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Quick Fix for Diabetic Neuropathy?

Posted Nov 27 2012 3:00am
We're all looking for that quick fix.  Manufacturers know that and inundate us daily, if not hourly, with promises of instant weight loss, age defiance & untold riches.  As I'm sure you're well aware, these miracles in a bottle do not exist, at least not for the average person.  Sure, if you're one of the very few for whom your weight gain is truly due to a grossly underactive thyroid, optimal supplementation w/levothyroxine should help you shed some unwanted weight.  Likewise, if you're that one in a hundred million who holds the winning lottery ticket, you can get rich quickly.  But for the rest of us?  Everything comes down to hard work.

But let's take a step back and look again, specifically at diabetic neuropathy, that incredibly painful & debilitating complication of poorly controlled diabetes due to high sugars' damaging effect on our nerves, giving us this numb yet tingly pain, sometime associated w/ice cold sensation, other times burning hot, still others described as electrical shock-like pain.  

Ignored long enough, this pain can lead to diabetic ulcers and can take a tremendous toll on the patient in terms of lost productivity as well as medical costs of evaluation, treatment & even hospitalization.  So it's welcome news that a case-control study was published in the September issue of the American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits in which the authors noted that regular consumption of L-methylfolate combination therapy was associated w/lower all-cause hospitalization as well as lower disease-related costs.

The authors arrived at their conclusion by comparing 814 patients w/diabetic neuropathy prescribed L-methylfolate combination vs 814 matched controls not prescribed L-methylfolate combination therapy.  Before you jump out of your chair and call your family doc or ask your local pharmacist about this medical food, know that the manufacturer sponsored the study and one of the authors worked for a research team that has a relationship with the funder.  None of this should disqualify the study, but it obviously affects your interpretation if you're especially cautious & cynical like me.  In the meantime, as we await an NIH sponsored randomized controlled trial, I think the benefit of avoiding a hospital stay overrides the risk of any potential side effect from these vitamins.
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