Friday, March 29, 2013

Carpal Tunnel, Chinese Food Syndrome & Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Teri had carpal tunnel syndrome when she first started working at the Co-op and had a lot of typing to do (to respond to the many inquiries coming from around the country and around the world). A massage therapist friend helped Teri learn to warm up her hands each day before she started in at her computer, and Teri has never had another trouble with carpal tunnel again.

Meanwhile, I was doing research this week for a new formula (another rice protein formula to cover boost daily essentials for healthy aging). I was reviewing arthritis literature to assess amounts of different ingredients (the concept is to replace multi-vitamin, calcium/magnesium/potassium, vitamin C, D3, and joint protection formulas with one basic drink mix).

I came across the research on vitamin B6 (or pyridoxine) and its use in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. As it turns out, carpal tunnel syndrome can be the result of chronic, unrecognized vitamin B6 deficiencies (the root cause) as well as repetitive stress (the more obvious trigger). A team of researchers reported in 1982 that vitamin B6 therapy can eliminate the need for surgery in carpal tunnel patients. Some naturopaths recommend B6 at 25mg three to four times a day (along with complementary B2 or riboflavin at 10mg daily).

One of the B6 researchers, Dr. Folker, found a way for people to determine if they have a vitamin B6 deficiency. He found that people who react to MSG in Chinese food are deficient in B6 and proved that supplemental B6 could prevent MSG reactions that range from headaches and flushing to a nausea and chest pain.

According to Natural Relief for Arthritis by the editors of Prevention Magazine, "Dr. Folker began to wonder if people with carpal tunnel syndrome might also be sensitive to MSG, since they, too, have a B6 deficiency." Folker did a test with a student, known to be both deficient in B6 and to suffer from painful carpal tunnel syndrome. Testing with a low-dose of MSG (4 grams instead of 8.5 grams) revealed the classic "Chinese food syndrome" reaction and cured both the MSG reaction and the carpal tunnel syndrome with supplemental B6.

If you tend to react to MSG or have the Chinese food hangover, you might want to first and foremost avoid all things with MSG (almost a "duh" since MSG is a neurotoxin and also has been found to induce obesity with no additional calories in the diet). Simultaneously, you might want to boost your B6 intake to help your body perform better if you've ever had a Chinese-food (or other fast food) reaction.

If you thought the mighty B vitamins were just for energy or heart health (homocysteine management), think again. In addition to B6 for carpal tunnel syndrome, niacinimide (the non-flushing form of niacin or B3) is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis

Many, many reasons to take more Bs, since they are water soluble and can get flushed out of your system if you are under stress. B vitamins may be a bit stinky (open up a capsule and smell) but they are totally affordable and are clear friends of all active people.

In addition to B vitamins, getting inflammation under control, dipping wrists alternately in hot water (2-3 minutes) and cold water (30 seconds), and doing regular wrist stretching exercises are things that naturopathic doctors recommend.

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