Complementary Medicine - Cam
Parkinson’s Disease (Holistic)
About This Condition
Get support for Parkinson’s by focusing on fitness and nutrition. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
About This Condition
Parkinson’s disease results from progressive damage to the nerves in the area of the brain responsible for controlling muscle tone and movement. The damaged cells are those needed to produce a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger in the brain) called dopamine, so people with Parkinson’s disease manufacture inadequate amounts of dopamine.
Parkinson’s disease occurs primarily, but not exclusively, in the elderly. Parkinson-like symptoms can also be caused by prescription and illicit drugs.
Symptoms include a fixed facial expression, wide-eyed stare with infrequent blinking, fluttering of the eyelids, drooling, illegible handwriting, monotone voice, and rhythmic movement of the fingers, hand, foot, or arm when at rest. People with Parkinson’s disease often have difficulty getting out of bed or a soft chair, and may tend to stand stooped over and walk leaning forward with limited arm-swing and small, shuffling steps. Depression and decreased mental functioning are also common symptoms in advanced stages.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips
People with Parkinson’s disease are at higher than normal risk for osteoporosis and vitamin D deficiency. Regular weight-bearing exercise, exposure to sunlight, and a variety of supplements and dietary changes may be helpful in preventing osteoporosis.
A twice-weekly, 14-week program of intensive exercise has been shown to significantly improve the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.1 Athletic training included resistance exercises in water to increase strength, as well as exercises increasing flexibility and balance.
There is substantial preliminary evidence that exposure to certain organochlorine insecticides (e.g., lindane [Kwell®, Kildane®, Scabene®] and dieldrin [Dieldrite]) may contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease.2 , 3 , 4 In California, death from Parkinson’s disease increased by about 40% in all Californian counties reporting use of restricted agricultural pesticides since the 1970s compared with those reporting none.5 Avoiding contact with pesticides and pesticide residues may be an important preventive measure for Parkinson’s and other diseases. Interestingly, consumption of the fat substitute olestra appears to increase elimination of certain organochlorine pesticides in the feces.6 , 7 However, no scientific studies have tested olestra as a possible treatment or preventive measure against Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, since olestra consumption may be associated with other health risks, such as depletion of beta-carotene , people with Parkinson’s should consult with their doctor before consuming products containing olestra.
The right diet is the key to managing many diseases and to improving general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.
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Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
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3. Fleming L, Mann JB, Bean J, et al. Parkinson’s disease and brain levels of organochlorine pesticides. Ann Neurol 1994;36:100–3.
4. Corrigan FM, Murray L, Wyatt CL, Shore RF. Diorthosubstituted polychlorinated biphenyls in caudate nucleus in Parkinson’s disease. Exp Neurol 1998;150:339–42.
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22. Molina JA, de Bustos F, Jimenez-Jimenez FJ, et al. Cerebrospinal fluid levels of alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) in Parkinson’s disease. J Neural Transm 1997;104:1287–93.
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Last Review: 02-05-2013
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