11 Ways Narcissists Use Shame to Control

A weakness of a narcissist is their extreme hatred of being embarrassed. There is nothing worse for them than having someone point out even the slightest fault. Ironically, they have no problem openly doing this to others.
This method of casting shame allows them to feel superior while minimizing any impact the other person might have. It also serves as a way of discounting any future comments the other person use to embarrass the narcissist. Basically, they are beating the other person to the first punch.

In order to avoid the first punch, a person needs to understand what it looks like. Here are eleven ways a narcissist uses shame to control others.

1)Historical Revisionism.

A narcissist will retell another person’s story adding their own flare of additional shame. This can be done in front of others or privately. It usually happens after the other person has achieved some level of accomplishment. The narcissist will state that they are only trying to the keep the other person humble but in reality, they are trying to humiliate.

2)Confidence in Breaking.

Narcissists love to gather information about a person and store it away for later abuse. They use their charm to entice a person to share confidential details, especially ones that caused the other person embarrassment. Once gathered the narcissist uses the story to keep the other person in check and constantly worried about when the information will come out.

3)Exaggerating Faults.

No one is perfect except for the narcissist. The narcissist is very good at identifying the faults of others and even better at passively aggressively commenting on them. This is a way of putting the other person ‘in their place.’ When confronted, they often say, “I was only joking,” or that person “can’t take a joke.”

4)Victim Card.

Narcissists are talented at exasperating others and then using their reaction as justification for becoming the real victim. Regardless of how hard the narcissist incited the other person, the angry reaction to the provocation is viewed as shameful. The other person who usually feels bad by their reaction, allows the narcissist to play the victim card, and thereby surrenders control to the narcissist.

5)Blame Shifting.

Whenever something goes wrong, the narcissist shifts all of the blame on the other person. The other person who may have done one thing wrong, allows the narcissist to dump more than their fair share of the responsibility.

6)Baby Talk.

In any narcissistic relationship, the narcissist wants to be seen as the adult and the other person as the child. This belittlement is done in several condescending ways such as literally talking down, calling the other person immature and saying the other person needs to grow up. The implication is that the narcissist is more mature and has developed beyond the level of the other person.

7)Religious Guilt.

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It doesn’t matter what the religion of the narcissist or the other person is. In every religion, there are a set of standards and expectations. The narcissist will use the other person’s religious beliefs to guilt them into acting a certain way. They might even go as far to say, “God told me you need to…”

8)Offensive Play.

The narcissist will use personal attacks to put the other person on the defense. The other person will get so caught up in defending their name or character that they will miss the next attack. “Look how defensive you are, you must have done something wrong,” the narcissist will say. This is a checkmate position because the other person has nowhere to go.

9)Talking Above.

Instead of talking down (baby talk), the narcissist will talk over the other person’s knowledge level. Even if the other person is more intelligent, the narcissist will talk in circles with an air of authority to force the other person into an inferior position.

They will use sophisticated vocabulary, physical posturing such as looking down at the other person, and embellishment of details to disguise the real point of shaming the other person.

10)Comparing Accomplishments.

It doesn’t matter what the other person has accomplished, the narcissist did it first, better, and more efficiently. By outperforming the other person, the narcissist minimizes the other person’s accomplishments in comparison to their own. This produces an ‘I can never be good enough,’ feeling in the other person.

11)First Impression.

A narcissist is very aware of how they look and appear to others. Frequently they are dressed in designer clothing with immaculate grooming. Not a hair is ever out of place. This is not just for the narcissist; rather their perfectionistic appearance is used to demean others. Comments like, “They don’t take care of themselves,” or “It doesn’t take a lot of effort to look better” are typical.

When a person can see a punch coming, it is easier to dodge. Resist the temptation to attack first with a narcissist that will only intensify their reaction. Instead, deflect and distract to avoid becoming a target.
Written By Christine Hammond
Originally Appeared On Psychcentral.com

Know the Cautions & Limitations of a Ketogenic Diet

Your diet plays a huge part in making you fit. As your nutritionist and your trainer will tell you, weight loss and muscle gain is 70% diet and 30% exercise and lifting the weight. So you can imagine what role diet plays in your fitness regime. It is of no wonder then that there are so many kinds of diets available for you to check. One of these diet formats that is gaining quite a popularity is the ketogenic diet. It has become so popular that most fitness trainers are recommending it to their clients. But before you jump into the craze, first take a look at the diet in-depth.

What is ketosis?

To go into the ketogenic diet, you will first have to understand the concept of ketosis. Ketosis is a state of the body where it breaks down body fat to release energy. This state is achieved by raising the level of ketones in the blood, which is ultimately used by the body as fuel. These ketones are never stored in your body; the excess ones are excreted out of your body through urine.

Now, a ketogenic diet is a diet which will let you consume any food that will promote ketosis in your body. Ketogenic diet prevents consumption of carbohydrates completely or to a maximum point, as carbohydrates block the formation of ketones. Moreover, carbohydrates also elevate insulin, which blocks the release of body fat resulting in the reduction of fatty acids which were making their way to the liver for converting into ketones.

Proteins are also prohibited to some extent in ketogenic diets. To give you an approximate idea, a ketogenic diet must contain 5% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 75% fats.

Cautions & limitations of a keto diet

While you are excited to go into a keto diet you must know what should be the bar of your diet experiment. When you are planning to make keto diet your ultimate diet then take heed of the following cautions as diet is everything that determines your good health. So take step accordingly.

If you don’t have a gallbladder

An absence of a gallbladder will pose serious problems when you go on a general keto diet. As keto concentrates on fats, if you don’t have a gallbladder, these fats will be harder to digest. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t go on a keto diet, just consume shorter chained fats like MCT or coconut, which are easier to digest and you are good to go.

A chance of kidney stones

Ketones are acidic and their presence in your urine increases a chance of uric acid and calcium oxalate stone formation. Still, there is a way. Include potassium citrate in your diet. This alkalinizes the urine and prevents any stone formation. Lemon juice is rich in potassium citrate; you can drink it with water and salt and follow a keto diet as usual.

Stunted growth in teens and children

Keto diets have shown to prevent growth in your body. As you are cutting down carbohydrate intake, insulin-like growth factor 1 is not produced and hence restricts your growth. Teens and children who are growing should not follow this diet.

These are the 7 things that terrify narcissists to their core

It’s a good question.  Are narcissists afraid of anything? You bet they are, and there are 7 things that terrify them to their core. Here they are:

1. Abandonment and rejection.

Narcissists can’t stand being rejected or abandoned.   That’s why they fly into rages and punish and threaten you if you threaten to leave them, and love bomb you if you do manage to get away.  To reject a narcissist means you are rejecting the false self they have so carefully constructed to impress you.  To reject that false self-negates their entire reason for existing, since whatever true self they may have left is completely inaccessible to them and the false self cannot survive on its own; it’s completely dependent on the approval and attention of others, who it feeds from like a vampire.  When you reject a narcissist they are forced to confront their own emptiness and nothing scares them more than that.  They will fight tooth and nail to avoid it, even if it means they have to destroy you in the process.

2. Being made fun of.

Narcissists have no sense of humor.  Nada. None. Zero. Zip.  They may laugh cruelly at you when you fall and break your arm, and they may chuckle at the discomfort of someone else (since they have almost no empathy), especially if the discomfort was caused by them (because remember, to them you are not a real person but an object),  but they are completely incapable of ever laughing at themselves.

 A few years ago on a forum, I posted on, there was a man who became enraged when someone wrote “LOL” at a joke someone else made at his expense (the joke wasn’t very offensive), and from then on he gave both of them the silent treatment.     They take themselves very, very seriously and are very, very sensitive.  But that sensitivity doesn’t extend toward anyone but themselves.   The reason they are so bothered by jokes at their expense and can’t laugh at themselves is that the self they present to the world is a false one that must be propped up and supported at all times by everyone else.   To poke fun at a narcissist is to poke fun at a self that’s as empty inside as a puppet.  It has no substance.     It will fall to pieces and then the narcissist is forced to confront that terrifying emptiness that constantly haunts them.
3. Being disrespected.

No one likes to be treated with disdain or disrespect, but the narcissist is downright phobic about it.   He or she worries about it all the time and imagines slights and personal attacks even where they don’t exist.  Again, it boils down to the false self which he or she must constantly keep propped up.  It’s your job to puff it up and inflate it constantly lest it collapses into a limp pile of flimsy rubber.    Disrespecting a narcissist is like popping a hole in their balloon-self and they feel like they are going to die.    To avoid this, a narcissist uses every defense mechanism they have in their arsenal–gaslighting, rages, silent treatment, lying, projection, denial, fabricating,  and false affection–to keep you inflating their balloon-self so they don’t have to acknowledge the horror of recognizing they have lost their real one.

4. Being ignored.

This is a no-brainer.   Ignoring a narcissist means giving them no supply at all, and without narcissistic supply, the narcissist dies a slow death.   Or believes they will.   That’s why some narcissists would even rather be hated than be ignored.  Negative attention is still attention, and at least it provides acknowledgment that they still exist.   When you ignore a narcissist, it’s as frightening to them as being killed.  They’re no longer confident they exist without your attention.

5. Exposure.

If you call out a narcissist on their abusive behavior, they will usually become very angry.  Their anger might be expressed in rage or in more covert means such as the silent treatment or gaslighting you. They don’t like to be held accountable for the things they do to others, because that means they have to admit they are less than perfect.   It also means they have to acknowledge the humanity of someone else, which they aren’t capable of doing.  Narcissists are all too aware of their imperfections, but only at the subconscious level, and the way they handle this is to project their own imperfections onto you.  So a narcissist might tell you that YOU are the narcissistic one, or that YOU are the abuser.  They’re also good at getting others to side against you, and those people become their flying monkeys.    They will accuse you of doing things that they themselves have done and everyone believes them and not you.

You start to feel like you’re living in a hellish world of smoke and mirrors, where you’re no longer sure what’s real and what isn’t.   The narcissist has, unconsciously or consciously, set up this elaborate lie as a massive defense mechanism against being exposed as imperfect and flawed just like everyone else, because being forced to acknowledge their shortcomings is to expose their vulnerabilities, and being vulnerable is incredibly terrifying to them.   They blame so they don’t have to feel shame.

6. Loss of the trappings of youth and success. 

As narcissists age, they often grow even more abusive (a very few may improve–but they probably weren’t high spectrum, to begin with). That’s because aging means a loss of looks, career, health, possibly even a spouse (who provides a narcissist with supply), and in some cases even financial solvency. All these things are proof to a narcissist that they still have value and are still admired and respected.

Somatic narcissists, who are most concerned with their health or physical appearance, have never developed other aspects of themselves that could be fallen back on when those things begin to go; that’s because the false self is a flimsy one-dimensional construct and is incapable of love, true attachment, friendship, and other things that the rest of us can fall back on when we’re old and not in such great physical shape or health anymore.   If someone has spent their entire lives only concerned with their appearance, once that goes, what’s left?

Cerebral narcissists, who are concerned with their intellectual ability or business acumen, may be able to hang onto those assets a bit longer, but eventually, their minds may begin to become less sharp or they may be forced to retire or reduce their hours working.  Having to retire is a huge blow to a narcissist whose entire identity is tied up in his or her career and earning ability.  What is left?

In both cases, a narcissist experiences an almost total loss of supply and to avoid the ensuing depression, they lash out and attack others like angry dogs.  That’s why old narcissists are so often cranky and mean.   They’re also terrified of death, the last thing on the list that terrifies them.

7. Death.

Every narcissist I’ve ever known lives in mortal terror of death.   That’s because death is the ultimate loss of narcissistic supply.  Death means complete annihilation of the ego and there’s nothing more horrifying to a narcissist than that because their ego is all they are.   Personally, I think some also fear hell.  They know on some deep level how badly they’ve treated and exploited others and think they might be held accountable for it in the afterlife.   I’ve seen a lot of narcissists who suddenly become extremely religious in their old age.  I think that’s because they think by being religious, they may be able to ward off any accountability after they die.

A Look Inside Life With One Of The Most Debilitating, Painful Diseases In The World

One of the most painful diseases in the world is also one of the most mysterious. There is currently no cure and it is exceptionally rare, so the doctor’s still don’t really know why it happens to some people. What is known about the disease, which is called Trigeminal Neuralgia, is that it affects only about 12 people out of every 100,000. It is a disease that causes such severe facial pain that it has been compared to the feeling of being struck by lightning and being stabbed in the face repeatedly. Neurobiologists are doing their best to find out more about the disease, but we’ll tell you what we know so far.

The disease. Trigeminal Neuralgia is a chronic pain disorder that is classified as one of the most painful diseases in the world. It’s a neurological disorder that affects the muscles in your face and causes extremely intense pain on a regular basis. Simple acts like brushing your teeth or applying makeup can put you in agony.
What it is exactly. To get an understanding of the disorder, you have to understand the basic layout of the facial nerves and muscles. In your head, there are 12 pairs of cranial nerves. Some of these nerve pairs are called trigeminal nerves, and they branch off into three different subsets.

Exploring the nerve branches. The three nerve branches include the ophthalmic branch, the maxillary branch, and the mandibular branch. The first control your eye, upper eyelids, and your forehead. The second controls affect your lower eyelids, cheeks, nostrils, upper lip, and upper gum. Lastly, the mandibular branch controls the jaw, lower lip, lower gum, and some muscles used for chewing.

What it feels like. Basically, what this little anatomy lesson means is that the pain disorder can affect your entire face, from your jaw to your forehead. People with the disease have described the feeling like that of being struck by lightning, hit with intense electric shocks, being carved up with a knife, or experiencing a severe burn

Worse than childbirth. Those women who have experienced both childbirth and Trigeminal Neuralgia agree that the pain resulting from this disease is far worse. What makes it so bad is not just how painful it is when it happens, but the fact that it is chronic. With childbirth, once it’s over it’s over. With this disease, the episodes of intense pain are always coming and going your whole life.

Who it affects. Doctors note that Trigeminal Neuralgia primarily affects people over the age of 50. And, of course, women are more likely to get the disease than men. That’s the way the world works, isn’t it?

There are young people with the disease. While the disease primarily affects those over 50, this does not exclude young people from getting the disease. There are a handful of 20-somethings with Trigeminal Neuralgia as well. These cases are often worse because they realize they have to go on living the entirety of their life with this chronic, intense pain. If you’re 50 or 60 when you get it, the grim upside is that you have fewer years of pain left.

How it affects your social life. Those with Trigeminal Neuralgia often also have anxiety because they are constantly worried about their next pain attack. Because of this, it limits their ability to not only enjoy their lives but to go out and socialize.

Depression. Understandably, depression is also common amongst those with the disease. With no current cure available and poor treatment options, living with Trigeminal Neuralgia can be devastating. Going through life for the average person is hard enough. Going through life in constant pain with no real relief in sight is miserable.

Suicide. This disease has earned itself the extremely morbid nickname of “The Suicide Disease.” Severe depression can result in suicide if not properly monitored. What’s more is that people living with Trigeminal Neuralgia tend to be taking loads of drugs just to manage the pain and often OD. Whether the OD’s are mostly purposeful or accidental remains unclear.

Pain management. Obviously, if you’re in constant and severe pain, you’re going to have to find a way to keep it somewhat manageable. Your doctor can prescribe anticonvulsants to help keep the nerves from reacting to irritation. Muscle relaxants are also typically prescribed to people with this disease.

How it’s treated. It is important to note that typical pain medications don’t work for people with Trigeminal Neuralgia. Instead, doctors often end up prescribing something called a tricyclic antidepressant to help you manage your symptoms. Basically, you’ll be keeping a pharmacy in your house.

Drugs and overdose. While drugs can help manage your symptoms for a while, it often ends up being ineffective in the long run. You build up a resistance and constantly require a higher dosage for the drugs to work. This often has awful side effects on various organs in your body, including your brain.

Surgery. For this reason, most people with the disease end up having surgery at some point. Surgery options include moving or removing blood vessels that are affecting the nerve, using radiation on your trigeminal nerve, or destroying nerve fibers. Unfortunately, though, the success rate of this procedure isn’t very high. While subjects remain pain-free for several months to a year, the pain often returns.

There is currently no cure. As we said, there is currently no cure for Trigeminal Neuralgia. However, the TNA Facial Pain Association is attempting to find a cure by 2020. It’s an ambitious goal, but they’ve got their best researchers on the case. They think that if they can find a way to fix the nerve, they can cure the pain that comes from it.

Inside The Race for a Celiac Disease Treatment

If Leslie Morrison had a wish list, it would be for a treatment to heal or at least relieve symptoms of celiac disease other than just following a gluten-free diet, which she does to the best of her ability.

“If I get glutened, it takes three to five days of terrible pain and brutal fatigue to recover – somewhat,” says the TV news researcher and mom of two teens. “It takes so long to get my system back under control. I’ve yet to find anything that provides relief. It’s like the drug companies are unaware of a whole untapped market out here.”

For Morrison and for a majority of those with celiac disease for whom adhering to a gluten-free diet is not enough, there is good news: the scientific community is aware of this issue and help is coming. The question is how soon.

“It’s not going to be tomorrow or even next year,” cautions Dr. Joseph Murray, a gastroenterologist and celiac expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “But I hope we’ll see a different, expanded treatment landscape about five years down the road. It won’t be a flood of treatments but there should at least one, maybe two, that are aimed at making life easier for people with celiac disease.”

Currently, a gluten-free diet is the only treatment for the condition that is thought to affect one in every 100 people. Those with the disease cannot tolerate this protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye products. In fact, to prevent gluten from crossing the gut barrier, their immune systems will mount an attack that damages the villi, finger-like projections in the wall of the small intestine that act as guardians of the gate.

Unfortunately, this means that other key nutrients don’t get absorbed either. This leads to a diverse array of seemingly unrelated symptoms, such as anemia, bloat and brain fog, which make the condition difficult to diagnose without a blood test, which looks for specific celiac markers, and an intestinal biopsy.

Although there has been an explosion in recent years of gluten-free food choices, adhering to the diet is not easy at the best of times. Murray notes that to avoid gluten altogether, you’d have to make the sacrifice of never going out. “It would be a life of social isolation and restrictions,” he says.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have revealed that up to 70 percent of celiac patients who follow a gluten-free diet still suffer symptoms from low levels of contamination and may have intestinal damage that will not heal, no matter how careful they are.

Another problem, Murray says, is that if you assiduously avoid gluten, you miss out on a lot of antioxidants and may be at risk for other health issues. “All this is to emphasize that to maintain optimal health and avoid discomfort and pain, it’s not enough to just follow a gluten-free diet. There have to be more treatments available. People need hope – and help.”

What kind of help might it be? It could be a pill that binds gluten before it is absorbed into your system, or one that breaks it down with the help of enzymes. It may be a drug that manages to interrupt both the immediate and delayed effects of gluten in your system, or one that targets the enzyme that modifies the gluten molecule in order to minimize its effect on the immune system in the first place.

Or it might even be what Murray and other top celiac experts, including Dr. Alessio Fasano, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, call the Holy Grail: a cure.

It could come in the form of improved screening and DNA mapping to identify who is at risk, then bombarding them with microorganisms that teach the body to tolerate gluten before it can do harm or, much more likely, a vaccine that would get rid of the need for a gluten-free diet in the first place.

Fasano is heading a big international study that’s following 500 infants, who are at risk of developing celiac disease, from birth to the age of 5. The study team is monitoring thousands of factors to determine which elements, or combinations of elements, lead to the development of the condition. The factors include genetic risk, antibiotic exposure, mode of birth delivery, breast or bottle feeding, vaccination schedule, family medical history and more.

“Our goal is to develop a strategy to stop celiac disease from occurring at all,” says Fasano. “It’s an almost impossible mission, but it’s the future of medicine.”

Inside the Pipeline

Until the future arrives, some of the more promising treatments being tested right now include:

Larazotide Acetate: This oral peptide drug, being developed by Innovate Biopharmaceuticals Inc., is designed to make the gut less permeable, or ‘leaky,’ in celiac lingo. The idea is to keep the gut’s “tight junctions” in a normal state so that if gluten is accidentally consumed, it doesn’t cross the intestinal barrier and trigger an immune response. The drug is expected to begin Phase 3 clinical trials in 2018 and has received a fast-track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In studies conducted so far with 800 celiac patients, the drug has reduced clinical symptoms of the disease.

“The idea is to give one set of patients a pill before meals and follow them for 12 weeks to see how they do compared to another set of patients taking a placebo,” said Murray. “It appears that a lower dose works while higher doses did not.”

The upshot? If it is proven to work and is approved for sale, you should be able to eat out with far less worry about accidental glutening, though celiac patients still must follow a gluten-free diet. Remember, says Murray, “that it’s not a passport to eating gluten with impunity.” He notes that some gluten will still get through, since it’s sneaky.

Saliva Rothia: Researchers at the Henry M. Golden School of Dental Medicine were looking at how proteins in general break down in saliva when they discovered an enzyme in a bacterium called Rothia that pulverized gluten as if it were Pac Man. That happy accident has led to a new stream of study that has moved beyond petri dishes to study the effect of the so-called ‘subtilisin,’ or protein-ingesting enzyme on the tiny digestive systems of mice. In so doing, they have found another bacterium, B. subtilis, which produces an enzyme similar to the Rothia one and is already safely consumed in Japan in a fermented soybean dish called ‘natto.’

“In terms of getting future FDA approval for the enzymes, it’s a benefit if one is already considered food grade,” said one of the lead researchers, Dr. Eva Helmerhorst.

Recently, the research has proven that modified subtilisin enzymes actually cleave and detoxify gluten in mice. “These promising results pave the road for the application for the application of these food-grade enzymes in clinical settings and to offer a novel enzyme digestive therapeutic solution for celiac patients,” says Helmerhorst.

Latiglutenase: There were high hopes that this combination of enzymes would break down gluten and encourage the healing of damage in the mucosal lining of the small intestine. But the results of an initial Phase 2 clinical trial by the now-defunct Alvine Pharmaceuticals Inc. surprised everyone. It turned out that even patients given a placebo improved.

Scientists at ImmunogenX, a California-based biopharmaceutical that purchased and is developing the drug, remain optimistic. They have re-analyzed the data and discovered that latiglutenase may help to relieve the symptoms of celiac patients who are following a gluten-free diet but still experience discomfort and pain. “A lot of work has gone into figuring out what went wrong with the earlier trial and we know how to avoid a placebo effect,” said Jennifer Sealey-Voyksner, ImmunogenX’s chief science officer.

In late 2017, the company received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for a two-year blinded study of latiglutenase. “We’re going to accentuate how latiglutenase can reduce symptoms,” Sealey-Voyksner said. “At this point, it’s the best way to get the therapy to market.”

BL-7010: BioLineRX, a drug development company based in Israel, has the rights to a non-absorbable polymer that is supposed to bind gluten in the gut, preventing the formation of peptides that set off an autoimmune response. Attempts to reach the company were not successful, but a company news release states that the drug polymer sequesters gliadins – the protein particles in gluten that cause an immune reaction. The drug is excreted with the protein from the digestive tract, thus it does not get absorbed into the blood. It has made it through a second phase of testing.

TIMP-Gliadin: Two companies – Takeda Pharmaceuticals International and the Cour Pharmaceutical Development Co. – have joined forces to develop this compound, which is composed of the protein particle and Toleragenic Immune Modifying nanoParticles. Takeda spokesperson Kelly Schlemm says it’s too early to talk public about current trial results or when more definite results can be expected. But one of the rock stars of the celiac world, Dr. Daniel Leffler of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, has joined Takeda’s U.S. division as the medical director of clinical science gastroenterology. He was reluctant to comment about the research, too. Stay tuned.

Nexvax2: This vaccine is one of the most exciting developments in treating celiac disease. Allergic Living magazine has followed this since it was the kernel of an idea in an Australian laboratory in 2003. Now, it’s about to enter a Phase 2 trial run by ImmusanT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The principle behind the vaccine is similar to that of allergy shots, in which patients would develop gluten tolerance through a series of injections. The company has completed four Phase I studies that have looked at safety, tolerability and dosing.

“We’re going slow to go fast,” said ImmusanT CEO Leslie Williams. “There are so many aspects to this clinical program and to understanding the disease. We have been methodical in nailing down the dose and the regimen and the biomarkers, in order to understand what’s happening physiologically and immunologically with the patients.” The next phase is working on the durability of the patient’s response to the vaccine, with the end goal of getting rid of the need for a gluten-free diet in the first place. The company has received $40 million in funding for further research.

Egg Yolk Therapy: The theory is that antibodies in the yolks of chicken eggs neutralize gluten, thus allowing people with celiac disease to include a bit of the protein in their diet without having to worry or suffer symptoms. Hoon Sunwoo, an associate professor in the pharmaceutical sciences department at the University of Alberta, Canada, says that, if successful, the therapy would be an adjunct to the gluten-free diet rather than a potential cure. It would allow people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to allow a limited amount of the protein into their diet. “The product intercepts gluten before it can act on the sensitive part of the gut in people with celiac disease,” Sunwoo tells Allergic Living.

The Road Ahead

Understandably, drug development companies are reluctant to give timelines because of what Murray, of the Mayo Clinic, calls the vagaries of research and the need to find funding for each phase. Back in 2011, for example, Leslie Williams bravely estimated to this writer that the Nexvax2 vaccine would be on the market in 2017. Obviously, that is no longer the case.

“Drug development is complex,” she says ruefully. “At the end of the day, we want to present a thoughtful, sound clinical program. There are no shortcuts.”

For Alice Bast, the CEO of Beyond Celiac, the Pennsylvania-based not-for-profit that brings patients and experts together to increase awareness of the condition and advance research, no one drug trumps the other. “We want all of the current drugs in the pipeline to be successful so that our community has options,” she said. “One size doesn’t fit everyone. Some people might not like the way in which a particular drug works.”

While optimistic there will be research success, and soon, for Bast it is still too early to know which option is most promising, and she notes that any one of these drugs could get stopped in its tracks in the course of clinical trials. “All we know is that the gluten-free diet is not enough, she says. “And, that our disease needs to be taken seriously.”

Lupus: Things to Avoid

If you have lupus or  a condition that predisposes you to lupus, such as undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD), there are certain foods and medications that you should avoid. The substances listed below have shown to induce lupus signs and flares and should be avoided by people with lupus or autoimmune diseases suggesting “pre-lupus.”

(1)    Sunlight

People with lupus should avoid the sun, since sunlight can cause rashes and flares. Some people are more sensitive to sunlight than others, but all people with lupus are advised to be cautious when they are outside. Of course, it would be impractical to completely avoid going outdoors, but try to be prepared. Carry a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 70 and be sure that your sunscreen contains Helioplex, an ingredient that blocks UV-A and UV-B rays, both of which are harmful to people with lupus. Apply sunscreen to all areas of the body, even those covered by your clothes, since most normal clothing items only protect your skin to the level of SPF 5. In addition, carry a hat with you when you know you will be outside. Certain sportswear manufacturers now make hats with SPF built into the material, which may be helpful for people with greater photosensitivity.

(2)    Bactrim and Septra (sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim)

Bactrim and Septra are antibiotics that contain sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim. They are grouped as “sulfa” antibiotics because they contain a substance called sulfonamide. Bactrim and Septra are often prescribed for bacterial infections, especially urinary tract infections. They are also sometimes given prophylactically (i.e., to prevent infection), especially in people taking immunosuppressive medications. However, it is very important that you avoid Bactrim and Septra, because these antibiotics are known to cause an increase in sun sensitivity and lower blood counts in people with lupus, resulting in lupus flares. Several medications can be used instead of Bactim or Septra for the prevention and treatment of infection; perhaps the most frequently used substitute is Dapsone (diaminodiphenyl sulfone) to prevent Pneumocystis pneumonia.

(3)    Garlic

Scientists believe that three substances in garlic—allicin, ajoene, and thiosulfinates—rev-up your immune system by enhancing the activity of white blood cells, particularly macrophages and lymphocytes. Scientists also believe that the sulfur components of garlic help to prevent and suppress cancer in the body. For this reason, garlic is often used as a supplement to combat colds and infections. Unfortunately, the enhancement of immune response is counterproductive in people with autoimmune disease such as lupus, because their immune system is already overactive. As a result, people with lupus and lupus-like signs should avoid cooking with garlic and adding it to food. Of course, a tiny amount of the herb will not harm you, but try to consciously avoid purchasing and preparing foods with garlic.

(4)    Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts contain an amino acid called L-canavanine that can increase inflammation in people with lupus by stimulating the immune system. As a result, people with lupus and similar autoimmune conditions should avoid alfalfa sprouts completely.

(5)    Melatonin and Rozerem (ramelteon)

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in your brain that regulates other hormones in the body that control how your body reacts to daily patterns of light and dark. Melatonin release is suppressed during the light hours of the day and stimulated by dark, helping you stick to patterns of nighttime sleep and daytime wakefulness. As a result, melatonin is often used as a sleep aid over other medications. Melatonin and melatonin-containing supplements should be avoided in people with lupus and other autoimmune disorders because they may stimulate the immune system. In addition, people with these conditions should also avoid the prescription sleep aid Rozerem (ramelteon), because it mimics melatonin in the body. It is important that you understand the necessity of avoiding both melatonin and Rozerem, since sleep aids are often used to help people with fibromylagia and other conditions to attain normal sleep patterns. In general, be sure that you speak with your physician before taking any new medications or supplements.

(6)    Echinacea

Echinacea is often used as a dietary supplement to boost the immune system against colds and other illnesses. However, because Echinacea boosts your immune system, it may cause flares in people with autoimmune diseases such as lupus. In fact, Echinacea supplements sold in Europe bear warning labels that advise against use by people with autoimmune diseases. As a result, people with lupus and other autoimmune diseases should avoid these supplements. In general, it is important that you speak with your physician before taking any new medications or supplements.

The Sad Reality About Remission with Lupus

Though there is no cure for lupus, the word “remission” tends to bring a lot of hope and comfort to those around me. While remission is the goal I have been hoping to achieve for the past year-and-a-half, I have to admit that its prospect doesn’t bring me as much relief as it once did.

Every time I see my nephrologist, part of me is dying to hear him tell me that things are looking better. Positive test results mean that slowly, but surely, we’re quelling my lupus into remission. Remission is the ultimate and only goal I can hope for, and while I’ll undoubtedly be overjoyed the day I reach it, I have to think about the reality of it all.

The reality is that although remission is the very best outcome for someone with lupus, it’s not nearly the same thing as a cure. Remission essentially means dormant. And while it’s a heck of a lot better to have your lupus be in a dormant state than in an active one, forgive me if I don’t breathe a sigh of relief.

I used to believe that reaching remission would mean that I finally would feel safe. I used to think that getting there would mean finally getting back the peace that was taken from me when I was informed my body was essentially destroying itself. However, after losing a friend to leukemia earlier this year, not long after she had gone into remission, I was forced to realize that remission is only temporary, at best.

The sad reality is that remission is not forever. Just like dormant volcanoes have the potential to erupt at any moment, my lupus has the potential to flare or become active once again. And nothing about that can bring me relief. I know this view of remission is incredibly cynical, if not entirely depressing, but it’s also the undeniable truth.

If I’m lucky, I’ll reach remission in the next 12 months. And while it may bring some peace for a short time, I can’t ever let down my guard. I have to believe that when I least expect it, lupus will come back to haunt me. I have to hope that eating right, keeping myself physically fit and healthy, and keeping an eye out for all the telltale signs, is enough to keep lupus at bay.

But the thing is, I know it won’t be.

The fact that it’s a part of me means there will never be a time when I’m truly safe from it. I’ll spend my entire life fighting for control of my own body, hoping I can hold off lupus for just that little longer.

Being in remission with lupus will be like slowly winding up a jack-in-the-box. It doesn’t matter how slowly I go or how ready I think I am for it, as time goes on, eventually — and no one knows for sure when – it’s going to jump out and surprise me.

TIP SHEET: NEUROPATHIC FACE PAIN AND TRIGEMINAL NEURALGIA

All tips are in the patient’s own words. These tips are anecdotal only and are not endorsed by FPA. They are intended for information purposes only, to supplement a visitor’s general knowledge. It is not intended to replace or in any way supplement or qualify the services of a qualified medical professional and/or other appropriate healthcare professional or their advice.

Acyclovir

I have both classical TN as well as the continual toothache pain of atypical TN. Acyclovir took care of the typical pain in that it reduced the length of time the attack lasted from 30 days to 7 days and also reduced the pain level from 10 to 4 during the 7-day event. The atypical TN pain is a nuisance and can be handled by narcotics if necessary. Mostly, I just deal with it.

It’s not for everyone but perhaps it will be a solution for a few. This disease has always felt like a herpes attack on an internal nerve. I get hints of what is to come, mild attacks that ramp up over time, peak and then recede.

Air conditioning

My atypical flares from the air conditioning at work. I have discovered a mix of Abesol (the store brand) mixed in with Lansinoh Diaper Rash ointment (found at Target) give me a little bit of numbness with something that blocks the air somewhat from my trigger points. The Lansinoh has the highest content of Lanolin (15.5%) and Zinc Oxide (5.5%) of any ointment or cream I have found. I first apply a light mix of it with the abesol, then apply a heavy coat of just the Lansinoh on top. The zinc oxide rubs in clear, however, it does show some with the heavy coat, so what if it works! Doesn’t work 100% but it definitely helps take the edge off.

B Complex of Vitamins

I am a nutritional medicine student who is working with a woman with trigeminal neuralgia – she has had an operation which has stopped the pain of this condition. However, she has other health problems including obesity, high blood pressure, and blood sugar imbalance. For this case study, I would like to recommend a supplement which contains the B complex of vitamins (B6 is in the form of pyridoxine-5-phosphate 25mg). The B vitamin contains B3 (25mg), B1 (15mg) B2 (15mg) and B5 (50mg).

I was in remission for several years and found one thing that was a definite trigger to my TN,  Vitamin B12 pills at a higher dose.

I have B12 deficiency and have to take Methylcobalamin to keep the levels at a good level. (I can’t take injectible cyanocobalamin because I’m allergic to something in the solution).

I found out that when I take more than 3 tabs, it fires up my TN with a vengeance, so I generally take just 2 tabs. The good news is that the tremors stopped completely and my memory is much better than it was. I always tell people that if they are having those kinds of problems to get their levels checked. It’s made a huge difference.

I even did my own tests to see if it was the B12 that was triggering it, and it started doing the “firing” of the nerve every time I increased it that same day, so I”m very careful not to go over that.

Bean bag

I just wanted to give you some information about my TN problem. I have discovered that if I heat a bean bag up as hot as I can stand it or hotter, and place it on the pain (mine is on my right side kind of in the ear) and sit down for about 10 minutes with the bean bag on the pain area…..IT GOES AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think it has something to do with the heat. It relaxes the nerve and it goes away. NO MORE PILLS FOR ME!!!! I have tried pills, rest, crying works sometimes, too. But the heat works for me. Hope this information helps somebody. No more doctor visits either, which at one time I was told I was very difficult to treat and another pill was given. NO MORE PILLS FOR ME. YEAH. NO MORE DR APPTS. I have had this pain for 20 years and it took at least 10 years for someone to finally figure it out. It took a real good friend to help with the pain by saying try this, try this, try this………HEAT WORKS. Just wanted to pass this info to you.

Blue Star Ointment

About the same time I started applying Blue Star ointment to the side of my face and forehead each night before I went to bed, I think this also may be part of the reason for my relief; I don’t know for sure but I am continuing with both remedies.

Brand name Trileptal

My medication (trileptal ) became generic several months ago. At first, I was delighted as I felt it would be a great savings. Now I am back on the Brand name because on the generic I began to feel a great deal of sensitivity and was quite uncomfortable.I spoke to several friends who had problems with generics. I began to think that maybe my problem was a result of generic and apparently I was right for as soon as I went back on the brand name, my sensitivity is minimal. For anyone who is on a generic and may be experiencing problems, please consider going back to the Brand name.

Cervical Collar

I now put on my cervical collar (purchased at local pharmacy), place a hot (microwaved) bean bag on my scalp, and presto – gone in under an hour!

Collagen and Co-Enzyme 10

My pain intensity and frequency has lessened since I have been taking Collagen and Co-enzyme 10 in capsule form.

Disney

Well, Space Mountain seems to be 2 for 2. I was progressively getting worse last week, to the point that I saw a dentist and my doctor to absolutely rule out any teeth/sinus issues. They both ruled out ‘standard ailments’. So we headed to Disneyland on Friday night … since I went on Space Mountain again on Saturday, after the first 1/2 hour after the ride, I have not had the symptoms reoccur. I honestly believe the jarring of ride and not being able to see where you are going to prepare yourself for the turn creates a situation where your neck ‘snaps’ more effectively. If you would like to follow-up with me, please feel free.

FYI – My trigem seems to be ‘unofficially’ triggered by hard core exercise. Both instances when I have had it has come after working with a personal trainer and ‘pushing’ myself to my physical limits. I had just starting working towards a run/walk for a 5K …

Anyway, I hope that someone else will be able to benefit from the ‘Disney remission’ … It is a whole lot more fun the drugs and surgery!

Ear plug

I have been a TN patient for at least 10 years. Recently attacks seemed to occur more frequently. One of these occurred while I was on a tour bus overseas. One of the passengers suggested that I use an ear plug that she had received on the plane to stop any vibrations in my ear. I have since used an ear plug when I am in a car, at a concert, or on other occasions where there are loud sounds or other kinds of vibration. It works like a charm. I would just like to share this simple solution in the event that it may help others.

Effexor XR

FYI – I discovered by accident that effexor xr 150 mg was controlling my tn. Last summer I stopped the med in a desire to be drug free and had pain returning after 2 weeks. After months of tegretol, lyrica, and other anti-anxiety meds I went back on effexor 75 mg and have regained control. My brother who had his nerve cut and capped twice, but after time the nerves regrew has recently started effexor and is finding it getting control of his pain. Hope this helps someone.

Elasto-gel Cranial Cap

I use an elasto-gel cranial cap for relief of pain from occipital neuralgia. It is good because my pain starts on the top of my pain and radiates down the back of my head where the occipital nerves are. It sits on the back part of the trigeminal nerve.

Other uses include for pain in your temple(s). If you get headaches, migraines, the cap is wonderful! It also reaches the neck.

It is a good idea to purchase 2 or 3. It takes a while to get cold enough (about 2 hrs.) So if you have another one, you can swap. I also have one at my parents’ house.

Elderberry Syrup

I had TN for 7 years. You all know the story, so I don’t need to describe what it’s like, but it was bad.

A friend found a remedy in a 60’s era herbal book; another friend gave me the ingredients, and I made it up. However, you can also order elderberry syrup.

It is elderberry syrup mixed with a preservative such as brandy. I made the elderberry syrup myself like this: take a gallon of elderberries, clean and take the berries off the stems, rinse in water. Put into a pot with enough water to cover the elderberries and maybe another 3-4 inches in depth of water. Boil for an hour or so. Mash the elderberries with a potato masher to get all the juice out of them. Pour first through a sieve and then through cheesecloth to get all the solid particles out. Sweeten with corn syrup to taste (it doesn’t taste very good without being sweetened). Add the alcohol. Probably anything from 10-25% alcohol will do. I use a decent brandy. Pour into a wine bottle that you have thoroughly cleaned and rinsed with boiling water. Cork or cap. It will keep in your pantry for a long time.

To start, take a fairly small amount (remember, this is medicine)– three times a day with each meal. I take about the equivalent of a shot glass or 1/4 cup.

You can get elderberry syrup from iHerb.com or a place called Wyldwood Farms in, I think, Kansas. Both will send it to you. Mix it with the brandy and rebottle. The alcohol intensifies and quickens the healing effect. I have speculated that this works because of elderberries’ antioxidant content, but there must also be some anti-inflammatory effect as well. It has worked for me and my cousin’s wife.

Fish oil

I just wanted to let you know that I have had terrible pain for the last month. New pain started also around my eye under and above. I started taking fish oil in the syrup form, coq10 100 mg. I started on Tuesday of this week and in the middle of the night on Thursday I could blink without any pain. I still have some small face pain but the eye was the worst!

I was taking 3 400mg tablets per day of Tegretol when I read about someone who was getting good results taking Omega 3 Fish Oil. I started taking 1200 mg of Fish Oil every time I took a Tegretol and soon found I could reduce Tegretol to 2 tablets per day and continued to reduce until now I have been four months without medication.

Inflamation Nation

I read the book INFLAMATION NATION by Dr. Floyd Chilton. Bottom line, if you take EPA/DHA with GLA (all fatty acids) you can block the prostaglandins and luekotrienes that carry the pain messages to the brain. Has helped me at least 50%. Folks might want to read the book-available at B&N. It also tells you which foods trigger pain(foods high in AA, archidonic acid) & to avoid them completely. 60 recipies in back of book.

Myelin Sheath Support

I had Trigeminal Neuralgia and tried gamma knife (ok for 3 years), then MVD (ok for 3 years), then it started coming back. I discovered “Myelin Sheath Support” from Planetary herbals on the Internet, felt some relief after 6 weeks, total relief after 3 months, and have not had a problem since. I take 2 pills on an empty stomach in the a.m. and again in the p.m. I have made no other changes at all. Please let your patients know about this and give it a try. It really works (and I had tried EVERYTHING ELSE before I found this)!

Noxzema

Noxzema soothes and eliminates tingling nerve sensations.

Peppermint Candies

I was taking a few drugs that dry the mouth. I started taking peppermint candies to keep my mouth fresh. Read an article that said: “years ago when people fainted oil of peppermint was used to revive them, it made the ganglion nerve more active.” I realized the candy was probably irritating the nerve and made my pain worse.

Steam

I and my brother both suffer from this problem and we have found a way to deal with it without using drugs although my brother at times uses Tegretol tablets for pain relief. I wanted to tell the members of your association about the drug-free treatment we use:

Bring water to boil in a kettle (a small one would do) with a spout. Slowly bring the nostril of headache-side to it and inhale the steam carefully. When it is done very slowly, there is no problem of burning. Sit on a stool or chair and continue this for about 20 minutes or a little longer until the pain vanishes quite suddenly. It is more effective when steam is carefully and slowly inhaled through only one (left for me) nostril by closing the other nostril with the tip of a finger. While doing this, blow the nose several times to remove any phlegm that may have got loosened. Applying a small amount of a balm such as “vicks” at the tip of the nostril may help as well but not essential.

Practice Healthy Habits

Get adequate rest, eat a healthy diet and engage in regular exercise. (Ask your doctor which exercises are safe for you.) Relaxation techniques like meditation, visualization, hypnosis, and biofeedback may also help you feel better.

Care for your Emotional Health

People in chronic pain have been found to have an increased incidence of depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances. Your physician may want to prescribe medication or may suggest cognitive behavioral therapy (like relaxation techniques and psychological therapy). It may also help to share your thoughts and feelings with loved ones and to join a support group. (TNA has support groups throughout the country and across the world).

Know Your Treatment Options

There are many options for treating your pain beyond prescription and over-the-counter medicine. Complementary and alternative therapies include biofeedback, meditation, relaxation techniques, yoga, acupuncture and physical therapy. There are also interventional treatments for specific types of pain (like electrical stimulation and injections). Ask your doctor which is best for you.

8 natural solutions for joint comfort

Millions of people suffer from sore and inflamed joints, caused by hundreds of different conditions. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout are among the most common. They’re frustrating conditions, made even more so because effective, safe pain relief is so hard to find.

The most popular prescribed medicines for arthritis are anti-inflammatory drugs, but many find the side effects unbearable. Then there are the safety worries. Two of the most widely prescribed arthritis drugs, Vioxx and Bextra, were withdrawn in 2004 and 2005 because of concerns about increased risk of heart attack and stroke in patients. A similar drug, Celebrex, is still prescribed, although studies have shown similar risks.

More and more people are seeking safer, more natural treatments – and this doesn’t mean relying on folk medicine or old wive’s tales. Many natural remedies for joint pain have been studied and shown to be effective, and there are now dozens of natural arthritis supplements available.

The following 8 supplements are some of the best: studies show they ease pain and inflammation, and some even prevent further damage. Here’s what you need to know.

The 8 best natural ways to relieve joint pain

Turmeric

This spicy pantry staple has a long history of use in medicine as well as in the kitchen. Traditional Ayurvedic medicine has used turmeric to treat inflammation for centuries in India;  while modern research is building evidence to show that this ancient remedy really works. Animal studies have shown that turmeric can reduce joint inflammation, possibly by inhibiting the production of our bodies’ inflammatory chemicals, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes. Many experts now agree that turmeric can reduce joint pain and inflammation.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol, a compound found naturally in red grape skins and Japanese knotweed is being investigated as another potential treatment for joint pain and inflammation. Researchers have discovered that injections of resveratrol helped reduce joint inflammation and slow down cartilage damage in animals. It’s thought that a resveratrol supplement could replicate the same anti-inflammatory effect, and research is ongoing and promising.

Fish oil

Research by Joseph Maroon MD, author of The Longevity Factor, shows that fish oil supplements could have similar anti-inflammatory properties to resveratrol. Both fish oil and resveratrol block the same ‘nuclear factor kappa B transcription factors’ that cause inflammation. He recommends that his patients take a combination of resveratrol and high-grade fish oil supplements to relieve painful, swollen joints.

Glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin

Of all the natural treatments for joint pain, glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin are backed by the largest body of evidence. Studies have shown that these two supplements relieve joint pain and inflammation, and can even prevent the progression of osteoarthritis. Glucosamine protects and helps produce cartilage, while chondroitin helps slow cartilage breakdown. Although they work separately, their benefits are known to be greater when taken together.

SAM-e

SAM-e stands for S-adenosylmethionine. It doesn’t sound too natural, but it’s a molecule found in almost every tissue and fluid in our bodies. It is well known as a natural treatment for depression (suffered by many people living with severe joint pain), and many studies and clinical trials have also shown that SAM-e relieves moderate osteoarthritis pain. Taking a SAM-e supplement delivers sulfur to your cartilage, where it helps strengthen your joints. In Europe, SAM-e is regularly prescribed by doctors for the treatment of both osteoarthritis and depression.

MSM

MSM – or methylsulfonylmethane – is an organic form of sulfur, one of the key chemical components in our food. MSM supplements are generally used to relieve muscle pain, but there is some evidence that MSM can also help relieve joint discomfort. It hasn’t been shown to preserve cartilage, but it may enhance the effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin when taken with those supplements.

Vitamin D

Being low in vitamin D is a common deficiency, but a dangerous one for people with osteoarthritis. Those with low levels of vitamin D may lose more cartilage than those with higher levels, so it’s a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement if you have osteoarthritis. If you are deficient, it can help stop further cartilage loss, although unlike the supplements mentioned above, it won’t relieve pain.

Popular home remedies for joint pain

Eat: Bananas, garlic cloves fried in butter, fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Drink: Carrot juice (try adding lemon), apple cider vinegar (mix two teaspoons with the same amount of honey, dissolved in a glass of warm water)

Massage: Use an arnica cream, warm olive oil or make a camphor rub (mix one teaspoon of camphor oil with one teaspoonful of sunflower oil)

Move: A warm bath with two cups of Epsom salts dissolved into the water can give some pain relief, as an alternating hot and cold compress. Exercise improves joint flexibility and bone strength (exercising in water can reduce pain)

Top Five Natural Herbs For Nerve Pain: What Does Science Say?

Dennis is a middle-aged individual who loves going outside and being active. One day, he noticed rashes and blisters around his shoulders. Within a few hours, these have spread into his arms and he can’t stop the itchy, painful feeling. After a checkup, the physician named this condition shingles, a reactivated form of chicken pox. Within a few days, the rashes and itchiness cleared up but why does he still feel a stabbing pain around the areas where it occurred?

What causes our nerves to go haywire?

While the shingles of Dennis was resolved in the above case, it left behind a very unfortunate consequence. The reactivated virus caused the damage to the nerves of Dennis. This is clinically termed as post-herpetic neuralgia. Neuralgia, or simply nerve pain, can be a symptom of other diseases as well. For example, one of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis is trigeminal neuralgia, in which a sharp, stabbing pain is felt by the patient in his face.

Nerve pain occurs for a variety of reasons. In the case above, it was because of a virus which damaged his nerves. In some cases, it’s because of a disease, like in multiple sclerosis, wherein the myelin sheath of the nerve has been damaged. Hence, the nerve isn’t protected anymore and can be affected by even simple non-damaging stimulus. Or in the case of diabetes, it’s the high sugar that damages the nerves. Other times it can be because of pressure that is laden to the nerve.

Common treatments for nerve pain

Usually, patients with nerve pain are prescribed anti-convulsants. While these medications aim to control seizures, they can also help relax the nerves and at least reduce pain impulses. Sometimes, anti-depressants would also be given to patients. Opioids can also be given, but they aren’t as effective to nerve pain as compared to nociceptive pain. As always, with long-term use, these chemical medications can have adverse side effects and patients might even build tolerance for them.

It is our aim to lessen the pain you’re feeling

That’s why we have curated this list so that you can find some of the best natural herbs for nerve pain. Backed by clinical studies and researches, these are the most powerful herbs that can alleviate the pain you’re feeling. With medication, there really is no one size fits all approach. You might need to experiment, try one herb at a time and hopefully, at least one of these can help you.

1. Nigella Sativa (Oil/Seed)

Commonly referred to as black seed, nigella sativa is native to the regions of India and the Middle East. Nigella sativa, mainly its seeds, have been used as a flavoring spice even during ancient times. It has various flavors that give that distinct taste to any dish yet its health benefits shouldn’t be taken for granted. Prophet Muhammad is believed to have said once, “Let fall these black seeds upon you, these contain cure for all diseases except death.

SativaScientifically proven to reduce nerve pain and nerve damage, black seed oil.

In a study by Amin and colleagues, they tested the effectiveness of nigella sativa on rats that have been subjected to neuropathic pain. Specifically, they isolated the thymoquinone compound of the herb. The result was that the compound was able to reduce levels of both malondialdehyde and ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1, important markers of oxidative stress and microglial activity, respectively.

In another study, researchers tested on a clinical trial of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.  They created various control groups, with some rats receiving no treatment, some receiving just nigella sativa and some receiving just thymoquinone. It was found that both nigella sativa and thymoquinone were able to reduce the myelin sheath breakdown in rats that received the treatments.

2. Spinach (Supplements)

The superfood of Popeye is a great source of alpha lipoic acid. This compound is known for its anti-oxidant and neuropathic-relieving properties. One expert in the field, Dr. Weil, even recommends it for those suffering from nerve pain. The problem is, you only get alpha lipoic acid in minute amounts in spinach so you can also opt for supplementary tablets if you want to maximize its effects.

SpinachDue to its anti-oxidant effects, the alpha lipoic acid in spinach can help relieve nerve pain as well.

There are many studies available online with regards to clinical trials highlighting the efficiency of alpha lipoic acid for patients with diabetic neuropathy. For example, this study investigated on patients with diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy after giving them alpha lipoic acid supplementation. The result was that there was a significant pain reduction after the treatment period. In another study, alpha lipoic acid was given intravenously instead and again, the neuropathic pain of the patients were significantly reduced.

The way that alpha lipoic acid works is two fold. First, it scavenges for reactive oxygen species. Reactive oxygen species inhibit the transmission of GABA neurons, which play a role in reducing the pain in the nervous system. Second, it is able to induce the production of anti-oxidants such as glutathione, vitamin C and vitamin E, which helps reduce the oxidative stress in the body. Further, in the case of diabetic patients, alpha lipoic acid also helps in the uptake and disposal of glucose.

3. Hypericum Perforatum (Supplement/Topical)

Hypericum perforatum is commonly known as St. John’s wort. This perennial herb is native to the continents of Europe and Asia. Nowadays though, you can easily find it around the world. The herb is a known treatment for depression. Its main compound, hyperforin, inhibits the uptake of both dopamine and serotonin, thereby altering the mood of the patient. In recent times, the neuropathic-relieving effects of this herb is being studied as well.

St. John's WortBy blocking the influx of calcium in the membrane, hypericum perforatum induces analgesia.

In a recent study, researchers investigated on the effects of hypericum perforatum on rats that were induced with sciatic nerve injury. Sciatica is one of the diseases in which neuralgia is a symptom of. They found out that this herb works primarily by inhibiting the TRPM2 and TRPV channels. With this suppression, calcium cannot readily enter the cell and so nerve pain transmission is blocked.

In another study, aside from investigating the effects of the herb on calcium channels, the researchers also studied its effects on oxidative stress and apoptosis. Again, rats were subjected to spinal cord injury-induced oxidative stress. The results were significant, as oxidation markers such as reactive oxygen species, apoptosis and caspases  were reduced after treatment of the herb. Glutathione, an anti-oxidant, was also remarkably increased after the treatment.

4. Lippia Graveolens (Dried)

Lippia graveolens is simply Mexican oregano, a popular medicinal herb in Central America, especially Mexico. Mexican cuisine is known for its aromatic and flavorful dishes. But did you know that Mexican oregano is packed full of flavonoids, including the pain-relieving luteolin? Make sure you get the dried version of the leaves, as this has the most amount of luteolin.

Mexican OreganoMexican oregano, in the dried form, contains a high amount of luteolin, a potent analgesic compound for neuropathy.

In an animal clinical investigation, the efficiency of luteolin in diabetic neuropathy was investigated. The rats were separated into groups and were given various dosages of luteolin. The foremost effect of the compound was the reduction of plasma glucose, an important effect for diabetic patients. Similarly, oxidative enzymes such as reactive oxygen species and malondialdehyde were significantly reduced by the treatment. Markers for anti-oxidant reactions were generally increased after the treatment as well.

In another clinical study, rats were subjected on a sciatic nerve-ligated injury. This time, the researchers created control groups, one was given just luteolin and the other was given luteolin and morphine. Alone, luteolin was able to reduce the neuropathic pain that the mice felt. But in combination with morphine, the result was more significant, perhaps shedding the light for a possible treatment with both for humans.

5. Fermented Soybean

Fermented soybean is simply soybean that is allowed to ferment over a low or acidic pH. There are many types of fermented soybean such as tempeh, miso, soybean paste and natto. These derivatives are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in a compound known as acetyl-L-carnitine. In the Philippines, this compound is advertised as a weight reducer. But aside from that health benefit, it also offers relief from nerve pain.

NattoResearches about the effectiveness of acetyl-l-carnitine for pain reduction are still few, but its potential cannot be denied.

There are a number of studies highlighting the pain-relieving effects of acetyl-l-carnitine. But they are still conflicting, since the exact way of how the compound works isn’t certain yet. In most studies, this compound is shown to have an effect on acetylcholine uptake. By doing so, the neuropathic pain is decreased as acetylcholine levels are enhanced in the cell.

On a recent study though, a group of researchers challenged this accepted theory. In their research, they have found out that acetyl-l-carnitine works primarily by activating metabotropic glutamate receptors, specifically mGlu2. The researchers related the NF-KB pathway to the process but instead of being deactivated, they postulated that it was activated by acetyl-l-carnitine. This is because activation of this pathway can lead to analgesia through the activation of u-opioid receptors.

More researches are being done every year

Neuralgia is one of the most complicated pains in the medical world. When it comes to nerve pain, the only thing that we can do is manage it. There are some cases of nerve pain patients who have reversed the damage almost completely, but they are rare. The common notion is that, the earlier you are able to treat the damage, the better your chances of recovering are.

Do not ever give up, the treatment for your pain might just be around the corner. With the number of healing herbs in the world, there must be at least one that might work for you. Just remember that combining them might not be such a good idea. It’s best to try one herb at a time so you can decipher whether it’s working or not. Plus, interactions can occur with using many herbs at the same time.

Have you tried any natural herbs for your neuralgia? Did it work for you? You can share your experiences in the comments section below.