Vegan Diet Effective in Modulating Diabetic Neuropathy Pain

Writing in the May 26 online issue of Nutrition & Diabetes, researchers led by Neal Barnard, MD, at George Washington University School of Medicine, have published findings from a randomized controlled pilot study of dietary intervention for painful diabetic neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathies are a frequent comorbidity of type 2 diabetes, causing pain, burning, and numbness. Antiseizure medications and antidepressants help relieve nerve pain in some patients but may be accompanied by adverse effects. In this study of 35 adults with type 2 diabetes, one-half were placed on low-fat vegan diet and vitamin B12 supplements for 20 weeks with weekly support classes. The remaining half were instructed to take the B12 supplements but maintain their regular diet.

In addition to improvements in various measures of health, including weight reduction and lower blood pressure, the cohort assigned to the vegan diet recorded significantly reduced pain compared to the control group.  A test of the nerves in the foot also suggested that the vegan diet may have slowed or halted nerve function decline. The research team acknowledged that larger trials would be needed to show a vegan diet helped relieve pain related to type 2 diabetes.

To read the Pain Reporter's interview with Dr. Barnard, click here!

For more information about dietary interventions, click here.

To access a slide presentation on Nutrition and Pain, click here.

Read more about the study article above here.




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