What is Parkinson's Disease (PD)?
Parkinson's Disease is a group of symptoms that include:
*Tremors that intensify when you are stressed or fatigued, but disappear during
sleep or concentrated effort
*Fatigue and muscle cramps in the legs, neck or trunk
*Muscle stiffness or rigidity slowly begins to impede your movement and your
body movements slow down
*As the disease progresses,you may start to shuffle and have less control over
your posture and body movement. You may develop a stooped position and lose your balance easily and you may notice skin oiliness
(especially on your forehead and scalp), perspiration, difficulty sleeping, mood changes, speech changes, loss of facial expression
and finger dexterity, and loss of control of automatic movement (blinking, swallowing saliva) and difficulty adjusting your
posture when you are seated.
What causes Parkinson's Disease?
*Exposure to any of the following increases your risk for Parkinson's Disease:
neurotoxic drugs (compazine, mellaril, prolixin, stelazine, thorazine, trilafon, haldol, reglan,clozaril, risperdal, zyprexa
and other tranquilizers, tetrabenazine, cinnarizine, flunarizine, amiodarone, bethanechol, pyridostigmine, lithium, valium,
prozac, nardil, demerol, amphotericin B, caphaloridine, 5-fluorouracil, vincristine-doxorubicin, and the synthetic heroin
compound MPTP), poisoning by chemicals (manganese dust, carbon disulfide, copper or carbon monoxide), arteriosclerosis associated
with a cerebral vascular accident (stroke), secondary to other conditions (tumor,
repeated head injury, genetic malformation, or infections such as tuberculosis or syphilis), due to encephalitis.
*Diets high in animal fat or cholesterol are associated with substantial increase
in risk for PD. In contrast, fat of plant origin does not appear to increase risk. There is a possibility that vegetarian
diets are beneficial in PD because they slow the loss of surviving dopaminergic neurons, retarding the progress of the syndrome.
*Some research shows there is a greater prevalence of PD in rural areas and
among farming communities. This suggests a link to agricultural chemicals, especially the herbicide Parquat, which has a similar
structure to MPTP.
*A sudden injury or exposure to a chemical agent can bring on Parkinson's,
but the disease usually develops slowly.
What you can do to reduce the effects of Parkinson's and possibly prevent
*Avoid using herbicides and pesticides or eating foods that have been sprayed
with herbicides or pesticides. Buy or grow your own organic foods.
*Cleanse your liver. If you've been exposed to damaging toxics, take silymarin
(milk thistle) to cleanse your liver and take large doses of vitamin C to counter toxins.
* Start an exercise program to improve spinal flexibility and function. Swimming,
stationary bike or walking (if balance is good), might be appropriate choices, but consult with a personal trainer or find
a special exercise program for people with PD.
* Eat more foods high in zinc and consider taking supplements. Foods high in
zinc include wheat germ, eggs, nuts, herring and oysters. Zinc supplementation has been shown to significantly increase superoxide
dismutase, which aids in the protection of neurons from free radicals. Invest in a good multi-mineral that includes at least
the minimum daily requirement for zinc.
* Singing, voice exercise, rhythmic and free body movements can have a significant
overall effect, increasing happiness and ability to control walking patterns.
* Investigate Chinese herbs. One herb,Banxia Heupo Tang (BHT) significantly
improved the swallowing reflex in PD in one study.
* Take coenzyme Q-10 and sesame oil. A study reported in Neurotoxicology found
that coenzyme Q-10 and N-acetylcysteine provided protection against toxicity. Coenzyme Q-10 is found in mackerel, salmon,
sardines, peanuts and spinach. You can also purchase the enzyme as a capsule in the health food store. Look for a liquid or
oil form that contains a small amount of vitamin E to preserve the coenzyme. N-acetylcysteine helps detoxify harmful toxins
the body. (Caution: do not use if you have diabetes because it is capable of
*Start eating vegetarian. Animal
fat and cholesterol are associated with PD while fat of plant origin (olive oil, sesame oil) isn't. Fruits and vegetables
will also help clear toxins and rebuild tissue.
* Drink green tea. Green tea has
neuro-protective properties and has been shown to guard against neurotoxins.
* Take vitamin C and E. These
vitamins are antioxidants that offer protection against the free radicals produced by L-dopa.
Taking these vitamins before symptoms appear may protect against the condition developing (Archives of Neurology).Take
l,000 to 3,000 mg a day of vitamin C and 800 mg a day of vitamin E. Leafy greens, whole grains, nuts and other foods rich
in vitamin E may help prevent Parkinson's disease, according to a new review of eight studies. The review was published online
in the June 2005 issue of the British journal The Lancet Neurology.
*Eat foods high in lycopene. A
study reported in Movement Disorders found an association between lycopene, found in tomatoes and tomato products, and protecting
against PD risks.
*Maintain bone strength. Take calcium citrate, the most absorbable form. Make
sure you get at least 1200 mg a day and eat calcium-rich foods that are easy to absorb including broccoli, kale, green leafy
vegetables, tomatoes, whole wheat bread, yogurt, canned sardines, molasses, almonds, soy milk, buttermilk, and tofu.
*Eat foods rich in B vitamins. Foods rich in B vitamins can elevate mood and
reduce tingling or burning sensations in the feet or legs. Eat more sunflower seeds, rolled oats, lima beans, soybeans, raisins,
wheat germ, peas, whole-wheat-flour foods, asparagus, brown rice, chicken, peanuts, spinach (raw), kale, eggs, tuna, turkey,
salmon, mackerel, sweet potatoes, cooked cabbage, bananas, sardines, trout, sea vegetables (dulse, kombu, kelp, wakame), fermented
soy foods (tempeh, natto, miso), fresh green uncooked vegetables, lobster, broccoli,
cauliflower, sesame seeds, mushrooms, yogurt (plain, low-fat), oranges, grapefruits,
peaches, lettuce and molasses.
These are all self-care actions you can take to be well with Parkinson's.