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It is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder; the disorder usually manifests itself in
three main symptoms:
(1) Bradykinesia - slowness of movement,
(2) Rigidity - a stiffness of muscles
(3) Resting tremor. These are caused by the loss of a chemical neurotransmitter called dopamine contained in brain cells.
In the 1960’s it was shown that orally administered dopamine, increased the amount of dopamine in the brain and improved the symptoms of PD, as well as to prolong the effect of L-DOPA, further improved the ability to manage the basic motor difficulties associated with PD.
Motor impairment and lack of dopamine are only a part of PD, which has been shown to involve changes in many areas of the brain as well as the peripheral autonomic nervous system, which controls blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, and other involuntary functions, and the network of nerves that serves the gut. These widespread pathologic changes result in a diverse complex of symptoms affecting many aspects of the PD patient’s life. Sleep is often disturbed and daytime sleepiness a common problem. Violent dreams occur in over 50 percent of PD patients and sometimes precede the appearance of motor symptoms by up to two decades. Loss of smell and chronic constipation represent other common difficulties. Bladder dysfunction with urgency and the need for frequent urination at night are major contributors to diminished quality of life. Patients with PD commonly experience depression and anxiety as an integral part of their disorder. Fatigue and dizziness may be- a result of sudden drops in blood pressure. In later stages of PD, dementia, psychosis and imbalance with falls can have major impacts on the life of the patient and those caring for them.
Eat a balanced diet
Eating properly involves eating regularly, eating a variety of foods from all of the food groups (grains, vegetables, fruit, milk/ dairy, meat/beans) and eating prudently to maintain a healthy weight., implementing it can be a challenge, particularly if you have a hectic lifestyle or if the symptoms of Parkinson's are affecting your ability to shop, prepare food and eat.
If you are not eating as well as you should, you may wish to consult a dietitian who can help assess your food intake and discuss with you strategies for improving your diet, and to keep easy-to-eat, nutritious foods on hand. If you have any problems with depression, this can interfere with appetite.
Maintain bone health
People with Parkinson's are prone to osteoporosis. Risk factors for osteoporosis include older age, low body weight, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, limited exposure to sunlight, inadequate intake of vitamin D and calcium and lack of weight-bearing exercise.
Osteoporosis can be especially worrisome to a person with Parkinson's who faces an increased risk of falling. The inevitable result is an increased risk of fractures, which are dangerous and painful and tend to be detrimental to one's quality of life.
To maintain bone health, make sure your diet includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D.
People who are over the age of 50 should consume 1500 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D daily. Milk and milk products are the richest dietary source of calcium.
You can also obtain vitamin D by getting outdoors regularly and consuming foods rich in vitamin D, yogurt or breakfast cereals and fatty fish). Or, use of a nutritional supplement is recommended.
Maintain bowel regularity
Constipation is common in Parkinson's disorder, prevention and treatment of constipation is critical, as severe constipation can lead to bowel obstruction, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Although the constipation observed in Parkinson's is due in large part to the disorder itself, lifestyle measures can be useful for managing it. These include eating foods high in fiber (whole grain bread, bran cereals or muffins, fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes and prunes) and drinking plenty of fluid. Then there is exercise, which helps maintain bone density as well as eases constipation.
Balance medications and food
The medications used for Parkinson’s can themselves cause nutrition-related side-effects, such as nausea and poor appetite & can lead to undesired weight loss.
Amino acids (from dietary protein) can interfere with the uptake of levodopa into the brain.
Do not use a restricted-protein diet; if you find you have one, is usually with the timing of the protein intake, not its total quantity over the course of the day.
Coenzyme Q10- is one nutritional supplement that is of considerable interest and it has potential benefit in Parkinson's disorder.
Magnesium- is a mineral that acts as a natural relaxant. Some indications of deficiency are: muscle tremors or spasm, muscle weakness, insomnia or nervousness, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, constipation, hyperactivity, depression. Magnesium’s role in supporting good sleep may also be quite important here, since many people with Parkinson’s experience poor sleep patterns.
Increased tea consumption is correlated with reduced incidence of dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's disorder, Green tea contains valuable antioxidant Polyphenols known to be protective against a host of chronic age related conditions. There is tremendous scientific interest in green tea and its active compound Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) as a neuroprotectant in Parkinson's disorder; especially since when compared to many drugs, EGCG is extremely effective at penetrating brain tissue.
Other Promising Nutrients
Curcumin, a derivative of the spices turmeric and cumin, is a natural inhibitor of inflammation. It prevents chemically induced changes of Parkinson's disorder and exerts significant
The antioxidant hormone melatonin (synthesized and secreted by the pineal gland) may help to reduce the accumulation of alpha-synuclein proteins while preserving the cell's ability to make dopamine. It is also an invaluable sleep aid for Parkinson's patients, who often suffer from distressing problems with sleep
N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a precursor to the potent cellular antioxidant glutathione. In animals models NAC prevents dopamine induced neurotoxicity and protects against some of the damaging effects of alpha-synuclein proteins
Lipoic acid, a potent reducing agent, is considered a universal antioxidant due to its amphipathic nature (both fat- and water-soluble). Lipoic acid is produced naturally within the body and contributes to xenobiotic detoxification and antioxidant protection. It also contributes to cellular energy production. In addition to its ability to directly neutralize toxins and free radicals, lipoic acid bolsters levels of other cellular protectants such as glutathione and vitamin E.
The low molecular weight of lipoic acid allows it to easily cross the blood-brain barrier, delivering neuroprotection within the central nervous system. Lipoic acid also combats inflammatory reactions. However, given its potential for efficacy and excellent safety profile, lipoic acid should be considered as a therapeutic agent for Parkinson's disorder.
Probiotics - Because dopaminergic signaling exerts considerable influence over intestinal function, constipation is a common problem in Parkinson's disorder. Probiotic therapy significantly increased the number of normal stools as well as reduced the incidence of bloating and abdominal pain with the patients.
Coffee - may be protective against Parkinson’s, particularly in men); green tea; a variety of fruits and vegetables; foods rich in vitamin E such as wheat germ; nuts and seeds; and vegetable oil. If the antioxidants present do not help with Parkinson’s symptoms, they may help with some other aspect of health so there is certainly no reason not to use them.
Parkinson's symptoms vary from person to person and by stage of disorder. Each person must set nutritional priorities based on the issues they face. In early Parkinson’s, we should all emphasize eating well and maintaining a healthy weight. As the disorder progresses, we should adjust our diets to manage specific new symptoms as they emerge (such as swallowing difficulties, medication side-effects, bowel issues and eating challenges).
Reflux and heart burn can be reduced by being aware that some foods, especially those that are high in fat will take longer to digest slowing the movement through the alimentary tract. Many people who are experiencing these difficulties may need to use medications to reduce the gastric secretions in the stomach. Walking or sitting upright following meals will also assist in alleviating this symptom.
To help manage constipation, dietary fiber can be increased by adding extra fiber into the diet.. Monitoring that you are regular and the stool is soft is important. Constipation is easily treated and may require the addition of a laxative, which will help avoid these difficulties.
Some ways of optimising swallow include minimising distractions during meals so that you can concentrate more on eating and swallowing. Taking regular sips of fluid or ensuring that your food is moist will help lubricate the swallow. Having smaller frequent meals or avoiding foods that require a lot of chewing can help if swallowing is affected by fatigue.
The most important point to remember is that good nutrition is based upon a balanced diet including a variety of foods from the main food groups.
Increase fibre and fluids to assist in managing constipation
Avoid hard to digest foods, such as fatty foods which may increase reflux and heartburn.
Avoid protein rich foods with, when you take your medications
Keep an eye on your weight and seek advice from a dietitian if weight loss occurs
Add a good quality multivitamin & omega -3 in your daily supplements.
The following products are recommended for bringing order to the Lifestyle Disorders.
Supplements for Parkinson
Dosage recommendation can be sought from our specialist at My HealthWorks Clinics/ Telephonically.