Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a slow, progressive disorder of the central nervous system for which there is no known cure and no definitely known cause. However, an imbalance of two brain chemicals, dopamine and acetylcholine, seems to be involved.

A deficiency of dopamine in the brain can be due to underlying nutritional deficiencies, cerebral vascular disease (blockage of blood vessels in brain), side effects of anti-psychotic drugs, carbon monoxide poisoning, abuse of certain designer drugs, and a rare infection (encephalitis lethargica).

There are four major symptoms of Parkinson's disease slowness of movement, muscular rigidity, resting tremor, and a shuffling, unbalanced walk and postural instability that progresses into uncontrollable tiny, running steps to keep from falling.

What To Consider

The first sign of Parkinson's disease is usually a slight tremor in a hand, arm, or leg. The tremor is most noticeable during rest. It improves with movement, and is completely absent during sleep, and becomes worse during times of fatigue and stress. In most peoples with Parkinson's disease, the tremor starts in one hand and resembles the motion one makes when trying to roll a pill between the fingers; thus, it is called a "pill-rolling tremor." The jaw, tongue, forehead, and eyelids can also exhibit tremor.

Another early sign is a severe decrease eye blinking. As Parkinson's disease progresses, the body becomes stiffer, weaker, and the initial tremors may spread to both sides of the body, and result in a shaking of the head, a mask-like expression on the face in which the eyes do not blink (known as a Parkinsonian mask), and a permanent, rigid, bent-over posture. Speech becomes difficult, slurred and slow. Depression and dementia can also occur as normal daily activities become increasingly difficult to perform.

Left untreated, over time (usually years) Parkinson's can lead to severe incapacitation. Treatment with complicated drug combinations and mobility exercises can reduce the progression and severity of the disease.

Levodopa and Sinemet are the two most commonly used drugs for treating Parkinson's disease, but Levodopa is made ineffective if taken with vitamin B6. (Sinemet does not have this problem.) Using vitamin B6 alone can be just as effective in some individuals in the initial stages of the disease. Levodopa should also be taken away from protein meals, which decrease its effectiveness.

Note
Parkinson's disease has been associated with toxic buildup of heavy metals in the body, especially mercury from dental amalgams. To slow the progression of Parkinson's amalgam fillings should be replaced, followed by a detoxification program.

Caution

Parkinson's disease requires immediate and ongoing professional medical attention.

Self-Care Tips

Diet
Eat an organic, whole foods diet with raw foods (50% to 75%), emphasizingdark green leafy vegetables, rutabagas, sprouts, sesame seeds, and sesame butter. Also drink plenty of pure, filtered water.

People using the drug levodopa should avoid or minimize their intake of foods that are rich in vitamin B6 - whole grains, oats, raw nuts (especially peanuts), bananas, potatoes, liver, and fish.

Nutritional Supplementation
Assessment of individual amino acids is important. Consult an orthomolecular Health Guru. Other useful nutrients include GABA, calcium, and magnesium, vitamin B complex (taken away from Levodopa), lecithin vitamin C, vitamin E, evening primrose oil, multivitamin/mineral complex, and DHEA (a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands). The coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) (25-50 mg per) day administered intravenously has also been shown to produce a beneficial effect in patients with Parkinson's.

Herbs
Passionflower can enhance the positive effects of the drug L-dopa (levodopa), producing a greater reduction in tremor. The Ayurvedic herb Mucuna pruriens, a natural form of levadopa, can also be helpful.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

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