Helpful Natural Supplements and Treatments
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a slowly progressive, degenerative neurologic disorder that affects muscle control. It is caused by the degeneration of a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This region of the brain is responsible for the production of the neurotransmitter, dopamine. Reduced dopamine production leads to reduced activation of the nerve cells responsible for normal muscle activity. Symptoms may start with infrequent blinking, lack of facial expression, and deliberateness of speech, then progress to trembling of the arms and legs, muscular rigidity, and poor balance, and finally resulting in the inability to walk or talk, paranoia, delirium, and dementia. The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown, but possible factors include genetics, exposure to environmental poisons (pesticides and insecticides, carbon monoxide, carbon disulfide, manganese), viral infection, head trauma, free radicals, and some medications.
SUPPLEMENTS FOR PARKINSON’S DISEASE*
There are many natural supplements that may help with Parkinson’s Disease. Consult with your healthcare provider to see which of the following supplements may be appropriate for you.*PLEASE NOTE: It is very important to make sure that supplements do not interfere with your medications or an existing health condition. First check with your doctor before trying any supplements.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamin E: A higher intake of the natural form of this fat-soluble vitamin is associated with a decreased incidence of Parkinson’s. The synthetic form may not be helpful.
Creatine: Supplementing with this high-energy molecule may slow the progression of PD and also increase exercise tolerance.
CoQ10: This coenzyme is a link in the electron transport chain, where the high-energy molecule, ATP, is manufactured. Several studies have shown that supplementing with CoQ10 may slow the functional decline in Parkinson’s patients.
Octacosanol: Classified as a waxy alcohol found in wheat germ, octacosanol may improve symptoms associated with PD.
Phenylalanine: Supplementing with this essential amino acid (EAA) may sometimes reduce Parkinson’s symptoms.
Less Helpful: tyrosine.
Treatment includes medications (L-dopa or levodopa, dopamine agonists, anticholinergics, antidepressants), physical therapy, and surgery. Drinking caffeinated beverages (coffee, cola, tea) reduces the risk for PD. Exercise regularly, such as walking. It is very important to stretch the muscles, making yoga very helpful.
Jellin, JM, editor. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 2008.
John Pillepich. The Nutraceutical Reference Guide, 2005.
FOR PARKINSON’S DISEASE, CONSIDER THESE SUPPLEMENTS*
*First check with your doctor if you have a medical condition or are taking prescription medications.
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