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Physical activity and dietary interventions in diabetic neuropathy: a systematic review

  • Lindsay A. Zilliox
  • James W. RussellEmail author
Review Article

Abstract

Purpose

Diabetic neuropathy is a common and disabling disorder, and there are currently no proven effective disease-modifying treatments. Physical activity and dietary interventions in patients with diabetes and diabetic neuropathy have multiple beneficial effects and are generally low risk, which makes lifestyle interventions an attractive treatment option. We reviewed the literature on the effects of physical activity and dietary interventions on length-dependent peripheral neuropathy and cardiac autonomic neuropathy in diabetes.

Methods

The electronic database PubMed was systematically searched for original human and mouse model studies examining the effect of either dietary or physical activity interventions in subjects with diabetes, prediabetes, or metabolic syndrome.

Results

Twenty studies are included in this review. Fourteen studies were human studies and six were in mice. Studies were generally small with few controlled trials, and there are no widely agreed upon outcome measures.

Conclusions

Recent research indicates that dietary interventions are effective in modifying diabetic neuropathy in animal models, and there are promising data that they may also ameliorate diabetic neuropathy in humans. It has been known for some time that lifestyle interventions can prevent the development of diabetic neuropathy in type 2 diabetes mellitus subjects. However, there is emerging evidence that lifestyle interventions are effective in individuals with established diabetic neuropathy. In addition to the observed clinical value of lifestyle interventions, there is emerging evidence of effects on biochemical pathways that improve muscle function and affect other organ systems, including the peripheral nerve. However, data from randomized controlled trials are needed.

Keywords

Diabetic neuropathy Exercise Diet Dysautonomia Sirtuins 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Supported in part by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health 1R01DK107007-01A1, the Office of Research Development, Department of Veterans Affairs (Biomedical and Laboratory Research Service and Rehabilitation Research and Development, 101RX001030), the Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation, and the Baltimore GRECC (JWR), 1K2RX001651 (LAZ).

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurology, School of MedicineUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Maryland VA Healthcare SystemBaltimoreUSA

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