As a Certified Neuropathy Pain Specialist, I take continuing education classes yearly to maintain my diplomate status. My latest class was on Lipid Mediators and Pain Signaling. It was a good review about essential fatty acids and specifically how and why we use them for our patients suffering from neuropathy. While I have given essential fatty acids to patients for decades for a wide range of conditions, I thought you might like a little more information about these very useful nutrients and how they can help you.

The Omega 3 fatty acids:alpha linoleic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA),  and docosahexaenoic acid  (DHA), are the most important ones to know in regards to pain, especially neuropathic pain. The ratios of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids determine your overall health, your overall pain status, and gives us tools for dietary and metabolic manipulation that can have profound effects on your health.

Omega 3 fatty acids come primarily from cold water fish and are also present in flax seeds, chia seeds, omega 3 eggs, and nuts. They tend to be anti-inflammatory, anti-pain.

One of the largest sources of Omega 6 fatty acids are grains. When your diet is high in omega 6 fatty acids you tend to experience more inflammation as well as more pain. Other dietary sources of omega 6 fatty acids include: poultry, avocado, nuts, cereals, durum wheat, whole-grainbreads, rapeseed or canola oil, hemp oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower seed oil, corn oil, safflower oil, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pecans, walnuts.

To a large extent, the human body does not manufacture essential fatty acids. They are dietary requirements just like vitamins. We either don’t manufacture them, or don’t manufacture them in significant amounts.

Dietary deficiency in  omega 3 fatty acids causes health problems including skin disorders, infertility, and lowered immunity also inflammation, allergies, asthma and pain will be worse.

Omega 3 fatty acids are cardiovascular and nerve cell protective.

The ratios of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids predict whether we have anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory environments in our bodies. Essential fatty acid consumption and absorption and distribution can have a profound effect on pain regulation and also can predict who experiences more pain. Patients who have low levels of omega 3 fatty acids tend to experience more significant and severe neuropathic pain. The diet high in omega 6 fatty acids can have the opposite effect.

The suggestion to consume more cold water fish and omega 3 eggs in neuropathy patients goes a long way towards helping them improve their nutritional status.

EPA is A VERY powerful anti-inflammatory. Clinically the best way to administer EPA and DHA is by supplementing with distilled marine fish oils to remove pollutants such as PCBs and heavy metals. Using liquid is easier to digest versus the pearls. You would have to take many of the pearls to get the same dose as the liquid. If you take a large dose of the pearls, you can get stomach upset or diarrhea. I have found a high concentrate fish oil that has no fishy taste. It has a mild lemony taste. And because it is so concentrated, only 2 teaspoons per day will usually give you an adequate dose to improve your health.

It is important to be aware that simple dietary changes and supplementation can have profound effects on your outcomes, and your levels of pain and inflammation.

If you have not tried our treatments yet, but are interested in what you may be able to do to help yourself nutritionally, I am now offering nutritional consults at $75 per hour. If you are interested, simply call my office to schedule your consult and we will forward the list of information you need to bring with you to the consult.  This allows me to efficiently suggest a nutritional program for you.

Yours In Health,

Dr. Ellen Blomerth

Visit our website at www.neuropathynorthshore.com to learn more about new neuropathy treatments.