A recent study found that giving folks the equivalent of about two cups of coffee a day worth of caffeine significantly improved symptoms of the disease. These drugs appear to work no better than plain caffeine, which is dramatically cheaper and probably safer. This may be partially because of pollutants that magnify up the food chain into the meat and dairy supply, but it could also be from the protective phytonutrients in healthy plant foods. These cells make dopamine from L-dopa derived from an amino acid in our diet. Thus, a plant-based diet would be expected to raise levodopa bioavailability and bring some advantages in the management of the disease through two mechanisms: reduced animal protein intake and an increased fiber intake. So researchers put folks on a strictly vegan diet, saving beans for the end of the day, and indeed found a significant improvement in symptoms. Michael Greger, M.
Loss of dopamine affects movement, both of skeletal muscle and the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal GI tract. Individuals with PD may experience frequent falls Dolinis et al. Individuals with PD have been found to have a higher incidence of bone thinning and fractures than age-matched control groups Ishizaki et al. Loss of the olfactory sense and sense of taste are frequently present Huttenbrink, ; Hawkes et al. These, along with other factors, may contribute to the high rate of unplanned weight loss in this population Markus et al. There are also indications that B vitamin deficiencies may be of concern, although the causes are not clearly understood. In , Bender et al. Long-time users of levodopa-carbidopa have since been found to have increased levels of serum homocysteine Kuhn et al.
Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? Is your pantry stocked with whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes? As a movement disorder specialist, Dr. We talked with him to get his dietary advice. When exercise became recognized as a potential way to affect progression, I started talking to patients about it. I also started investigating whether nutrition could play a role in slowing disease progression as well. Most current theories regarding the cause of PD include chronic inflammation and oxidative injury. Therefore, it makes sense to me that a plant-based diet, loaded with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative compounds could slow disease progression. The evidence is pretty overwhelming that a plant-based, whole food diet is the foundation of healthy nutrition.