Neuropathy has a wide variety of causes, and nutritional causes are a major subset of it. Neuropathy is typically your first diagnosis when patients complain with symptoms like numbness, pin-and-needle sensation, burning sensations, pain or loss of sensations. When it affects the nerves supplying the muscles, it may result in weakness of muscle, muscle atrophy, lack of fine muscle control which may result in many symptoms depending on which muscles are affected.
But one cause of peripheral neuropathy that is not readily thought to be associated with neuropathy is food allergy. The association between food allergy and neuropathy is often overlooked because only recently conclusive evidence from research has become available establishing a certain link between neuropathy and allergic response to certain food items.
The most common culprits so far are derivatives of glutamic acid and aspartic acid, gluten, pesticides on fruits and vegetables and food coloring dyes. One very common artificial sweetener, Aspartame, is used in fruit juices, diabetic food and numerous other products, is one of the most commonly recognized allergen triggering symptoms of neuropathy, but this also affects the auditory nerve, causing tinnitus. Consumption of large quantities greatly increases the chances of having the neuropathy. Often, stopping the consumption of aspartame cures the symptoms almost entirely.
Many more agents commonly found in food may cause an allergic response which may present as neuropathy. The ones that are currently believed to be responsible for most of the cases are Azino-moto (Mono Sodium Glutamate) which is commonly used in Chinese foods, gluten found in wheat containing edible items, some coloring dyes used in foods. Not only these, but normal fully natural food items like fruits, eggs, and milk may be the cause of food allergy induced neuropathy. Often it may happen, that the tracking of the allergy causing food item may not be very simple and straightforward.
So what if your neuropathy is suspected to be due to food allergy? The main diagnostic test used is a Radioallergosorbent Test (RAST Test) which detects antibodies against “common” food allergens. Since not all antigens could be detected in 100% of cases, sometimes the treatment may involve just hit and trial in which suspected food items are stopped for few week and observed whether it alleviates the neuropathy. Also it would be advisable to stop common known allergens like aspartame, MSG, food dyes, and gluten and observe if the symptoms are alleviated by this. Also thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before consuming, as pesticides present on them could be the cause.