The Two Best Ways To Prevent Parkinsons Disease
For Immediate Release May 13, 2021
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that affects the body and how it moves.
It begins with tremors, stiffness and balance problems that get worse with time. In addition, many people with Parkinson’s disease feel tired, depressed, constipated, have trouble sleeping and can lose the sense of smell. They may also have trouble remembering, concentrating, learning new things, as well as have trouble talking or making decisions that affect their everyday life. Many people with Parkinson’s disease also have difficulty walking which can put them at increased risk of falls.
Both men and women can get Parkinson’s disease, but it is 50% more common in men. Most often, the disease first shows signs around age 60, but some people develop “early-onset” Parkinson’s, which begins around age 50. Prevalence rates in the United States rise from 1% of the population at age 60 to 3% at age 80.
Although the exact cause for Parkinson’s Disease is not known, environmental factors and genetics are thought to play a significant role. Research is underway to learn more. Researchers have also been trying to discover ways to prevent Parkinson’s disease or slow it down. So far, only two theories have shown to be helpful: exercise and diet.
Kiranmayi Adimoolam, MD, FAAFP is a family and senior care physician at UM Baltimore Washington Medical Group Adult and Senior Care at Pasadena. She can be reached at 410-553-2900.
In This Section:
I Wanted Better Than This
Although I was getting worse very slowly I was still noticing it.
That shaking of the hands was very real.
Slowness in my movements had gradually become more noticeable.
And I was developing other classic symptoms.
Low moods and anxiety.
My sense of smell started to weaken.
Failure to recall how Id spent yesterday complete loss of recall about my own wedding recognizing faces but not remembering names
We joke about these things and put them down to age.
But when theres a diagnosed condition that is actively robbing you of physical and mental abilities thats no joke at all.
I knew this condition led to physical disability.
I also knew it led to mental disability.
I was scared, to be honest.
Scared to be a burden. Scared to lose my ability to control my own body.
Scared to watch my life deteriorating before my eyes.
Try The Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet is characterized by a high fat intaketypically 80 to 90 percent of total caloriesmoderate protein intake, and a very low carbohydrate intake. Originally developed as a treatment for refractory epilepsy in children, the ketogenic diet has exploded in popularity in recent years.
A growing body of clinical research shows the health benefits of the ketogenic diet, including weight loss and improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors. However, some of the most exciting findings related to the ketogenic diet deals with its impact on neurological diseases like Parkinsons. In animal models of PD, the ketogenic diet reduces mitochondrial damage and improves motor function. In humans, the diet improves both motor and non-motor symptoms of PD. There are two primary ways the ketogenic diet alleviates symptoms of PD:
- Ketones are an alternative fuel source for the brain. The human brain typically relies on glucose for energy. In PD, part of the process required to produce energy from glucose is impaired, making glucose an inefficient fuel source. Ketones bypass that process and are readily taken up by the brain, so they serve as an efficient alternative energy source for neurons.
- Ketone metabolism decreases oxidative stress in the brain and reduces neuroinflammation, thus alleviating two of the underlying causes of PD.
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How To Prevent Parkinsons Disease With Diet And Lifestyle
Unfortunately, the conventional treatments available for Parkinsons disease are limited to surgical interventions and medications that come with numerous side effects. But a growing body of research indicates that there are many modifiable risk factors associated with the condition, providing us with clues as to what measures we can take to prevent the onset of the disease. Read on to learn how to prevent Parkinsons disease by using evidence-based dietary and lifestyle interventions.
How Can Protein Affect My Medication
In some people, protein may interfere with the effects of their levodopa medication. Therefore its generally advised that you should take your Parkinsons medication at least 30 to 45 minutes before meals.
Some people with Parkinsons have told us that their medication is less affected by some milk alternatives, such as rice milk, although there is no actual evidence to support this.
You may also find it helpful to:
- reduce the amount of protein you eat earlier in the day. This may help to increase the response your body has to the medication and avoid unpredictable motor fluctuations
- eat your main protein meal in the evening, as a slower response to medication may not be as
- important as at other times of the day
- If you do wish to review the timing of your protein intake, you should talk to your GP, specialist or
- Parkinsons nurse, or ask to see a registered dietitian.
You shouldnt stop eating protein altogether as its vital to help your body renew itself and fight infection. Reducing protein may cause dangerous weight loss.
We cant list all the possible side effects of all Parkinsons drugs here, but some Parkinsons medication may cause:
- nausea and vomiting
- dry mouth
These side effects may interfere with your appetite, which may lead to you eating and drinking less. A dietitian may be able to advise you on how to manage these symptoms, especially if they affect your normal appetite.
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Foods High In Saturated Fat
The role that foods high in saturated fats play in Parkinsons progression is still under investigation and is often conflicting. We might eventually discover that there are certain types of saturated fats that actually help people with Parkinsons.
But in general, foods that have been fried or heavily processed alter your metabolism, increase blood pressure, and impact your cholesterol. None of those things are good for your body, especially if youre trying to treat Parkinsons.
Im Not A Medical Rebel
Now I should point out here that I am not the kind of person who second-guesses his doctor!
I trust professionals and experts. They studied for years. They do the research. They know plenty.
But their most effective meds came with unpleasant side-effects.
And those meds would become less effective as time wore on.
They would work for a while and then theyd start failing.
And as they failed my health would fail even more.
What kind of future is that?
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Take Prebiotics And Probiotics
Gut dysbiosis plays a pivotal role in the development and progression of Parkinsons disease. Accordingly, probiotics have the potential to help with onset of the disease, as well as management of its symptoms. A combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, L. reuteri, and L. fermentum has been found to relieve constipation, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve antioxidant status in people with PD, thus correcting several of the characteristic features of the disease.
Prebiotics, fermentable fibers that feed beneficial gut bacteria, may be another useful intervention for preventing Parkinsons disease. FOS and GOS, two types of prebiotic fibers, increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein important for neuronal protection, survival, and plasticity. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is abnormally low in Parkinsons disease patients boosting its levels may have neuroprotective effects.
Parkinsons Disease: Dr Chris On How To Spot Early Signs
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Parkinsons disease is a condition that causes the brain to become progressively more damaged over time, said the NHS. You could lower your risk of the neurodegenerative conditions symptoms by avoiding certain fruits, its been revealed.
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Eight Causes Of Parkinsons Disease
Many scientists and doctors dream of developing a cure for Parkinsons disease. However, the reality is that Parkinsons disease is caused by multiple factors and therefore is unlikely to respond to a single therapy.
we can make more progress and improve quality of life by addressing the many underlying causes of Parkinsons disease
Foods To Avoid When Nauseous
Nausea is a common side effect of some Parkinson’s medications, namely Levodopa medications, such as Sinemet®, carbidopa/levodopa extended-release capsules or carbidopa/levodopa/entacapone . These medicines are best absorbed by the body when taken on an empty stomach, but that tends to make nausea worse.
Doctors often recommend taking these drugs either a half hour before a meal or an hour or more after eating. This helps balance the need to reduce nausea by making sure the drug is metabolized at an optimal level. Some people also find that it helps to eat a few crackers or a piece of bread before taking their drugs.
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Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Parkinsons may lead to gain weight due to reduced mobility. Being overweight can strain your joints which can in turn make moving around more difficult. If this happens you may be advised to watch your diet and control the calories you consume, for example by avoiding fried foods, sweet desserts, cakes, biscuits and sugary drinks.
More commonly, people with Parkinsons lose weight. If you lose weight this may be due to a number of factors loss of appetite, difficulty eating or swallowing, nausea, using extra energy to cope with symptoms such as dyskinesia or your body may not absorb nutrients efficiently. Various medications may also affect your body weight.
The following suggestions may help increase your calorie intake:
- Try eating four or five small but appetising meals a day, with a snack between each meal.
- Incorporate a little more butter, cream, peanut butter, milkshakes, biscuits, chocolate and dessert, but make sure you take good care of your teeth if you eat a lot of sugary food!
- Add three or four tablespoons of milk powder to half a litre of full cream milk to make it more nutritious.
- Try nutritious drinks specially formulated to easily increase calorie intake.
- Eat food that you like as you are likely to consume more.
- If you find cutlery difficult to use, try to have some meals that you can manage with your fingers or using only a spoon.
What Are The Best Foods To Eat For Parkinsons Disease
If you had a healthy diet before being diagnosed with Parkinsons, theres a good chance you dont have to overhaul your eating habits very much. But there are a few additional considerations you should be aware of.
The Parkinsons Foundation recommends eating a diet thats full of grains like brown rice and breads vegetables fruits, including berries and sliced apples and lean protein like beans. Collectively, these foods provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and complex carbohydrates to help you lower your intake of fat and maintain a healthy weight while giving your body the nutrients it needs.
The Mediterranean Diet has become popular in Parkinsons disease, and we recommend it to a lot of our patients, Subramanian says. We also recommend the Mind Diet, which is low in salt and is designed to improve brain function. Generally, its best to avoid processed foods and foods with artificial or simple sugars. Try to stay as much as you can in a whole-food and plant-based diet.
In addition, following the guidelines established by the US Department of Agriculture MyPlate program will enable you to have a balanced diet that provides your body with the energy, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber it needs for good health. For example, eating meals rich in calcium, magnesium, and vitamins D and K can help strengthen bones, which is especially important given that Parkinsons disease can increase your risk of bone-thinning.
- Certain nuts, like almonds
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Thankfully None Of This Is Going To Happen
Which is what I want to tell you about now. So let me start by reassuring you of this:
I feel fine. Absolutely fine.
In some ways, Im happier and more positive than I was before I got that initial shocking diagnosis.
My hands no longer shake. I sleep like a lamb. And I recall all the important details about my life or what I did this morning! with ease.
Second, theres a reason I feel this way. And its to do with how Ive actively worked on my condition.
What About Pesticides On Produce
Certain pesticides and herbicides increase the risk of Parkinsons. For this reason, we highly recommend reading Ending Parkinsons Disease to learn about chemicals linked to Parkinsons and join PD Avengers to participate in global efforts to limit or ban these chemicals.
Though we know that some pesticides and herbicides can cause Parkinsons, its unclear whether these chemicals affect the progression of the disease once someone is diagnosed. Still, its always a good idea to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them. You may also want to consider the Environmental Working Groups Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which includes a list of fruits and vegetables that are lower in pesticides. There are also organic options available at grocery stores and farmers markets. You can also try growing your own produce! Gardening is a great activity for improving physical and mental health.
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Three Foods To Avoid With Parkinsons Disease
The Role of Nutrition in Parkinsons Disease
Some of you may be familiar with the long term effects of Parkinsons Disease from having experienced it first hand with a loved one or friend or known someone whose had it. Over 7 million people worldwide have the disease, 50,000 new cases are reportedly yearly and as the population ages that number will increase. The average age ranges from 45 to 60 years but early onset can occur from age 30 plus. Parkinsons affects more men than women.
It is a disabling neurodegenerative illness that affects mobility and mental function and can take 15 to 25 years to progress. It is a result of cell damage to the nerves in the area of the brain, the substantia nigra of the basal ganglia, located in the core of the brain that controls muscle tension and movement. When damaged nerves cannot produce the neurotransmitter dopamine responsible for suppressing uncontrolled movements, it triggers a signal that produces a shaky tremor.
Initial symptoms are tremors or pill rolling as if a person is rolling a pill with their fingers, weakness in the limbs, hands and head that intermittently shake and walking with a stiff unbalanced gait or shuffling steps. As the illness progresses the symptoms become more severe with limited mobility and speech.
In a 2014 clinical study released by Frontiers of Aging Neuroscience found that several food types should be avoided.
WHAT ARE THE BEST FOODS TO EAT FOR PD?
Foods To Avoid When Constipated
Constipation is a common problem for people with Parkinsons disease, often due to decreased gastric motility, a slowing of the natural movement of food from the stomach into the intestines.1,3
Foods that may make constipation worse include low-fiber choices such as:
- white rice
- red meat, such as beef, hot dogs, bacon, or sausage
Beverages to avoid include anything with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, or sodas. Alcohol is not recommended because it dehydrates your body, which can make constipation worse.
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Eating When Youre Tired
If you donât have energy for meals later in the day, you can:
Pick foods that are easy to fix, and save your energy for eating. If you live with your family, let them help you make your meal.
Look into a delivery service. Some grocery stores have them. Or you can check if you might be able to get food delivered from your local Meals on Wheels program for free or for a small fee.
Keep healthy snack foods on hand, like fresh fruit and vegetables or high-fiber cold cereals.
Freeze extra portions of what you cook so you have a quick meal when you feel worn out.
Rest before you eat so you can enjoy your meal. And eat your biggest meal early in the day to fuel yourself for later.
Diet And Parkinson’s Medications
You should always discuss with your doctor, or Parkinsons nurse if you have one, when to take your medications. Most medications can be taken at any time and do not need to be specially timed in relation to meals. You may find sipping a drink makes it easier to swallow your tablets but avoid milk, a protein, when taking levodopa.
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How To Prevent Parkinson’s Disease
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.There are 23 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 34,160 times.