Can Diabetes Cause Nerve Damage?

by Martin Rutherford, D.C.

Dr. Gates: Okay, today we have the question, can diabetes cause nerve damage? And the simple answer is…

Together: Yes.

Dr. Rutherford: Massively, yes.

Dr. Gates: Very much so. And so when people have diabetes, their blood sugar elevates, and then as their blood sugar elevates, it actually attracts water into the nerves, and then it can cause swelling of nerves, and ultimately can cause less blood flow to your nerves. And because the nerves in your feet are farthest from your brain and your heart typically those are the ones that are preferentially effected by diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Now, did you want to add in some of the gut components to diabetes, as it relates to…

Dr. Rutherford: You can do that, but I would also mention that the brain is a nerve. The brain is the central part…

Dr. Gates: Touché.

Dr. Rutherford: of the nerve, and some factions are starting the call Alzheimer’s “diabetes type III”, although we would argue that there are multiple contributors there. But the question is, Can this cause nerve damage? Obviously, the brain is the nerve center, so yes, it [inaudible 00:01:04] issues, absolutely.

Dr. Gates: I’m really glad you brought that up, because that’s a fantastic point that nobody talks about. And I’m not just using hyperbole here, I mean, truly. Because there are three tissues in the body that are not…

[inaudible 00:01:22]

Dr. Gates: Exactly, and most people with this diabetic neuropathy question, they’re focused on their feet, because maybe you have numbness, tingling, burning pain in your feet. Maybe your balance is being negatively affected. But just realize that same damage to your feet, as Dr. Rutherford said, is actually effecting the memory area in the brain just as much. And the memory area of the brain is so sensitive, because that’s an area in the brain where we actually grow new brain cells. There are two areas in the brain. Number one is where you smell things, it’s kinda like the smell nerves, so to speak. The other is the memory area. So we’re finding for patients who have problems remembering why they’re walking into rooms, or maybe their mom had Alzheimer’s and they’re concerned that they’re going to get Alzheimer’s. Tight control of blood sugar is incredibly important.

Dr. Rutherford: Yeah. Yeah, you’re the nerve guy, this is why we work together. Dr. Gates is a board-certified chiropractic functional neurologist, and I’m a certified functional medicine practitioner, so I defer to him on the nuances of the nervous system of the brain, always. So stop pointing to me.

Dr. Gates: Well, if you have more questions on this, we have hours of videos on diabetic peripheral neuropathy, other forms of peripheral neuropathy, small fiber neuropathy. Pretty much everything neuropathy, we have videos on. So you can go to powerhelptalk.com, go to the search tab, search “peripheral neuropathy”, those broadcasts will come up. Lots of times we have 15 to 100 references literally attached to our broadcast to demonstrate that we’re getting this information from the scientific literature. Everything we’re talking about is peer-reviewed. And so, go there, access those videos, and we appreciate you asking this question and watching this video.

Again, this is Dr. Mark Rutherford, certified functional medicine practitioner, also a chiropractor. I’m Dr. Randall Gates, board-certified chiropractic neurologist, also a chiropractor, and thanks for watching.

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