Vegan Diet Can Be Effective Against Diabetic Nerve Pain, Study Says

By @hyaluronidase on
Organic Vegetables
IN PHOTO: Organic vegetables are pictured in an organic supermarket in Berlin, January 31, 2013. Picture taken January 31. Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

People with Type 2 diabetes may find relief from nerve pain with a vegan diet, a new small pilot study has discovered. Switching to plant-based diet may cut down the risk of losing a limb over to the condition, Live Science reports.

The study was published online on May 25 in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes. It was conducted by nutritionists and doctors at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, or PCRM, a not for profit organisation that give focus on ways to cut down medication intake in patients observing healthy diets.

The new study was based on previous works that suggest vegan diet can just as effective as diabetes drug treatment. The study involved 17 overweight participants that researchers have chosen.

The participants, who also suffer from diabetic neuropathy, were given a low-fat diet that consisted of high fibre and fresh vegetables for five months. They also joined weekly nutrition classes and took vitamin B12 supplement.

The subjects were then compared to a control group that consisted of 17 adults who are also on B12 supplements. However, this group observed non-vegan diet.

The results showed that participants who observed the vegan diet reported great improvements when it comes to pain relief. Lab tests also revealed that this group had an improved blood circulation and nerve function. Furthermore, the vegan group lost 14 pounds on average.

Many of the vegan participants reported to researchers that they were impressed at how rapidly weight loss has occurred, according to Cameron Wells, a PCRM registered dietician, who told Live Science."It's always so rewarding to see [our patients'] reactions, because it's indicating ‘I really am doing something that seems to be working,’” Wells said.

Diabetic neuropathies come in different types but peripheral neuropathy is the most common cause of pain or loss of sensation in the limbs, particularly the legs and feet, according to National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, or NDIC. Peripheral neuropathy is also the most common type of neuropathy seen in Type 2 diabetics that could lead to amputation.

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