What is Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson's disease is an auto-immune, neurodegenerative disorder where movement is affected and impaired in the body.
David Sulzer, PhD, professor of neurobiology at CUMC asserts: "two fragments of alpha-synuclein, a protein that accumulates in the brain cells of people with Parkinson's, can activate the T cells involved in autoimmune attacks."
Although there is no one known cause of Parkinson's Disease, contributing factors can include the following:
- Exposure to toxins in environment (water, air, soil, food products
- Malnutrition and nutrient-deficiency
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Lack of adequate detoxification in the body
Parkinson's is a progressive and chronic illness that typically becomes more acute over time. Because progression in each person is unique and dependent upon various factors such as nutrition, toxicity exposure and genetic susceptibility, individuals' response to treatment can vary significantly over time.
Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease
- Trembling or tremor
- Rigidity and stiffness of the core (trunk) area, as well as arms and legs
- Slowed and/or impaired movement
- Loss of control / balance and movement coordination
- Speaking challenges
- Skin changes
- Sleep disturbance
- Digestive disorders including diarrhea and constipation
Conventional treatments tend to focus on pharmaceutical intervention and some experimental stimulatory surgical procedures to the brain. Natural alternatives to Parkinson's and other auto-immune disorders are promising and can prevent further deterioration into progressive disease states.
How is Parkinson's Disease typically treated?
According to the American Parkinson's Disease Association, no cure exists for the disease, but a number of treatments are used to ease symptoms. Medications and other treatments are commonly used along with physical, speech and occupational therapy. In some instances, surgeries and experimental treatments are used including Deep Brain Stimulation.
The conventional approach is also now using more complimentary therapies for Parkinson's symptoms and treatment. Drugs for symptom management include Carbidopa/Levodopa. These have been used in combination with other classes of medications including Dopamine Agonists, COMT Inhibitors, MAO Inhibitors, and Anticholinergic agents. Treatment is unique to the individual and adjusted ongoing dependent upon symptoms and side effects.
Because pharmaceutical drugs expose patients to side-effects, we recommend considering a natural approach to healing the body that addresses underlying causes of disease for reduction and elimination of symptoms associated with Parkinson's Disease.
Dietary / lifestyle changes for Parkinson's disease
- Eliminate conventional processed, packaged foods
- Avoid industrial, artificial fats including canola, corn, cottonseed and soybean oil
- Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners
- Reduce or avoid grains, gluten, soy, and corn unless organically-sourced and traditionally prepared (soaked, sprouted or fermented). Soy should only be consumed as a condiment, from organic sources, and fermented (not sprouted).
- Consume more organically-sourced foods
- Include Omega 3 essential fatty acid foods including grassfed and finished meats, pasture-raised poultry and eggs, cod liver oil, and safe-sourced seafood
- Include real, traditional fats including pastured butter and ghee, grassfed and finished tallow from beef, pasture-raised chicken fat (schmaltz), olive, coconut and sustainable-produced palm oil
- Eat foods containing selenium which can help pull/remove mercury from the body such as Brazil nuts and foods from animals and birds raised on pasture, organically-produced vegetables and legumes (see list above)
- Sulfuric containing vegetables including onions, garlic, and leeks, and cruciferous vegetables: cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, collard greens, kale, beets, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts. Avoid consuming raw. Instead, cook with a traditional fat or consume these foods in fermented form (processed in salt)
- Consume bone broth from pastured animals and birds (beef, chicken, turkey, game meats, lamb, and also wild-caught fish)
- Consume fermented foods with probiotic content such as sauerkraut, pickles and other cultured vegetables, yogurt, sour cream and cream cheese from raw dairy foods, and fermented beverages such as beet kvass (a Ukrainian beverage made of beets, salt and water), kombucha, dairy and water kefir.
- IMPORTANT: protein intake: we all need protein but too in isolation (especially without corresponding fat and saturated fat for optimal absorption) can be dangerous. This is particularly true of Parkinson's patients. If you are taking the medication Levodopa, be aware that this drug competes with protein for absorption in the small intestine. If you are unable to discontinue use of this or other drugs, it is recommended to reduce protein and also increase saturated fat intake.
- Use a water filter or purification system for drinking and bathing - contaminated water is a source of chronic disease and illness. Municipal and unfiltered water systems contain a variety of harmful substances including heavy metals, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl, human-produced chemicals created in chlorination of Biphenyl banned in 1979 but still persistent in the environment)
- Avoid GMOs (genetically modified organisms), pervasive in our environment. GMO crops include canola, soybean, cottonseed, corn and other foods including meats, poultry and dairy foods which come from animals in confinement, consuming these feeds instead of their natural diet. Consuming GM substances has been linked to a variety of degenerative and chronic disease.
Detoxing the body of heavy metals
Avoid sources of heavy metals such as mercury, copper and manganese that accumulate body tissues which can be contributing factors in Parkinson's, including:
- Processed foods including anything with additives, chemicals and preservatives
- Pharmaceutical medication
- Unfiltered tap water
- Amalgam fillings
- Household products including cleaning commercial, and personal care
- Farmed and other fish that have high mercury and other heavy metal content including shark, larger types of tuna and swordfish
Supplements and herbs
- Basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, ginger which have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties
- Vitamin C - powerful antioxidant which can help detoxify and reduce free radicals in the body
- Magnesium oil sprayed topically - spray allows the body to absorb easier, especially in those with digestive compromise (common to those experiencing Parkinson's). Magnesium is especially effective in mitigating unpleasant symptoms associated with Parkinson's including tremor, anxiety and confusion and is a brain-support and neurotransmitter mineral and is also particularly essential to replace in the body where toxins and heavy metals become stored
- Coenzyme Q10 in grassfed and finished beef, pasture-raised poultry and wild-caught fish and organ meats. Recommended supplementation: Qunol.
- Cilantro and chlorella, organically sourced, added to meals, soups, smoothies, and fresh-squeezed, organic juices
- Selenium - take a whole food selenium such as NutriGold or eat Brazil Nuts daily
- Milk thistle and dandelion (whole plant) to support for liver detoxification - one of the body's largest elimination organs. Infusions and tea made from these herbs are also beneficial; infusions are made with part cold and part hot water and left on the counter for 4-8 hours while tea is made by steeping the herbs in hot or just boiling water for 3-5 minutes.
- Epsom and magnesium salts, or dead sea salts can be purchased at most health food stores and are an excellent way to help the body detox of heavy metals and other toxins that contribute to Parkinson's and other chronic disease.
- Bentonite clay - can be taken orally or used in detoxifying bath combinations with epsom and magnesium salts. Recommended Sonne's for internal and Redmond for detoxifiying baths.