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Natural Health News

Alpha Lipoic for Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a symptom that many people with either Type I or Type II diabetes will face. In fact, roughly half of all diabetics will develop nerve damage causing symptoms. Diabetic neuropathy results as a consequence of damage to nerves caused by periods of high blood sugar. The high blood sugar results in the formation of advanced glycosylated end products (AGEs), which physically damage the nerves. The high blood sugar also decreases circulation, which results in poor healing and recovery in nerves.

Diabetic neuropathy can affect any nerve in the body. It most commonly affects nerves in the periphery of the body first like in the hands, fingers, feet, and toes. However, it also commonly affects nerves in the abdominal organs like the intestines, kidney, and liver. The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy largely depend on the nerves affected by the condition. For example, nerve damage to sensory nerves in the foot typically cause numbness and tingling in the foot and toes. Whereas, nerve damage in the intestines may cause nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or feeling full after relatively small amounts of food.

The diagnosis of diabetic neuropathy typically results from the presence of signs and symptoms of nerve damage for those who also have diabetes. The symptoms may include numbness, tingling, burning pain, indigestion, heartburn, feeling full after small meals, sporadic blood pressure readings, dizziness, and erectile dysfunction, The diagnosis may also be based on tests like reflex testing, nerve conduction velocity testing, or electromyogram.

Just about every physician agrees that the most important treatment for diabetic neuropathy is keeping your blood sugar in a stable and healthy range. This helps prevent further damage to the nerves. Therefore, optimal dietary habits are of the utmost importance. However, what can you do once the nerves have been damaged? Is there a way to regenerate nerves?

Unfortunately, the conventional approach to treating revolves around managing symptoms with medications as opposed to focusing on treatments that may regenerate damaged nerves. Medications like Lyrica, antidepressants, narcotics, and NSAIDs are often prescribed to treat pain caused by diabetic neuropathy. Often other medications are prescribed to deal with the other symptoms. For example, Viagra may be prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction.

Fortunately, there is a treatment that can help regenerate nerves that have been damaged by the processes of diabetic neuropathy. Alpha lipoic acid is an amino acid that can be used intravenously to regenerate nerves. You may recognize alpha lipoic acid from your multivitamin or antioxidant supplement. In recent years it has shown to be a very valuable antioxidant nutrient and has many benefits in the body by reducing oxidative stress. However, it can be used intravenously for the purpose of nerve regeneration to treat diabetic neuropathy.

Several clinical trials have shown intravenous alpha lipoic acid (IV ALA) to have a significant regenerative capacity to nerves affected by diabetic neuropathy. Many studies show IV ALA to have both a short term and long term positive outcome with a variety symptoms resulting from diabetic neuropathy.

I typically use intravenous alpha lipoic acid in dosages of 600-1800mg 1-3 times per week for 10-20 sessions and then decrease the frequency according to the patient’s response. Many Naturopathic physicians and Medical doctors in North America are licensed and trained to use IV ALA to treat diabetic neuropathy. If you are suffering from the consequences of diabetic neuropathy I would encourage you to discuss your case with a physician who offers IV ALA to see if you may be benefit treatment.


Food combining

A patient recently emailed a question about food combining to me. He recently purchased a food processor and started making various types of smoothies. As he was looking for different recipes and background information on smoothies he stumbled upon the idea that combining fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fats may not always be the best idea. He wanted to know if he should mix any or all of these nutrients in his shakes.

Food combining is the concept of avoiding difficult food combinations in order to ease the work of your digestive system. Different foods will be broken down in the stomach and intestines at various rates. For some people at certain points in life it is a good idea to avoid combining foods with different digestion rates. Gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal cramps can all be signs of indigestion from poor food combinations.

Food combining is more of an issue with fruits and other carbohydrates like bread/pasta or proteins like meat when you are eating meals. Fruits move through the stomach in 20-30 minutes while most carbs and proteins move through in 30-60 minutes. This can cause various digestive symptoms for some people. This is why many people will feel better if they avoid fruit with meals and avoid combining meats with starches.

When it comes to smoothies however, fruits, veggies, protein powder, essential fatty acids and seeds blended together should move through the stomach and into the intestines for digestion and absorption in about the same amount of time. For most people, there shouldn't be a problem with smoothies because everything is pre-digested from the blending. It's good to mix fruit, veggies, protein powder, flax seeds in the smoothie to create a balanced meal/snack.


To learn more about Dr. Brent Barlow or to schedule a consultation contact him at [email protected] or 250-448-5610.

Spring detox/cleanse

April is a very popular time for people to start a detoxification program. With the winter weather behind us and the summer season just around the corner, now is a good time to cleanse the body. In this article we will look at the ins and outs of detoxification and learn about the most important aspects of a successful detox program.


What is Detoxification?

Detoxification can be defined as the removal of the unwanted from the body. The unwanted or toxic substances can be from the external environment, internal environment of the body, or in the mental-emotional system.

External toxins include chemicals like pesticides, food additives, plastics, heavy metals, BPA, Parabins, Phalates, and other molecules from industrial products. Internal toxins include metabolic waste products naturally produced in the body that need to be removed. These include substances like lactic acid, uric acid, carbon dioxide, and free radicals. Mental-emotional toxins include thoughts, feelings, memories, and perceptions that no longer serve us benefit and create dis-ease within the body.


Why Detoxify?

Toxins act as obstacles to optimal health by creating increased work for the body and preventing optimal cellular metabolism. For example, mercury actually displaces minerals like magnesium within several enzymes and thus prevents proper cellular energy production. Toxins are primarily stored in fat and organ tissue and disrupt hormone, neurotransmitter, and energy production and often lead weight gain and difficulty losing weight.


How Do We Detoxify?

The body is constantly detoxifying on a millisecond by millisecond basis at a cellular level. These cellular toxins are pumped into the extracellular environment where they are picked up by white blood cells. They then travel through the lymphatic system, venous system, and arteries to the organs of elimination like the liver, kidneys, lungs, bowels, skin, and mucus membranes for removal from the body.


What are the Most Important Aspects of Detoxification?

A successful detoxification program should decrease exposure to toxins, support all of the organs of elimination, and promote optimal nutrition throughout. Unfortunately, many cleanses and detox programs focus primarily on herbal laxatives and neglect many of the organs of elimination and optimal nutrition.

A successful detox program should also be tailored to the individual characteristics of each person. This should take into account the goals of the individual, sources of exposure, types of toxins acquired, and the health status of the individual organs of elimination. For example, a mechanic who has been exposed to petrochemicals on their skin and through their lungs will require a different approach than an office worker who has recently started a weight loss program.


What is Dr. Barlow’s Approach?

My approach focuses on individualized detoxification programs designed to decrease toxin exposure, support the organs of elimination, and promote optimal nutrition. I utilize advanced natural therapies like biotherapeutic drainage, intravenous nutrient infusions, neural therapy, exercise programs, acupuncture, and oral supplementation with vitamins, minerals, and botanical medicines. For more information on my detoxification programs you can contact me at the Kelowna Wellness Clinic at 250-448-5610 or visit my website at


Chelation for heart health

The word ‘Chelation’ means, ‘the formation of two or more bonds.’ Chelation therapy is used medically to remove unwanted molecules like lead, mercury, aluminum, cadmium, and other elements from the body. Chelation therapy involves the administration of a chelator (a substance that binds to something else) to remove another substance from the body.

Many cardiovascular diseases like atherosclerosis, angina, and coronary artery disease can be successfully treated in part by Chelation therapy. Of course, you always want to use other dietary, lifestyle, and medical therapies in conjunction, but Chelation therapy does something that no other therapy can offer. The purpose of Chelation therapy in treating cardiovascular disease is to remove debris from the arteries, which allows for proper blood flow and increased circulation.

Many cardiovascular conditions are caused by inflammatory damage to the lining of the arteries. This inflammatory damage initiates a repair process that involves the formation of plaque. The plaque is referred to as an ‘atheroma’ and is composed of several different molecules including white blood cells, cholesterol, fatty acids, and calcium. The more numerous and larger the atheromas the more likely a person is to have symptoms of cardiovascular disease.

Chelation therapy has been used for over twenty years for the treatment and prevention of atherosclerosis and other forms of cardiovascular disease. Chelation therapy helps to break down plaque and remove the excess calcium. As the atheromas break down and shrink in size, circulation through the arteries increases and cardiovascular symptoms improve.

Chelation therapy can benefit many people who suffer from cardiovascular disease by removing the harmful calcium build-up in the arterial plaque. Whether a person is early in the process of cardiovascular disease or contemplating the insertion of a stent or bypass surgery I urge them to investigate Chelation therapy to see if it is right for them.

There are several different types of Chelation therapy utilizing different chelators that can be used to treat many medical conditions including heavy metal poisoning, neurological conditions, and cardiovascular disease. Intravenous EDTA Chelation is the only type of Chelation that has been shown to effectively remove excess calcium from arterial plaque.

Intravenous EDTA Chelation therapy can only be administered by a physician (ND or MD). It typically requires 20-30 sessions to maximize the benefits of Chelation therapy for cardiovascular disease. During the course of the therapy, the patient should expect to see moderate to significant improvement in the cardiovascular symptoms. As I mentioned earlier, Chelation therapy has helped countless people recover from cardiovascular disease, avoid open heart surgery, and most importantly regain their health.

If you are experiencing cardiovascular symptoms or are considering surgery for cardiovascular disease and you want to find out if you are candidate for Chelation therapy please contact my office at 250-448-5610 or visit my website to learn more.

Read more Natural Health News articles


About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at or call 250-448-5610.


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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