Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease affects some 120,000 people in Britain, including 1 in every 100 people over the age of 60. Affecting men more often than women.

Parkinson’s is a progressive disorder involving the deterioration of the nerve centers in the brain responsible for controlling movement. As the condition progresses muscular movement is affected. Eventually co-ordination can become very difficult and it’s common for patients to experience tremors, rigidity and muscular spasms in different limbs to varying degrees.

Other symptoms include unsteadiness, chronic constipation, impaired speech, a fixed facial expression and/or a shuffling gait. The person knows what they want the muscle to do but the messages received by the muscle group are not properly coordinated to allow smooth movement. The reason for this impaired muscle control is a lack of the brain chemical dopamine.

No definitive cause has yet been identified – but nutrient deficiencies, heavy metal toxicity, especially from mercury and aluminium, over consumption of the artificial sweetener aspartame, viruses and carbon‑monoxide poisoning have all been mooted as possible triggers. Some prescription drugs can also cause Parkinson’s like symptoms. To replace the dopamine most patients take a synthetic form of the amino acid L-dopa, which the body then makes into dopamine, helping restore proper brain function. Many of the drugs used to treat Parkinson’s can cause lethargy and extreme mental confusion, or completely uncontrolled jerky movements if there is too much L-dopa in the body. As every case is unique I strongly recommend that anyone with Parkinson’s consult a nutritional physician who is trained in PD Management, as this condition needs highly specialised care.

To find a nutritional physician near you, write to The British Society of Allergy, Environmental and Nutritional Medicine (BSAENM) PO Box Knighton, LD7 1WT Tel 01547 550380

Foods To Avoid:

Reduce the amount of drinks and foods containing caffeine which are stimulating- coffee, colas, tea and alcohol, as these foods can affect tremors.

Cut down on all animal fats, which impair the metabolism of essential fats Avoid sugar in any form, highly refined and processed foods and especially additives and preservatives such as monosodium glutamate and aspartame – because of their negative affect on the brain. With professional guidance you may also need to eliminate gluten containing grains such as wheat, rye, oats and barley – as the gluten can prevent absorption of nutrients and medication.

Cut down on peanuts, bananas and potatoes, yeasty foods, liver and meat, which contain vitamin B6, which can interfere with the medication L-dopa. But if you are not taking L-dopa vitamin B6 is important for Parkinson’s.

Don’t fry food and avoid all hydrogenated and trans-fats, often found in margarines and pre-prepared foods. These fats are also found in most mass produced cakes, biscuits, pies and so on. Always check labels.

Friendly Foods

Ensure an adequate dietary intake. Because chewing can become difficult, loss of appetite is common and then nutrient deficiencies can speed the progression of the disease. Foods can be liquidised or meal replacements used. As much as possible eat only organic foods, which contains less pesticides and herbicides.

A University of Miami post mortem study in 1994 found pesticides more often that in those who had died of Parkinson’s Disease than in those who had died of other causes. Research has shown that restricting protein intake is helpful and that 90% of the daily intake should be eaten with the evening meal, when you’re not having your L-dopa medication. This is extremely important advice not always given to patients on L-dopa. Protein competes for absorption with the L-dopa, so eating protein during then day, when most sufferers take their medication, can block the efficacy of the medication.

Protein can be found in meat, fish, eggs, beans, dairy foods, nuts and seeds, lentils, soya and whole grains. The best sources for Parkinson’s sufferers are small amounts of soya, eggs, oily and white fish and poultry

Eat more corn-based foods and corn pasta. Include apples, pears, mangoes, kiwi fruit and vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and broccoli. Use unrefined, organic sunflower, sesame and olive oil for salad dressings and drizzle over cold foods. These oils are rich in essential fats, which are vital for healthy brain function as they enhance brain cell wall stability (to buy Udo’s Choice Oil – a blend of organic EFA’s – call 0207 436 5122)

Get into the habit of juicing, use organic carrots, beetroot and artichoke, which are high in vitamins and minerals and help to cleanse the liver. If you have mercury fillings eat lots of seaweed, apples and coriander, which detoxify metals from the body.

Dried or ready to eat fruits such as prunes, figs and apricots helps to ease or prevent constipation, as does drinking 8 glasses of water daily. Begin drinking green tea, which is rich in antioxidants, or if you don’t like the tea The Nutri Centre 0207 436 5122 sell high strength green tea capsules.

Useful Remedies:

As it is vital to take various nutrients in specific amounts for each individual case and the supplements you take also depend on the time of day and which medication you are taking. Again I strongly recommend that you see a qualified nutritionist or nutritional physician who can devise a programme specifically for you.

Your own GP will need to refer you to a nutritional physician and they will be able to find the address of your nearest practitioner by contacting: British Society for Allergy Environmental and Nutritional Medicine (BSAENM), PO Box 7, Knighton, LD7 1WT. Tel: 01547 550380

Meanwhile here are some general guidelines: Studies from the Birkmayer Institute for Parkinson’s in Vienna has shown that NADH, a co-enzyme form of vitamin B3, can help increase energy levels, reduce depression and stimulate the body to produce more L-dopa. 5mg should be taken on an empty stomach at least 40 minutes before food.

Professor Birkmayer’s highly absorbable NADH is called Springfield Enada and is available worldwide. Anyone who is very stressed and suffers from palpitations should avoid this supplement. However, in some cases the intravenous form of this nutrient is more effective in Parkinson’s – speak to your doctor about the intravenous form.

Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, up to 1gram daily with food and 400iu of full spectrum, natural source vitamin E, in addition to an antioxidant complex may help to slow the progression. L-methionine – an essential sulfur amino acid, which readily crosses the blood-brain barrier where it can be converted into the vital nutrient S-adenosyl methionine (SAM-e). L-dopa supplementation reduces brain SAM-e levels. For details contact the Nutri Centre. No as above.

PhosphatidylSerine is another vital brain nutrient that improves nerve cell health. The body can manufacture PS but only if you tend to eat lots of organ meats. 100mg can be supplemented 2-3 times a day. For extra fibre to ease constipation and cleanse the bowel try psyllium husks daily in warm water. They taste dreadful, but do help reduce constipation. Also available in capsules.

The herb, St John’s Wort, can ease depression but should not be taken by people with Parkinson’s as it can interfere with medication. If you have mercury fillings take vitamin C x 500mg daily which chelates with heavy metals and carries them out of the body, plus mercury antagonists: calcium x 450mg a day and zinc x 15mg twice daily.

Helpful Hints:

Mercury fillings are linked to Parkinson’s – have them checked by a holistic dentist (Dr David Hefferon on 0207 935 5281) and removed if necessary (with all the necessary protection during removal – otherwise you can become even more contaminated).

As many of the world’s oceans are heavily polluted, high levels of mercury are also being reported in some coastal fish. Aluminium and mercury have been linked to Parkinson’s, therefore avoid all aluminium cookware or aluminium foil.

Read labels carefully as cake mixes, antacids, buffered aspirin, self-raising flour, pickles, processed cheeses, most deodorants and toothpastes contain aluminium. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), the food additive, and aspartame the artificial sweetener, have been linked to Parkinson’s; therefore avoid all additives and preservatives whenever possible.

Over 3,000 foods and drinks contain artificial sweeteners. Reduce stress. At times of stress the body uses dopamine to make the stress hormones noradrenaline and adrenaline, using up your already short supply. Tools for reducing stress, apart from removing any obvious sources, include exercise, massage, relaxation techniques, meditation or enjoyable hobbies.

If tremors are worse at or after meal times, avoid protein (meat, fish, beans, nuts, seeds) at meals where you take your medication as protein competes with the L-dopa for absorption. Constipation is a major symptom that must be dealt with to ensure the proper elimination of toxins. In addition to the dried fruits, flaxseeds and water recommended above, try abdominal massage in a clockwise circular motion to massage the bowel, walks after meals, or supplemented magnesium (150mg x 3 times per day) to relax the bowel.

You can also buy small liquid – easy to use enemas at most chemists. As organophosphates (OPs) from pesticides and herbicides, are now found in drinking water, use a good quality water filter like Watersimple from The Fresh Water Filter Company. Contact The Fresh Water Filter Company, Gem House, 895 High Street, Chadwell Health, Essex RM6 4HL. Tel 0870 442 3633. <*>www.freshwaterfilter.com,n<*> or The Pure H2O Company on 01784 21188, or visit: <*>www.pureH20.co.uk,n<*>

A book well worth reading is Parkinson’s Disease, The Way Forward by Dr Geoffrey Leader and Lucille Leader. Bath Press. ISBN 0952605 8 6. 2001. To order call 0207 323 2382. This user-friendly book presents an integrated approach to the management of Parkinson’s Disease. Dr David Perlmutter, a neurologist in Naples, Florida, has pioneered the use of intravenous glutathione, which has had a dramatic effect on most of his Parkinson’s patients. His book BrainRecovery.com makes fascinating reading. Published by the Perlmutter Health Centre, £12.95. Available from the Nutri Centre Book Shop or log on to his website: <*>www.BrainRecovery.com,n<*>

In the UK Doctors that administer chelation therapy usually work with glutathione. For more details log onto  <*>www.chelationuk.com,n<*>

For further help contact The Parkinson’s Disease Society, 215 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 1EJ. Tel: 020 7931 8080. Helpline: 0808 800 0303. Website: <*>www.parkinsons.org.uk,n<*>. Or the European Parkinson’s Disease Society, 4 Golding Road, Sevenoaks Kent TN13 3NJ. Tel/Fax: 01732 457683. Website: <*>www.epda.eu.com,n<*>. Hope this information helps you and yours. Extracted from my book 500 of The Most Important Ways to Stay Younger Longer. Details on the books section of this site.