HNPP · Physical Health

HNPP and digestion issues

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It’s considered one of the more taboo subjects given the ’embarrassing’ nature of the topic, but a large amount of HNPP sufferers appear to experience problems with their gut. And not in the instinctual kind of way. Digestive issues could be more closely linked to the condition than you may think.

While research surrounding this particular issue is limited, linking HNPP to other areas of the body could provide more information surrounding this topic. Quoting those who have spoken to noted medical practitioners researching HNPP, sufferers with the inherited disorder are more susceptible to problems with digestion “due to Schwann cells not forming properly in the embryonic stage”.

“I would take the position that unless a problem clearly has a neurological basis then it should not be attributed to HNPP.”

– Gareth J. Parry, M.D

Disclaimer: Please ask your medical practitioner for more information. This article is based on various research, journals and testimonies.

Prior to this new information, Gareth Parry MD, the Professor and Head, Department of Neurology, University of Minnesota said that symptoms such as digestion issues should not be attributed to HNPP.

Dr Parry stated: “I would take the position that unless a problem clearly has a neurological basis then it should not be attributed to HNPP. The only symptoms that I would attribute to HNPP largely without question would be numbness, paresthesias (pins and needles, tingling, etc) and weakness.”

Why is this important?

Schwann cells are vital in functioning to support neurons in the peripheral nervous system. A nerve cell communicates information to distant targets by sending electrical signals down a long, thin part of the cell called the axon. In order to increase the speed at which these electrical signals travel, the axon is insulated by myelin, which is produced by the Schwann cell. It is affected in a number of demyelinating disorders including the sister condition of HNPP called Charcot Marie-Tooth disorder.

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Myelin twists around the axon like a jelly-roll cake and prevents the loss of electrical signals. Without an intact axon and myelin sheath, peripheral nerve cells are unable to activate target muscles or relay sensory information from the limbs back to the brain.

Changeable environment within nerve injury especially the scarring time can limit Schwann cells proliferation, according to a 2011 study. Unlike in CMT, the number of total Schwann cells is seen to increase, as stated by authors of the 1998 report Fate of Schwann cells in CMT1A and HNPP.

This is reiterated in the 1998 research Neuronal Degeneration and Regeneration, where the authors state: “The reduced expression [of PMP22] would result in an extended proliferation [of Schwann cells] and in excess of myelination and thus the formation of hypermyelinated tomacula as observed in HNPP. The observation of two Schwann cells forming one myelin sheath in HNPP is in line with this theory.”

Similar to autonomic neuropathies, such as diabetic neuropathy, abnormalities reported include proliferation of Schwann cells, atrophy of denervated bands of Schwann cells, axonal degeneration in nerve fibres, primary demyelination resulting from secondary segmental demyelination related to impairment of the axonal control of myelination, remyelination, as well as onion-bulb formations.

At present, the link between how the proliferation of Schwann cells itself can cause issues with digestion and HNPP has not been established, so it may be some time before the research is more widely available.

Autonomic neuropathy and HNPP

It’s vital to understand the connection between HNPP and autonomic neuropathy because AN has been proven to include symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues. As the name implies, the autonomic nervous system is responsible for monitoring the functioning of the organs that act largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions such as the heart rate, digestion, and respiratory rate. While there are many elements where hereditary neuropathy and AN diverge, there are certain areas where they converge but haven’t been studied.

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In the 2015 report Two Siblings with Genetically Proven HNPP and Autonomic Neuropathy, a brother and sister who both had the deletion of PMP22, also had symptomatic autonomic dysfunction confirmed by autonomic testing.

The researchers say: “Autonomic testing, performed due to autonomic symptoms including positional dizziness, confirmed the presence of autonomic dysfunction. The brother had neurocardiogenic syncope and adrenergic dysfunction but a normal QSART. The sister showed distal reduction of QSART response, mild symptomatic orthostatic intolerance with mild adrenergic dysfunction and intact cardiovagal and sudomotor function.”

It may be coincidental that the siblings had autonomic dysfunction on top of HNPP, however the authors conclude: “HNPP can uncommonly be associated with an autonomic neuropathy. It is important for clinicians to be aware of the potential presence of autonomic symptoms, which may contribute to poor quality of life for these patients.”

In a 2015 investigation into the link, a patient with HNPP was found to also have severe orthostatic hypotension – low blood pressure – which is generally associated with autonomic neuropathic symptoms which affects the central nervous system.

The authors say: “through exome-sequencing analysis, we identified two novel mutations in the dopamine beta hydroxylase gene. Moreover, with interactome analysis, we excluded a further influence on the origin of the disease by variants in other genes. This case increases the number of unique patients presenting with dopamine-β-hydroxylase deficiency and of cases with genetically proven double trouble.”

Dopamine-β-hydroxylase deficiency is rare form of autonomic dysfunction which affects the central nervous system attacking the functioning of the heart, bladder, intestines, sweat glands, pupils, and blood vessels. Not all are neuropathy related.

Again, these cases could be purely serendipitous given how rare they are portrayed to be, but it is apparent that more research in this area is required.

Other types of autonomic neuropathy

In the case of autonomic diabetic neuropathy, George King, MD, Director of Research and Head of the Section on Vascular Cell Biology at Joslin Diabetes Center says: “Nerves are surrounded by a covering of cells, just like an electric wire is surrounded by insulation. The cells surrounding a nerve are called Schwann cells. One theory suggests that excess sugar circulating throughout the body interacts with an enzyme in the Schwann cells, called aldose reductase. Aldose reductase transforms the sugar into sorbitol, which in turn draws water into the Schwann cells, causing them to swell.

“This in turn pinches the nerves themselves, causing damage and in many cases pain. Unless the process is stopped and reversed, both the Schwann cells and the nerves they surround die.” Sorbitol, which can be taken as an enzyme, is said to have laxative effects and does not get broken down in the small intestine, and causes water to be retained. When glucose is converted to sorbitol via the enzyme aldose reductase it results in a decrease in tissue myoinositol, with far-reaching effects throughout the nervous system.

According to the 2000 study The Diabetic Stomach: Management Strategies for Clinicians and Patients, author Gerald Berstein, M.D., says: “In the gastrointestinal tract, [diabetic neuropathy] causes, in effect, an autovagotomy […] hyperglycemia results in cellular anatomic disruption throughout the gastrointestinal tract, but especially in the stomach. Nerve cells may swell with the loss of myelinated fibers […] In the stomach, motility may be reduced in the antrum and proximal stomach. There may also be pylorospasm.”

Gastroparesis, or delayed gastric emptying, is a rare feature of diabetic autonomic neuropathy. This long-term condition means food passes through the stomach more slowly than usual. It’s not always clear what leads to gastroparesis. But in many cases, gastroparesis is believed to be caused by damage to the vagus nerve that controls the stomach muscles.

“A doctor explained it as if it was similar to diabetes. Where our bodies should be able to digest at any given moment but in ours the signals just don’t always get there. Resulting in a case of this food ready and there but unable to be digested for my self it always results in diarrhoea and horrible stomach pains. But as with everything with this disease it varies greatly from person to person.”

Charcot Marie-Tooth disorder forum on Reddit

As with the above, there is virtually no information in regards to gastroparesis linked to HNPP, however, episodes of gastroparesis has been recorded in those with Charcot Marie-Tooth disorder.

The vagus nerve and HNPP

The vagus nerve helps manage the complex processes in your digestive tract, including signalling the muscles in your stomach to contract and push food into the small intestine. A damaged vagus nerve can’t send signals normally to your stomach muscles. This may cause food to remain in your stomach longer, rather than move normally into your small intestine to be digested.

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In one study, esophageal dysphagia in HNPP – the sensation of food sticking or getting hung up in the base of your throat or in your chest after you’ve started to swallow – was compared to bovine tomaculous neuropathy. In this particular condition, cows were seen to have “bilateral vagus nerve degeneration, with nerve lesions similar to those seen in tomaculous neuropathy in humans.”

The research surrounding HNPP by Brazilian scientists at the Neurology Division, Internal Medicine Department, Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR), however, concludes that this was seen to be “rare” and that HNPP “should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients with atypical swallowing dysfunction.”

The bovine study should also be taken with a pinch of salt given the difference of the physiognomy between animals and humans. Authors of A Study of the Pathology of a Bovine Primary Peripheral Myelinopathy, state similar traits such as the thickening of myelin sheaths within HNPP was observed in the cows in question. At the same time, 1995 research reports: “Clinical signs of dysphagia and chronic rumenal bloat developed after weaning which were attributable to bilateral vagus nerve degeneration.”

They go on to add: “The lesions are similar to those seen in the tomaculous neuropathies
of man.”

It may be the first signs of the scientific community attempting to make the leap between hereditary peripheral neuropathy with the vagus nerve as well as autonomic-type dysfunctions attacking the digestive system. However, without the words on paper and significant credibility, it’s hard to make a judgement.

Read: When HNPP ’causes breathing problems’

HNPP · Physical Health

When small tasks become daunting with HNPP

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It’s taken me a week to prepare myself to wash my extremely long hair. The task seemed almost impossible after feeling fatigued the past several weeks. It got me thinking how do those with HNPP manage with menial chores?

People with chronic illness often have problems with housecleaning, chores and the control of clutter. Once a home reaches a certain stage of disarray, it can seem hopeless. Living this way contributes to emotional distress and social isolation, as people feel embarrassed about having guests or generally being near people.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

William Morris

It takes a combination of a lot of things to go from chaos to comfort. Identifying small practical steps you could take and then to do them one at a time. Putting your priorities in order however, is not an easy thing to do, especially when you are chronically sick. Even the simple act of making a small list gives can give you a headache.

After undertaking an interview to fill in a disability form for extra help, it became apparent how much help I needed. The interviewer said that if a task takes twice as long as previous while able-bodied – you do require some support.

So where to begin?

Now obviously, hiring a cleaning service or enlisting help from family members would save you a lot of heavy work. But that isn’t always an option. What’s realistically possible for you depends on your personal situation and health status, but here are general tips to keep a relatively clean and organised home if you’re chronically ill.

However, these are particularly important before commencing:

  • Rest – being tired doesn’t mean you’re being lazy. If you feel sleepy, then rest! Siestas will become your best friend. Schedule them in if needs be. And switch off your electronic devices.
  • Priority lists – take the things that you know cannot be avoided that day and put them at the top of your priority list. Things like feeding yourself / and your family, doing laundry. Then, take those same things and think about how you can simplify them. Slow cookers are great to just make a meal in one.
  • Delegating – for those with families who are more able, you have the gift of many hands. For others, it may be a good friend that you can call upon in a time of need. Learning to ask for help is a bit of skill in itself. The saying that many hands make light work is so true.
  • Do chores in an ‘ergonomically correct’ way – to overcome physical limitations or minimise pain, you might unknowingly adopt awkward postures that aggregate your symptoms. So pay attention to how you carry your body as you’re dusting high shelves or mopping up the floor. For example, try to keep your shoulders relaxed, use a step to reach spaces above your head or bend through your knees when lifting something off the ground. Stand firmly on both feet, hip-width apart, while you’re doing the dishes and rotate between different chores to avoid injury caused by repetitive motions. Think of housekeeping as a workout (which it is!) that needs to be performed with body awareness.
  • Substitution and flexibility – somethings unexpected always come up. You may need to practice how to be flexible. I used to be very OCD with cleaning my flat, now I just shrug my shoulders and wait for when the time is a little more suitable.
  • Congratulate yourself – come to see that, like other chronically ill people, you are always making a huge effort, so you always have something for which you can congratulate yourself.

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Housekeeping

  • Create systems to deal with clutter – sort the mail as soon as it arrives, instead of letting it pile up. Do a little washing up daily to avoid pyramids of plates – even better if you have a dishwasher where you can wait several days to fill it up. Dust off crumbs when you finish a meal. If you can’t that day, try it on the next.
  • Change things gradually – if you have stacks of unused jars, bottles, newspapers, think about what you really need and if it is really necessary. Start throwing away bits and bobs, with your weekly recycling. This includes clothing, time yourself for 10-15 minutes, cleaning your closet a little every day. It may not clear it all – but it will start bringing the clutter down.
  • Create simple routines – this can include sorting laundry or laying out each day’s clothes in advance. If you have guests, make sure everyone takes their own plates, a serving dish and silverware to the sink.
  • Automate away – thanks to technology, many routine tasks can be set up on a schedule, from paying your monthly rent and utility bills to refilling your prescriptions. So find out if there’s a service or feature that will do recurring jobs automatically for you.
  • Simplify your meal planning – meal planning is an excellent way to limit tiring trips to the supermarket, but it can be daunting to figure out what’s for dinner. To make things easier, you could collect a month’s worth of healthy recipes for each season and use that to create a weekly menu. If that’s too much hassle for you, you can also build your own personalised template with seven days worth of delicious dinners.
  • List the grocery items you buy regularly – that way you’ll never forget to buy milk again.
  • Keep house supplies on each floor or generally accessible – having a bucket with spray bottles, microfiber cloths and sponges at hand wherever you need them saves you from needlessly carrying items up and down the stairs. Place baskets at the bottom of the stairs to collect things that need to be taken upstairs.
  • Create smart cleaning routines – clean rooms from top to bottom, so you won’t knock down dust from higher cupboards and shelves on recently vacuumed floors.
  • Experiment with other energy-saving tricks – this may be hanging your clothes instead of folding them, sorting dirty laundry in separate hampers and collecting all used home textiles (towels, rags, (table) cloths, bed sheets) in one go.
  • Consider a “no shoes indoors” policy – it drastically reduces the amount of dirt and germs tracked in.
  • Build in buffer time – don’t leave things like grocery shopping and laundry until the last minute, right when you run out of food and clean clothes, that just adds unnecessary stress. Also, don’t plan too many cleaning sessions in a row, but leave enough time for rest in between.
  • Find ways to conserve energy – sit down while you’re peeling potatoes or folding towels. Grab a stool during cooking if you have trouble standing. Consider home deliveries when going out to the shops is a tiring ordeal for you.
  • On low-energy days – it may feel like all you accomplish is keeping things in their proper places. But that is an important part of housekeeping.

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Shopping

  • Check energy levels – if you’re extremely tired, divide the shopping list up into a couple little trips over several days.
  • Driving to stores – if possible park near a cart corral so it’s easy to drop it off when you’re done.
  • Pick a day that isn’t as crowded – if you’re not sure what days are less crowded you can always ask an employee. Or even check Google which shows when the quietest times are of most stores.
  • Grab a shopping trolley instead of those little baskets – even if you’re running in for three little items, the odds are you’ll pass the water or juice and remember you’re running low. Now you’re left trying to lug those heavy extras around with you. Also, the cart is great to help keep your balance and offer a bit more support while walking.
  • Bring a helper if you can – that way if you’re getting too tired to even let go of the cart you’ll have an extra set of arms to grab what you need. They also come in handy if you happen to remember you forgot an item, they can run back and get it.
  • Getting ill/tired – if you just can’t continue don’t beat yourself up. If you see an employee, let them know that you’re sick and have to leave. They’d rather be notified so they can put away the frozen food instead of happening upon a full trolley with thawed items that now need to be thrown away.
  • Arrange items on the conveyor belt according to where they go in the house – that way all the body wash and shampoo are in the same bags so you can just carry that bag to the bathroom. This also helps once you get home.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask – if you’ve used a trolley and the store doesn’t allow them to leave the building you can ask the bagger to grab the cart so you can load the groceries in there to take out to your car.
  • Online shopping – it’s an absolute godsend. You can sit in the comfort of your home, find what you need to buy online without even getting up. It does charge a delivery fee and most stores have minimum charge so wait for your big shop before ordering.

Assistive equipment

Having a helping hand when you suffer from pain, fatigue, weakened muscles or other symptoms can improve your independence and energy levels.

  • Put your appliances to work for you – the dish washer, dryer, a programmable slow cooker. You could even consider investing in smart helps around the house like a vacuuming robot.
  • Use supportive tools to make daily activities easier – stools, non-slip mats, long handled gardening tools or kitchen equipment specially designed for people with limited mobility and strength. Google which helpful aids are available for your specific health problems.

As anyone suffering with a chronic illness knows there are good days and bad days. And it’s important to remember you’re allowed to rest, ask for help and be as flexible as possible. Hopefully then, daily tasks will seem a little less daunting.

HNPP · Physical Health

Can diets help with HNPP symptoms?

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Having a neuromuscular condition like HNPP can pose some unique challenges to weight loss, especially when designing an exercise and diet routine. If you have HNPP, moderate exercise is usually best, especially when combined with a healthy diet. One of the challenges facing HNPP sufferers is the fact that muscles can take longer to recover from exercise with the condition.

Because a person with HNPP can’t exercise as hard as someone without it, it is important to watch your diet. The foods that you eat need to do more than just fill you up. Everything you put into your body needs to do double duty, whether it is increasing metabolism, lowering cholesterol, or helping your muscles recover faster after a workout.

Disclaimer: Please check with your doctor or practitioner before starting a new diet. 

Stephanie Sacks, a nutritionist and culinary chef, worked with Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation founder Allison Moore, who suffers from the sister condition of HNPP called Charcot Marie-Tooth syndrome, in order to improve her health. In July 2016, Sacks began to change her diet and determine if food could be “thy medicine” for those living with CMT.

Moore followed a specific menu that was created for her by Sacks – a “nutrition prescription” that was the result of collaboration with an “integrative functional” dietitian colleague. It included a meal plan with supportive supplementation, and after two months Moore claimed there had been an improvement. Her blood work also reportedly improved, from cholesterol to triglycerides and liver function.

You can view the interview here.

According to Sacks’ website, the first phase of the diet looked like the following:

  • 80-90% whole foods diet (organic as often as possible)
  • Neuro-protective foods including healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, almonds
  • DNA-protective foods such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, radicchio, berries, matcha tea (potentially slows or reverses damage of DNA)
  • Naturally nitrate-rich foods like beets and chard to enhance blood flow and improve vessel elasticity
  • No gluten (it can be pro-inflammatory for many)
  • Limited dairy (same as above)
  • Limited starchy carbohydrates like grains and beans
  • Nothing artificial, from preservatives to sugar to flavors to dyes
  • Limited refined sugar
  • Little to no alcohol

The crux of the diet is clean eating, which is something most people without the condition can even embrace.

What kind of diet?

A nutritious diet that is right for you will largely depend on your age, size, gender, lifestyle, eating and food preferences and your overall health.

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As CMT UK recommends, the person to see is a registered dietitian – they may not know about the condition, but they can approach the right people to create an appropriate plan. Here is what a healthy diet looks like, according to the organisation:

  • Eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day
  • Eating only a moderate amount of “simple” carbohydrates like sugar, processed flour, potatoes, pasta etc. Replace these with “complex” carbs in fruit, unprocessed grains (brown rice and pasta etc).
  • Eating plenty of proteins – meat, fish and pulses – remembering to remove the skin from chicken and excess fat from meat and avoid frying
  • Having three portions of dairy foods every day. (A portion is about 1/3 pint of milk or a small pot of yogurt, or 25g of cheese.) Where possible choose reduced fat versions, like semi-skimmed milk and cottage cheese for example
  • Keep fatty and sugary foods to a minimum
  • Eat as little salt as possible. The recommended daily amount is 5 to 6 grams (about one teaspoon)
  • Avoid ready-made foods, as they can contain very high levels of sugar, fat and salt.

Digestion

In some cases of HNPP, dietary issues can include problems with digestion. Those with autonomic nerve damage – which are the nerves that are connected to the internal organs – can face loss of control and functions of the body.

“I truly believe foods play a major role in both inherited and non-inherited neuropathy. I have a been gluten free for about 5 years due to a blood test result showing I had a gluten sensitivity. I believe it has slowed my rate of neuropathy progression.”

Asked on the CMT Inspire Forum

Gareth Parry, M. D, Professor and Head, Department of Neurology, University of Minnesota, spoke to Maureen Horton, creator of the original HNPP.org website. Asked if HNPP can cause a “digestive slow-down”, Dr Parry said that while HNPP doesn’t have a direct effect on the digestive system, relative inactivity imposed by the condition and sometimes the effects of medication can exacerbate the problem.

He adds: “Maintain as much physical activity as the HNPP will allow. High fluid/high fiber diet. Occasional use of laxatives is OK but avoid them as much as possible.”

Obviously, it’s important to ask a nutritional specialist to get the best results. Nonetheless, combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of further issues, and promote your overall health.

HNPP · Medication · Physical Health

HNPP and Alternative Supplements

Fruits

It sounds like there are a lot of good tidbits of information as well as conflicting messages in terms of taking supplements, and other foodstuffs that are said to have wonderful healing properties.

From supporting nerve regrowth to reducing inflammation, there is a whole host of additional organic as well as synthetic tablets and herbs that can be taken with regular medication.

I personally take a selection of Vitamin B tablets and Folic Acid, which was recommended to me by a neurologist, but everyone’s body is different and reacts in different ways.

So is it necessary to take supplements? 

Regardless of the cause of your peripheral neuropathy, boosting the health of your nerves through proper diet and supplementation can help slow the spread of your symptoms. However, the sooner you and your doctor can pinpoint a cause, the quicker you can identify and begin the most effective treatment for your symptoms.

While this is by no means a comprehensive list, these medicinal and herbal suggestions have definitely gotten a lot of praise.

Disclaimer: Please check with your doctor or practitioner before taking new medicines. Make sure you’re not allergic.

Magnesium 

Spinach magnesium intake for HNPP hereditary neuropathy

Magnesium is said to help maintain nerve function, mostly by reducing pain, calming overactive nerves and relaxing your muscles. This calming effect on nerves and muscles helps reduce pain and improve mobility. According to a 2010 study, a major mechanism of pain is the excessive stimulation of a brain chemical called “NMDA.” Magnesium seems to settle down this pain-carrying neurotransmitter without the toxins of other medications.

Low levels magnesium may result in fatigue, cramping and weakness – among other symptoms.

Alternatives to supplements: 

So from where else can you get your magnesium intake?

  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Beans and peas
  • Fresh fruits
  • Quinoa

Vitamin B

Salmon for Vitamin B12 intake HNPP neuropathy

One common cause of peripheral neuropathy is a deficiency of B vitamins, particularly B12. If a B12 deficiency isn’t treated in a timely fashion, the nerve damage can become permanent. It is the most important link in the chain of the various B vitamins.

However, without vitamin B2 and B6, your body’s ability to properly absorb and make use of these vitamins for the benefit of your nerves becomes significantly handicapped.

Alternatives to supplements:

The NHS website has laid out some of the foods that are high in B12:

  • Meat
  • Salmon
  • Cod
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Some fortified breakfast cereals

Folic Acid

Folic acid, known as folate in its natural form, helps the body form healthy red blood cells and reduce the risk of central neural tube defects. Folic acid is needed to activate the B12. B6, B9 (folic acid) and B2 are needed for B1 to be absorbed.

If you’re taking folic acid supplements, it’s important not to take too much, as this could be harmful.  Folic acid can actually be absorbed by having a healthy diet. Adults need 200mcg of folic acid a day. It can’t be stored in the body, so you need it in your diet every day.

Alternative for supplements:

Folate is found in small amounts in many foods:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Liver (but avoid this during pregnancy)
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

Potassium

Banana potassium hereditary neuropathy HNPP

Potassium helps generate energy so that the nerves can transmit messages. The way it does this is called the sodium-potassium pump. Essentially, there is more potassium inside your cells and more sodium outside. When the gate that allows one or the other to leave or enter the cell opens, potassium leaves and sodium enters. This “pump” generates the energy for your nerves to transmit messages.

Alternatives to supplements:

  • Sweet potato
  • White and kidney beans
  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Certain fish – Wild salmon, tuna, halibut, flounder, and Pacific cod
  • Milk
  • Tomato sauces
  • Dried fruits -Apricots, peaches and figs

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) is a naturally occurring amino acid and is potentially effective at preventing peripheral neuropathy as well as lessening neuropathic symptoms once they have developed. ALC has been shown to influence neurotransmitters (NTs), including acetylcholine (organic chemical that works as a neurotransmitter) and dopamine.

Disclaimer: Please check with your doctor or practitioner before taking new medicines. Make sure you’re not allergic and it doesn’t interact with other medications.

Turmeric

Turmeric for hereditary neuropathy HNPP

Turmeric is an ancient spice commonly used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines to treat digestive issues, inflammation, skin conditions, and wounds. Turmeric is also known as an anti-ischemic agent, which helps in regulating blood supply to peripheral nerves. Lack of blood supply to nerves is of the key reason for these nerves not working properly.

Although there is not currently much research to support its standing as an effective anti-inflammatory or that it can benefit nerve issues, there is much anecdotal evidence that it has its advantages.

For more information on how to consume it, visit TheKitchn.com.

Hemp Oil

A slightly more controversial product is Hemp Oil or Cannabidiol (CBD). For many HNPP sufferers, this is harder to come by depending on the laws of your country. However, it is said to benefit users. Two major cannabinoids found in cannabis, activate the two main cannabinoid receptors, which is said to regulate the release of neurotransmitter and central nervous system immune cells to manage pain levels. There are foods and liquids containing hemp that can also be consumed.

Some of the most popular forms of hemp foods include:
  • Whole hemp seeds
  • Shelled hemp seed (hemp hearts)
  • Hemp oil
  • Hemp protein
  • Hemp milk

Omega 3 Oils

Walnuts omega 3 peripheral neuropathyResearch from Queen Mary, University of London suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, have the potential to protect nerves from injury and help them to regenerate.

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for the body’s normal growth and development because the body cannot manufacture omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore it has to be consumed in foods such as oily fish.

Foods that include Omega 3 include:

  • Flaxseeds
  • Fatty / oily fish – wild salmon, halibut, mackerel, tuna
  • Walnuts

Coq 10

CoQ10 (CoEnzyme Q10) is an antioxidant naturally produced by your body. As it relates to your nerves, CoQ10 plays a role in correction mitochondrial dysfunction, a condition that can lead to a decline in nerve health and cause nerve related problems or pain. Long-term low dose CoQ-10 inhibited neuropathy induced pain, according to a study.

Coq10 can be found in:

  • Fish- Sardines, Mackerel, salmon, tuna, herring
  • Beef, Lamb, Pork- organs like heart, liver, kidneys
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Wheat-germ
  • Peanuts, Pistachio, sesame seeds
  • Soyabean oil, Canola oil

Zinc

Dark chocolate for zinc neuropathy HNPP

Don’t go crazy with zinc supplementation because it can cause a secondary copper metabolic problem, however, there are plenty of foods that are naturally high in zinc.

Why do you need zinc for peripheral neuropathy? It turns out that zinc plays a part in modulating the brain and body’s response to stress all along the way. The highest amount of zinc in the body is found in our brains, particularly in a part of our brains called the hippocampus, and it is critical to cell signalling. But you don’t need a huge amount to fulfil your daily quota which can be done quite simply.

Foods that are high in zinc:

  • Oysters
  • Crab and lobster
  • Meat and poultry as well as eggs
  • Legumes – hummus, chickpeas, lentils, edamame, and black beans
  • Vegetables – mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, kale, and garlic
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Milk and dairy foods
  • Dark chocolate

If there are any more supplements you would like to add, please feel free to comment below! Do these particular products work for you?

Dark chocolate as a medical aid makes me very happy indeed.

UPDATE: Since writing the initial post, a few other supplements including Coq 10 and Omega 3 Oils has been suggested and added above.