GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 10 Mark L. Gostine, M.D.,founder of Michigan Pain Consultants, PC, one of the nation's leadingfull-service pain management practices, and Lawrence Pawl, M.D., a recognizedoncologist, today released the results of a new study revealing that the underconsumption of micro-nutrients -- essential vitamins, minerals andantioxidants -- can accelerate pain and other complications associated withdiabetic neuropathy, a peripheral nerve disorder caused by diabetes. Of the20.8 million reported diabetics in the country, an estimated 70 percent, or14.6 million, have or will develop some form of diabetic neuropathy.
"While the over consumption of macro-nutrients, such as carbohydrates andfats, is recognized as a root cause of type 2 diabetes, we set out todetermine if the under consumption of select micro-nutrients might be thecause of diabetic complications such as neuropathy," said Gostine. "What wefound is that restoring a group of five dietary vitamins and minerals was veryeffective in alleviating a number of key symptoms, including burning, numbnessand overall pain."
During the six-month long study, patients were asked to rate eightparameters using a modification of the Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scalewhere pain is rated on a scale from 1 to 10. The patients who participated inthe study reported an average rating of 6.59 for "burning pain in hands andfeet" before taking the combination of micro-nutrients and a 2.44 rating after12 weeks, a 63 percent decrease. In addition, patients reported an averagerating of 6.54 for "overall pain" before taking the combination ofmicro-nutrients and a 2.85 rating after 12 weeks, representing a 56 percentdecrease.
"Our goal with this study was to better understand how to more effectivelymanage pain and other complications associated with diabetic neuropathy,"added Gostine. "It's not just that people are eating too much bad food; it'sthat they are eating too little of high quality foods. In other words, it'snot what you eat; it's what you don't eat that hurts you."
Prevalence of Diabetes
According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC), 20.8million people in the United States have diabetes, approximately 7 percent ofthe population. There are 10.3 million people aged 60 years or older, or 20.9percent of all people in this age group, that have diabetes.
Diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death in the United States in2002. In addition, 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in peopleaged 20 years or older in 2005.
About the Study Population
Patients enrolled in the study were selected from a practice ofpodiatrists specializing in surgical and non-surgical care of the feet andankles. The nature of their practice results in a large population ofpatients suffering from complications of the diabetic foot including ulcers,infections, calluses and neuropathy.
Patients complaining of symptoms of neuropathy, despite maximal medicaltherapy, were entered in the study to investigate the use of nutritionalsupplements for controlling their pain. Thirty patients were enrolled and 28completed the study over a six-month period extending from November 2006through May 2007 with 12 men and 16 women participating. The average age was68 with a range from 48 to 94. Most patients had comorbid conditionsincluding hypertension, obesity and hyperlipidemia.
Secondary Research Critical to Study
The foundation of the study was shaped by extensive data mining of thePubMed database established by the National Institute of Health and NationalLibrary of Medicine which catalogues thousands of journals and millions ofarticles in the field of medicine. Based on this effort, five nutritionalsupplements -- N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), alpha-lipoic-acid (ALA), L-carnitine(LCA), vitamin C and selenium -- were selected and