthy brains. I don't know about you, but I think this is great news, right? Because I love butter and I love bacon and if they're good for me too, double bonus. And Sally explains in her book, it's not just because they're fats, and we need fats to build nerves and a healthy memory, but also because of the vitamins that they provide. Vitamins like A, D, K2. Choline is another nutrient that these animal fats provide. So those are the cooking fats. Let's switch gears to the therapeutic fats. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a therapeutic fat is cod liver oil. Dr. Silverman, why should we be having a couple of teaspoons of cod liver oil every day?
DR. SILVERMAN: Ah, cod liver oil. What I found in cod liver oil is it's linked to many health benefits including reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure; good choice for overall health. It's very high in vitamins A and vitamin D. So both of those are critical vitamins for overall health. It is, as you know, cod liver oil is quite different than regular fish oil. So truly, a summary of it is that I do like the cod liver oil because it also will help reduce inflammation. As you know, inflammation is a natural process that helps the body fight infections and injuries. Omega-3 fatty acids and cod liver oil may also help suppress proteins that promote chronic inflammation. Cod liver oil is great for promoting bone health. It's incredibly important to maintain healthy bones as you age. It's again, a great source of vitamin D and may reduce age-related bone loss. That's because cod liver oil helps your body absorb calcium, which is necessary for strong bones from the gut. And in many studies it's been accompanied by a diet high in calcium. Taking a vitamin D supplement with a cod liver oil can reduce bone loss among adults and strengthen frail bones in children in multiple studies; interesting. It may also help reduce joint pain and improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. It's also been shown to help both with a great source of omega-threes and vitamin A’s which may protect against vision loss. People wouldn't think that that would occur. It also helps improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression. And last but not least, it helps heal the gut. And for me, I'm all about the gut lining and the gut to brain axes. 80% of the immune cells are in your gut. So cod liver oil is a hidden gem that I use for gut health, which for me is overall health.
CASSIE: Wow; we could do a whole other show just on cod liver oil; really.
DR. SILVERMAN: Absolutely; absolutely. And last, don't forget that cod liver oil is something that's pretty accessible for most people.
CASSIE: Yes, good point. You know, as we get close to the end of the hour, I think it would benefit the listeners to just take a minute here to recap what we've talked about in terms of what you should do and what you shouldn't do to either prevent the onset of neuropathy or help to heal it. So one thing we talked about and I can't stress enough, is trying as much as you possibly can to prevent it. And remember, there's often a direct relationship to the foods you're eating and your environment that lead to neuropathy. Rule number two we talked about today: maintain a normal blood sugar level. And again, I really encourage you to work with a nutritionist until you achieve good blood sugar balance. Rule number three: probably a good idea to stop eating the gluten grains if you have neuropathy. So that means no wheat, no barley, no rye, no oats, no spelt or kamut.
BRITNI: Rule number four: be careful of chemical contamination. If possible avoid any use of pesticides or other harsh chemicals. Rule number five: if you need chemotherapy, build up your antioxidant levels by eating real food and taking natural supplements so you protect your nerves. And rule number six: control your heartburn by eating real foods and taking natural supplements. Avoid the use of those antacid or acid blockers.
CASSIE: Yes, and rule number seven: avoid heavy metal exposure. You might want to think about testing your drinking water, for example, for lead, mercury and cadmium. These have been known to cause nerve damage, and you might want to consider removing any mercury amalgam fillings that you might still have. And rule number eight: eat the healthy natural fats. Avoid those processed fats like soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and refined canola oil.
BRITNI: We really want to thank Dr. Robert Silverman, author of Inside-Out Health for being such a wonderful guest and providing us with so much great information this morning. Dr. Silverman is on the advisory board for the Functional Medicine University, has a practice in White Plains, New York. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His office number is (914) 287-6464. So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better how through eating real food. It's simple but yet so powerful. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you so much for listening today and have a wonderful day.
CASSIE: And thank you Dr. Silverman. You've been a great guest and I have learned so much, and I know our listeners have too. Have a great day.
DR. SILVERMAN: Thanks for having me; appreciate it.