Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is an idiopathic (of ‘unknown’ cause), slowly progressive, degenerative central nervous system disorder with four main characteristics – slowness of movement, muscular rigidity, resting tremor and postural instability.

It appears when there is a lack of Dopamine in the brain or when what is being produced is not being utilized correctly. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that carries messages from one nerve cell to another and has an effect on physiological functions such as strength, movement, co-ordination, cognitive functions, mood, sex drive and growth hormone secretion.

It has long been recognised that many Parkinson’s patients have flaws in their ability to detoxify various chemicals to which they are exposed and that Parkinson’s disease is much more prevalent in people with a history of occupational exposure to toxic chemicals.

Therefore many natural and nutritional
treatments that have been shown to help Parkinson’s sufferers have a detoxifying

Currently Parkinson’s disease is managed via Dopamine replacement therapy.
The most commonly used drugs contain L-dopa (Levodopa) and carbidopa (Sinemet).

These are usually effective for motor symptoms in the beginning but over time (2-5years) tend to cause side effects. These can include; nausea, excessive, uncontrollable movements, sleep disturbances, hallucinations, mental confusion, ‘freezing'(unable to move) and episodes of low blood pressure.

Another side effect of taking L-dopa drugs long term can be a high homocysteine level which has been implicated in high mortality rates from vascular disease. Have your doctor check for this. B12 levels also tend to be lower.

Nutritional regimes that help people with this disease include reducing protein intake, which has been used to enhance the effectiveness of L-dopa therapy.

Supplements that can help are:

– Colloidal minerals (1 tbsp. daily) as ALL minerals are needed for the body to operate normally and many minerals also act as antioxidants.

– B Vitamins, especially B12 and B6 (50mg with each meal), however do not take this (B6) if on Levodopa as it reduces the effect of this drug.

– NADH (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), which has enormous antioxidative capacity and even more importantly for Parkinson’s sufferers has the ability to stimulate tyrosine hydroxylase, which is the key enzyme for the production of Dopamine.
Some studies have found that NADH stimulates the production of dopamine by more than 40%. NADH also stimulates the production of noradrenaline and Serotonin which are responsible for alertness, concentration and mental activity and sleep and emotional balance respectively.

– Other antioxidants, as free radicals are considered a possible cause of the degeneration of neurons that causes Parkinson’s.

– Also avoid all exposure to toxic metals, pesticides, rancid fats, chemicals or cigarette smoke.

– Tyrosine, as it is a precursor to dopamine.

– Glutathione, as it is a vital brain chemical and important brain anti-oxidant that is often hugely deficient in Parkinson’s disease. There is research that shows that it works best when given intravenously, but I have seen very good results with even with 100mg given orally twice daily.

– Coenzyme Q10, as it greatly increases cellular energy production and has also been found to greatly deficient in Parkinson’s patients. Dosage is 100-120mg daily.

Phosphatidylserine, as it is one of the key components of nerve cell membranes – the site where the brain receives and transmits messages. Dose 100 – 200mg. I have seen very good results of this therapy improving name/face recognition.
Good food sources are egg yolks and lecithin.

– Evening Primrose oil, as it reduces tremor, is an anti-inflammatory and also greatly helps symptoms of depression. Use 3000 mg per dose – 2-3 times daily.

– Vitamin B12, as it also greatly helps overcome depression lifts energy and enthusiasm.

– Vitamin E, as this is thought to slow the progress of the
disease, although doses needed are reasonably high.

– Lecithin, 1 tab daily, to supply choline, which is needed for transmission of nerve impulses.

Glutamine as it is the precursor of GABA which is a major inhibiting neurotransmitter. GABA reinforces the negativity or the nerve cell making it resistant to excitation and therefore may help lessen unwanted tremors.

– Some sources also recommend avoiding the night-shade family of vegetables but eating broad beans as they contain L-dopa.

– Herbs that have proven to be effective in helping those with Parkinson’s are Macuna pruriens and Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginkgo Biloba increases circulation and therefore mineral and oxygen availability to the brain.
Mucuna Pruriens is an acknowledged source of L-Dopa. The product ‘PreDop’ from the Dr Veras range contains Tyrosine, B6 and Mucuna pruriens seed and I have seen good results in patients using this product.
I have also used Bacopa with good results. It appears to reduce the stage at which Levodopa is required and then lessen the amount needed.
If unsure which product is best for you, then send your query and details to ‘Ask Alison’.

– Massage always helps and is very important, as it can reduce muscle rigidity and therefore improve range of movement and reduce cramping. I have seen extremely good results using a combination of cranial sacral therapy and massage, improvement lasting any-thing up to 3-4 weeks. Also it improves the patient’s feeling of well-being and this is of great importance.

– Exercising the mind is of equal importance and the well being of Parkinson’s patients is markedly improved when they are both physically and mentally active.

– I have read that Chelation therapy can be of great benefit in treating Parkinson’s. This treatment is based on the use of strong detoxifying substances administered orally or intravenously. The therapy is usually used to flush heavy metals from the body.