This month we were joined by our Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Don Kennedy, in a Live Q&A focused on Healing and Improving Neuropathy. Here in this post, you'll find the outline of information covered and a link to the full Live stream video!
In this Livestream with our Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Don Kennedy, we explore how damaged nerves heal.
Yes, they CAN heal...more on that in a moment.
But first, to better understand how healing can occur, let's begin with a review of neuropathy, it's definition, causes, and symptoms.
How is it defined?
According to WebMD, "Peripheral Neuropathy refers to the conditions that result when nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord from and to the rest of the body are damaged or diseased."  The Mayo Clinic states: "Peripheral neuropathy, a result of damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord (peripheral nerves), often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet. It can also affect other areas of your body."
Dr. Kennedy offers us a simpler definition: "damaged nerves that cause symptoms, and that can be healed!"
What are the three major causes of peripheral neuropathy?
While there are a great number of causes, here are three of the most major:
- Trauma: Neuropathy stemming from a trauma is most common when the trauma involves just one nerve. Often, surgical intervention can be of benefit alongside natural supplementation and proper physical therapy.
- Diabetes: It is estimated that 60-80% of diabetics are going to get neuropathy. However, high blood sugar alone can lead to neuropathy even without the presence of diabetes.
- Vascular disease: This occurs when you have poor blood flow to your nerves. This poor blood flow prevents nutrients, oxygen, healing supplements, etc. to actually get to the nerve to provide support and start the healing process.
What actually happens to the nerves when they become damaged and result in neuropathy symptoms?
Let's begin this answer by explaining the structure of nerves. A hot dog analogy is commonly used here: the nerve axon is the hot dog, they myelin sheath is the bun.
The nerve axon (hot dog) is surrounded and protected by the myelin sheath (bun), and there are millions and millions of them all connected in a row. The nerve inside that sheath is responsible for conducting all the impulses from the hands, feet, etc. to the brain.
So what happens when the protective sheath is damaged?
That allows damage to then occur to the nerve. In most cases of peripheral neuropathy, this damage is caused by free radicals, which are toxins in your body that chip away at the axon, then the nerve. Once the nerve begins to be damaged, it can no longer conduct its impulses correctly. The nerves begin firing all over the place, or not firing at all. That's where you get the miscommunication of pain, shocks, tingling, numbness, etc.
The good news here?
That myelin sheath, the protective bun on the metaphorical nerve hot dog, CAN be regenerated.
And so can the damaged nerves and axons. On average, human peripheral nerves regenerate at a rate of approximately 1 inch per month.
But certain things have to happen for the healing to occur. Lets take a look...
Now into the meat of this topic: what can be done to heal and regenerate, and decrease the symptoms of neuropathy?
We’ve identified three steps to get you on your way to healing. Let’s understand how they work together:
- Take supplements that are proven to heal nerves - follow the research! These supplements must include Alpha lipoic Acid, Benfotiamine, and Methylcobalamin, all clinically studied and shown to normalize the conduction of the axons within 6 months. These nutrients must be there and ready for your nerves and myelin sheath to use and absorb.
- Now we need to ensure that those crucial nutrients can actually get to the damaged sheath by increasing blood flow. One way to improve blood flow naturally is with a Nitric Oxide (NO2) supplement. NO2 is produced naturally by your body to relax and widen blood vessels for better blood flow. But by the age of 40, the pathway that creates nitric oxide is operating at just 50% of its total capacity and continues to decline further with age. Taking an NO2 supplement can help correct your body’s diminishing NO2 supply and boost blood flow to all parts of the body. And for optimal blood flow, combine NO2 use with a low-impact exercise. Even a light 10-minute walk wakes up circulation from head to toe.
- And to amp up the nerve healing process, stimulate those damaged areas. A light, 10 minute massage every day stimulates the nerves and the blood flow, increasing circulation and waking up the muscles and the nerves. A type of electrical stimulation can be used as well, like a TENS unit, for circulation and even to help control pain too.
And the most important thing you can do to heal and regenerate your nerves: stay consistent! This is regenerative medicine, it does not happen overnight. Make a plan and stick to it for 6 months and really give your body a chance to heal. Keep a record of what you’re doing to share with your doctor. And start with a simple protocol that you will stick to for the long run.
Like this content? Watch the full Live video stream for more insights, anecdotes, and education to help you on your journey with neuropathy. Be sure to Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on future Live Q&A’s with our Medical Advisory Board!