You wouldn’t typically expect pain in your hand to be caused by a vitamin deficiency, but it is.
The carpal tunnel is a structure located on the palm side of the wrist, through which blood vessels, tendons and the median nerve pass.
In carpal tunnel syndrome, excess pressure in the tunnel leads to burning, tingling and numbness of the thumb and first three fingers.
This is accompanied by stiffness and weakness of the hand, with pain often being worse at night.
What causes carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) has several possible causes or triggers, but the majority of cases are caused by nutrient deficiencies in three key nutrients:
- Vitamin B6
All three of these nutrients are commonly depleted in the general population (I personally had deficiencies in all of them!)
Overuse of the wrist, or specific injuries may also cause CTS.
One clue that vitamin B6 deficiency is involved in CTS is that pregnant women and women taking the birth control pill are more susceptible.
It just so happens that birth control pills lead to B6 deficiency in some women, and interestingly, pregnancy seems to do the same, with gestational diabetes also being a result of low B6 according to Dr. Jonathan Wright.
Testing your nutrient status
Specific tests can help you identify which specific nutrient deficiencies you have.
On a blood test from your doctor:
- Low ALP (a liver enzyme) indicates zinc deficiency
- The zinc tally test can also help you detect zinc deficiency
- Low ALT, AST or GGTP (also liver enzymes) indicate B6 deficiency
- Low blood count markers – haemoglobin, haematocrit, MCV, MHC and MCHC can also indicate B6 deficiency
- Low red blood cell, hair or urine magnesium tells you about your magnesium status
Please be aware that you may need to run your blood test results through functional ranges as opposed to conventional reference ranges to detect these imbalances.
The important role of digestion
If I see people with zinc, magnesium or magnesium deficiencies, I immediately look at digestive function.
Poor diet, along with a compromised digestion system is the main reason for these deficiencies.
If the digestive system is damaged, nutrient absorption is affected.
The zinc and B6 axis is really important here.
B6 is needed for zinc absorption, so it’s common to see deficiencies in both nutrients.
Zinc is needed for stomach acid production, which is mightily important for digestion as a whole, and for the prevention of digestive infections, Candida and SIBO.
If stomach acid is low – as it is in many people – zinc deficiency will likely develop; as a result you can’t make stomach acid properly and you get stuck in a vicious cycle.
Gluten sensitivity, poor eating habits, stress, SIBO, parasites, fungal overgrowth and other factors can all contribute to poor gut function and its associated nutrient deficiencies.
Thus, resolving carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrist might well depend on optimising digestion!
Would you like some help?
If you’re struggling with CTS, or any chronic pain symptom for that matter, I’m sure we can help.
Your digestion, nutrient status and detoxification all play huge roles in chronic pain syndromes and you may simply need to tweak these to avoid surgery.
The first step is to book a case review and initial consultation, or a 10-15min getting acquainted chat.
You can learn about them here.