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“Tingling and Numbness” in the Extremities…. Are you getting your nutrients?

Tingling, numbness, burning, weakness and pain in the upper or lower extremities (“peripheral neuropathy”) may have a number of culprits. Though these sensations are frequently caused by a pinched, irritated or damaged nerve, this condition may also be attributed to an underlying nutritional deficiency. It is important to note that certain medications and chronic health conditions may interfere with nutritional absorption, and leave you vulnerable to developing a nutritional deficiency. The following is a list of the most common nutritional factors known to cause these nasty symptoms in the extremities.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Food Sources: Broccoli, fish, beans, lentils, eggs, yeast, yeast extract, pork, cereal grains, oatmeal, flax, sunflower seeds, brown rice, onions, green beans, summer squash, carrots, kale, tomatoes, green peas, beet greens, Brussel sprouts, spinach, cabbage, eggplant, romaine lettuce and crimini mushrooms.
Deficiency: “Dry Beriberi”
Deficiency Symptoms: Severe burning and abnormal tactile sensation in the feet and hands, weakness, muscle wasting, shiny skin, hair loss, sensory loss. Other symptoms may include fatigue, loss of sensation, pain and heaviness in the legs, glove/stocking sensory abnormalities and difficulty with climbing stairs and standing on one leg.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Food Sources: Red meat, fish, poultry, liver, beef, fortified breads and cereals, enriched pasta and peanuts.

Deficiency: “Pellagra”

Deficiency Symptoms: Dermatitis on hands, feet, face and neck, Diarrhea, and Dementia. Other symptoms may include depression, excitation, seizures, insomnia, dizziness, muscle rigidity, tremor, loss of hearing, tingling fingers, muscle tenderness, glove/stocking numbness, and a compulsion to immerse ones hands and feet in cold water. Sensory changes progress from the extremities to the knees, thighs and hips, after which weakness in the legs develops.

Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)

Food Sources: Beans, poultry, fish, liver, pork, veal, fortified cereals, nuts, leafy greens, papayas, oranges and cantaloupe.

Deficiency Symptoms: Numbness and tingling in all of the toes which moves up the feet and legs, occasionally appearing in the fingers and hands, at which point pain and/or burning develops in these areas. Other symptoms may include loss of power in the legs, tonic-clonic seizures, mucosal symptoms, fatigue, decreased level of consciousness, anorexia, vomiting, and anemia.

Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12)

Food Sources: Fish, shellfish, liver, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products.

Deficiency: Pernicious Anemia, Achlorhydria

Deficiency Symptoms: Symmetrical glove/stocking sensory abnormalities, tingling of the toes, numbness, coldness, pins and needles sensation, feelings of swelling or constriction, weakness and spasticity. Other symptoms may include muscle wasting, wasting of the visual (optic) nerve, sphincter dysfunction, mental disturbances, mild dementia, disorientation, depression, psychosis and persecutory delusions, weakness, light-headedness, vertigo, tinnitus, palpitations, angina, heart failure, cardiomegaly, paleness, rapid heart beat, as well as liver and spleen enlargement. If left untreated, symptoms may include a beefy, red and sore tongue, anorexia, dysfunctional walk, spasticity, contractures

Alpha-Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

Food Sources: Nuts (peanuts, hazelnuts), seeds (sunflower), avocado, vegetable oils (sunflower, wheat, germ, safflower, corn and soybean), wheat germ, spinach, and broccoli.

Deficiency Symptoms: Decreased reflexes, decreased positional awareness (proprioception), decreased vibration, pain and temperature senses, muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, heart dysfunction, night blindness and dementia.


Food Sources: Dark green leafy vegetables, avocado, spinach, liver, years, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, fruits and fruit juices, nuts, beans, peas, dairy products, poultry, eggs, seafood, and grains.

Deficiency Symptoms: Nearly identical symptoms as that of Vitamin B12 deficiency, however, dementia tends to be more prominent.


Food Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, nuts, beans and seeds.

Deficiency Symptoms: Tingling in the tongue, fingers and toes, and may progress to severe weakness, decreased reflexed, sensory loss, and dysfunctional nerves of the head. Other symptoms may include dementia, muscle dysfunction and incoordination.


Food Sources: Turnip greens, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, asparagus, summer squash, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Deficiency: Common after bariatric (weight-loss) surgery.

Deficiency Symptoms: Disease of the spinal cord, weak and stiff legs when walking, sensory loss in the extremities and dysfunctional optic (visual) nerve.


Food Sources: Legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and green leafy vegetables such as spinach.

Deficiency Symptoms: Fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, numbness, tingling, muscle cramps, seizures, or abnormal rhythms of the heart.


Food Sources: Bananas, potatoes, plums, orange juice, and other vegetables..

Deficiency Symptoms: Muscle cramping and weakness, constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, muscle paralysis and  irregular heart rhythms.


Excess Symptoms: Decreased pain and temperature sensation in a stocking/glove distribution, pain and weakness, in the feet and possibly the hands. Possible difficulty with climbing stairs and walking. Other symptoms may include urinary or fecal incontinence (loss of control), gastrointestinal dysfunction and abnormal sweating.

If you or a loved one experiences these symptoms, schedule a chiropractic and medical check-up as soon as possible to have an assessment for appropriate management of the particular condition.