Nutritional Support for Parkinson’s Disease

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#Parkinson’s disease is the fastest growing #neurological condition in the world, it is progressive and chronic and currently there is no cure. In its most advance stages, it can necessitate around the clock care, with patients experiencing both #motor and non-motor impairments. Published in the Journal of Restorative Medicine researchers from Maryland University of Integrative Health have recently reviewed several potentially beneficial foods and bioactive substances for patients with Parkinson’s disease (#PD), as well as those items that may contribute to or exacerbate symptoms.

The most important factor highlighted was the need for early detection of PD symptoms, even without a diagnosis, this early identification was shown to better enable nutritional and lifestyle changes that support reductions in #neuroinflammation and #neurodegeneration. Several studies have suggested that a diet focused on #whole foods, with a variety of vegetables, low sugar fruits, quality protein, healthy fat intake, and complex carbohydrates, can positively influence both motor and non-motor functions as well as protect against inflammation and neurodegeneration. Anti-inflammatory diets need to be tailored towards a patient’s symptoms and should include food groups that positively affect neural pathways, such as #omega-3 fatty acids, #curcumin, #flavonoids, #B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, #choline, antioxidant combinations, and #selenium.

The article goes on to examine various other food groups including nightshade vegetables with naturally occurring nicotine that may reduce PD risks, as well as green tea and red wine, which have shown #neuroprotective results. #Caffeine was also found to be able to maintain blood-brain barrier integrity, that can be compromised by PD, though very high intake can cause a hypertensive crisis. With evidence suggesting disruptions in the intestinal barrier and gut microbiome are involved in PD pathogenesis, a diet rich in #prebiotic foods should benefit motor function. In contrast to these food groups, others were found to have a detrimental effect on PD symptoms, these included #dairy, trans fatty acids, #refined #sugar, and artificial #sweeteners.

The authors of the piece felt it important that clinicians should assess vitamin D and B12 status as well as inflammation, essential fatty acid status, insulin resistance, and gut microbiome health as early as possible and supplement accordingly. PD is a devastating, progressive neurodegenerative condition, but multiple nutrition and supplement interventions show promise for positively affecting disease onset and progression.

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