Quick Diet Tips to Naturally Boost Metabolism

Tip # 1 – Eat More Whole Grains

Why? Because your body burns twice as many calories breaking down whole foods, especially those rich in fiber such as oatmeal and brown rice, than processed foods.

Tip # 2 – Eat More Lean Meats

Why? Because protein has a high thermogenic effect, helping you burn about 30% of the calories the food contains during digestion (so a 300-calorie chicken breast requires about 90 calories to break it down).

Tip # 3 – Eat Low-fat Dairy Products

Why? Because dairy is rich in calcium and vitamin D, which help preserve and build muscle mass, an essential part of maintaining a robust metabolism.

Tip # 4 – Try Drinking Green Tea Daily

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking four cups of green tea each day can help you lose weight over time. Why? Because a compound called EGCG in the brew can temporarily speed up your metabolism. Try keeping a jug of iced green tea in the fridge for easy access.

Tip # 5 – Add Lentils to your Daily Diet

Why? Because one cup of lentils can pack up to 35% of your daily iron needs in addition to fiber which helps you feel full for longer periods of time.

Tip #6 – Eat Some Hot Peppers (or Hot Sauce) When You Can

Why? Because hot peppers contain a compound called capsaicin. This helps give chili peppers their kick that heats up your body, helping you burn additional calories. Try adding cayenne or hot sauce to soups, eggs, and meats for the added effect.

Alternative Therapies for Pain Associated with Peripheral Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy can occur when people with diabetes develop nerve damage. Most commonly, the peripheral nerves of the feet are affected first, causing numbness, cramps, loss of balance, extreme sensitivity and pain starting in the toes and over time progressing up the legs. Diabetic neuropathy can affect nerves in hands and arms, as well as parts of the autonomic nervous system that are responsible for regulating heart rate, blood pressure and sleep cycles. Not everyone who has diabetes will develop neuropathy. (1)

Peripheral neuropathy, also known as distal symmetric neuropathy or sensorimotor neuropathy, is the most common type of diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy affects 60-70% of diabetics. Certain risk factors increase the chances of developing diabetic neuropathy. These include age, the duration of the disease, and glucose levels in the blood. There are different factors that may lead to diabetic neuropathy. Additionally, certain neurovascular factors, autoimmune factors, mechanical injury to nerves, inherited traits that increase susceptibility to nerve disease, and lifestyle factors can increase the chances of developing diabetic neuropathy.

Preventing diabetic neuropathies is a challenge but is not impossible. Diabetic patients should keep glucose levels as close to the normal range as possible. Maintaining a normal blood glucose level can help protect nerve cells from unnecessary damage and even lesson symptoms associated with diabetic neuropathy.

There are many treatment options currently available to patients for pain relief associated with diabetic neuropathy. Two commonly used medications for pain relief associated with nerve pain are opioids and a class of medications known as anti-epileptics. Opioids were originally developed to help patients manage pain associated with cancer, but have since been incorporated in a number of pain management treatment protocols for non-cancer pain. This class of medications can be a useful for pain relief, but can also lead to addiction and other harmful side effects. Anti-epileptics like gabapentin are also commonly used to manage diabetic nerve pain. This class of medications was originally developed to treat epilepsy, but has since been approved by the FDA to treat nerve pain. Common side effects of gabapentin and other anti-epileptic medications include dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, headaches, diarrhea, fluid retention, and weight gain.(2)

Patients and providers have increasingly been looking to certain medical foods as a safe and effective alternative option to some of the more dangerous pharmaceuticals used for the management of pain and numbness associated with peripheral neuropathy. One example is Percura, a medical food that is specially formulated to provide the nervous system with the amino acids and nutrients required to effectively manage the unique nutritional needs of nerve cells. A recent open label study showed that patients with moderate to severe peripheral neuropathy showed improvement in pain after one month taking Percura. Side effects associated with Percura are mild and temporary and include, bloating and diarrhea. Percura and other medical foods may represent a valuable treatment option for patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, without the side effects associated with opioids or anti-epileptic medications.


[1] Dyck, Peter J., Feldman, Eva L., Vinik, Aaron I..  “Diabetic Neuropathies: The Nerve Damage of Diabetes”. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.  NIH Publication, February 2009. Web. November 26 2013. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/neuropathies/#what

[2]“What are the Real Risks of Antidepressants?”.  Harvard Health Publications.  Harvard Medical School, May 2005.  Web. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/What_are_the_real_risks_of_antidepressants.htm

A New Approach to Improving Neuropathic Pain

In the United States, approximately 20 million people suffer from neuropathy. The most common form of neuropathy is diabetic neuropathy with over half of diabetes patients living with this condition. Neuropathy may also be caused by poor circulation, herpes outbreaks or can be drug induced.

Neuropathic pain is the result of degeneration of the outer sheathing or myelin sheath of nerve cells. This is analogous to an electrical wire that is covered with insulation, and the insulation is beginning to breakdown. Without insulation the unprotected wire will start short-circuiting. In the same way, when the sheathing of nerve cells degenerate, the signals being transmitted start to  misfire, resulting in the body receiving signals that are interpreted as numbness, heat, cold, tingling and pain in the toes, feet legs, fingers, hands and arms.

Degradation of the myelin sheath results in unusual sensitivity of the neurons and abnormal excitability and heightened sensitivity to stimuli, also known as peripheral sensitization. The heightened sensitivity results in an increased demand and competition for nutrients involved with the pain receptors, particularly arginine, choline, GABA, glutamine, histidine, and serine.

The degradation of nerve pathways increases the turnover rate of the precursors needed for neurotransmitter function.  This results in a reduction in the level of production of neurotransmitters. The nutritional requirements for proper neurotransmitter function are such that they cannot be achieved by the modification of diet alone.

Unfortunately, current neuropathy treatment exists primarily of palliative treatment of symptoms. There are a variety of treatments available that range from pharmaceutical drugs and creams to therapies that stimulate the nervous system.  Antidepressants, especially tricyclics and selective serotonin-norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (SNRI’s), have been mainstay treatments for neuropathic pain along with antiepileptic drugs such as Lyrica and Neurontin. Opioid narcotic treatments for neuropathy are used as well but are less favored because of the risk of dependency. Most topical treatments have been largely ineffective at improving symptoms or the disease.

Treatment that addresses the distinctive nutritional needs of adults suffering from neuropathic pain rather than treating symptoms alone is a rapidly expanding field of interest for podiatric medicine.  The unique nutritional needs that arise in patients suffering from neuropathic pain cannot be satisfied through a conventional diet or through supplementation (i.e., use of a dietary supplement).

An open-label pilot study of an amino acid-based oral formulation was shown to reduce symptoms of pain and numbness related to peripheral neuropathy by supplying amino acids and other dietary factors which support induction, maintenance, and enhancement of the specific neurotransmitters involved in pain. Use of neurotransmitter precursors in a patented Targeted Cellular Technology system allows for smaller amounts of amino acids to be rapidly utilized by target cells making daily dosing more feasible and efficient.  Supplying the nutrients involved with the various pain signaling pathways in a targeted delivery system  can synchronize the availability of the precursor supply with the fluctuating demand for the corresponding neurotransmitters resulting in reduced pain, inflammation and numbness.

Neuropathic pain may not be completely preventable. Controlling blood sugar levels if you have diabetes, smoking cessation, alcohol moderation and regular exercise can help. In many cases a prescription nutrition program that addresses the increased requirements of the disease is needed for optimal clinical results and increased patient satisfaction.