by Keith Bishop
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive muscle impairment caused by a loss of energy production and cells in the dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra area of the brain. If not addressed, the condition leads to early disabilities and death. Prescription treatments temporarily boost dopamine but do not address the underlying causes of the disease.
Several issues damaging the brain cause Parkinson’s disease. Each of the following corrective actions is a step toward normal brain function or slowing the loss of brain cells. Failure to “assess and address” any of the following may allow the damage to the brain to progress.
Some people will have many of the following issues while some will have fewer. A natural healthcare provider can assist with testing/customizing—the assess and address—a successful brain health program.
Remove and reduce items that damage the brain or its function: Toxic metals, including lead, mercury, manganese, aluminum, and high levels of select minerals, such as iron and copper, may cause oxidative damage to brain cells.
Assess and Address: Metals and minerals can be measured with a laboratory urine test from a natural healthcare provider. Appropriate intravenous chelation and/or oral chelation is used to remove the damaging metals and minerals. Chelation should be used with professional guidance and monitoring, as potential life-threatening mineral deficiencies may occur if done inappropriately.
Pesticide and insecticide exposure and lifelong well water consumption is associated with increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Assess and Address: Test, evaluate and filter water sources. Avoid the use of pesticides and insecticides. Consume organic foods and use natural personal care products when possible.
Higher dairy food (primarily cow’s milk and cheese) increases the risk for Parkinson’s disease, especially for men. Those that drink the highest amount of milk have the highest amount of heptachlor epoxide pesticide in the brain. It’s difficult to assess, so just address by avoiding it.
Gluten found in wheat and many other grains may be an irritant to the brain and is associated with Parkinson’s, gluten and cerebellar ataxias (lack of muscle control), brain cell death and memory impairment. Those that have celiac disease (gluten destruction of the intestines) are at a higher risk for Parkinson’s and cerebellar ataxias.
Assess and Address: Tests for gluten sensitivity are not as reliable as tests for celiac disease. Gluten-free foods, recipes and menus are abundant, and it takes a little effort for most people to eliminate gluten from their diets. There are several digestive enzyme supplements designed to break down gluten particles hiding in foods.
Impaired blood glucose metabolism and insulin resistance characteristic of prediabetes and diabetes appear to be early events in Parkinson’s.
Assess and Address: Glucose blood tests for A1C (a common blood test to diagnose diabetes) should be below 5.3 and fasting blood glucose below 90. Appropriate fat loss, physical activity, carbohydrate intake and several supplements lower blood glucose.
Repair damage to the brain: Oxidative damage (similar to browning of apple slices) is elevated in Parkinson’s.
Assess and Address: Oxidative damage to fat cells (primary component of the brain) releases high levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) into the blood and urine. A simple urine test measures MDA levels. Consuming deep-hued vegetables and fruit; drinking coffee and green tea; and taking certain supplements can repair the brain and lower MDA.
Inflammation (similar to joint arthritis) causes damage to brain cells. Address the issue by taking a proven quality curcumin approved by a natural healthcare provider. Several products including curcumin are being studied, chemically modified to increase absorption and developed for future prescription drug treatment. A number of supplement companies provide scientifically proven enhanced absorption of curcumin via nano particles, oil dispersion and piperine. A natural healthcare provider will assist in product selection and dosage.
The blood supply to and from the brain carries everything we want to get into and out of the brain. Simple circulation assessments include an echocardiogram, carotid artery ultrasound and hemodynamic analysis of heart function. Some may choose to also use the DynaPulse monitor to evaluate blood flow and how well blood vessels open when blood flows through them. Address circulation issues according to natural healthcare provider recommendations.
Parkinson’s Supplements & Nutrition
Nutrients and neurotransmitters that are deficient or out of balance and brain-healthy foods will be covered in next month’s Parkinson’s article.
Keith Bishop is the clinical nutritionist at Flourish Compounding Pharmacy and Nutrition Center, 14720 N. Pennsylvania Ave., in Oklahoma City. For more information, call 405-751-3333 or visitFlourishRX.com