Category Archives: Parkinson’s nutrition

Angela’s Story

Angela is my guest on the radio show this week. As you can ascertain from her story below, she has had a fascinating journey on the road to recovery.

Angela will be available to answers questions from listeners on Thursday from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm pacific time.  Call the following toll free number to talk with her:1 (877) 590-0733 or visit the Parkinsons Recovery radio page here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/parkinsons-recovery

Angela’s History

Work as a freelance professional engineer in the pulp and paper industry. Based near Vancouver BC but work mainly overseas, particularly in Chile and in New Zealand.

In 2009, I won the Beloit Prize, the highest honour for engineering in the pulp and paper industry.

Have had previous training as a therapist in Hakomi body centered psychotherapy.

Was a trainer in “Living Love” method as described by Ken Keyes Junior in his book “The Power of Unconditional Love” and others. Ken taught that true happiness is uncaused, that no one or nothing is ever made us upset are unhappy. This is really good news since I realized I could change myself whereas it is impossible to change anyone else.

Living Love has really helped me with my PD. I don’t have to demand that I not have it, with all the attendant negative emotions. I can prefer to be PD free and work to that goal without negativity.

For many years, was an adept meditator. Spent much of my spare time on the spiritual journey visiting spiritual communities around the world.

My hobby and passion is fine wine. I am a past president of the American Wine Society. I know that many people with PD have lost their ability to smell but I still have mine. The result of long, intense training?

My outlook on life is decidedly optimistic. I am a “reverse paranoid” as I believe that everyone is out there to make me happy!

2006

First symptoms 2006 at age 59: cramped handwriting and frozen right shoulder.

Over the years my handwriting has remained cramped but my right shoulder has thawed. The tremor in my right hand has increased from virtually nothing in 2006 to intermittently bothersome in 2010.

Saw a neurologist in December 2006. Possible Parkinson’s. I rejected this out of hand as it was obvious that I have a “pinched nerve”.

Part of me still wants to believe the pinched nerve theory.

2007

Went for a second opinion. Saw another neurologist in May 2007. Diagnosis: idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. This was a terrible moment in my life as the urologist was almost gleeful when he told me what I had, as if he had solved some great mystery. I felt like I had been shot with a cannon.

On the recommendation of my neurologist, I started on Mirapex, a dopamine agonist. Dreadful side effects: somnolence, insomnia, nausea. Just about everything except compulsive gambling. I stopped taking Mirapex after four weeks and vowed to never again take a Parkinson’s medication.

It is as if the Mirapex put a “hole” in my brain. It took over three years for this to be repaired. I would classify Mirapex is a neurotoxin.

Desired third opinion. Had a PET scan at the Inglewood imaging center in LA. Supported diagnosis of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Finally accepted that I had PD and decided to defy rather than deny it.

Having read that exercise is the “best medicine” for PD decided to get serious about it. Started running. Started going to the gym. Hired a personal trainer. Within four months I had lost nearly 50 pounds and became a lean, not-so-mean, fighting machine.

I exercise regimen at the gym typically consists of 30 min. of cardio (upright bike), 30 min. on the weights, and 30 min. of stretching.

My personal trainer concentrates on keeping all of my muscle groups functional. She also includes many balance exercises. Balance on my right leg is not as good as on my left but at least I still have it.

I regained use of right shoulder by numerous injections of prolotherapy, although my right arm remained significantly impaired.

Prolotherapy is merely the injection of dextrose into the tendons. This irritates the tendon and stimulates blood flow to the area. It really hurts! But after two months I could raise my arm that was formerly just hanging at my side.

I was introduced to kickboxing by my personal trainer. Found that I enjoyed it very much.

They usually have 2×30 min. sessions of kickboxing a week. Kickboxing also feels good and I believe it is the cyclic vibrations from alternating job-crosses, right hooks-left hooks, right kicks-left kicks, that keep my movements stabilized. I particularly like hitting a dummy that I have named “Mr. Parkinson”.

On the recommendation of a friend, I started playing tennis again (I had to stop due to my frozen shoulder) using my left arm instead of my right. Soon after, however, I regained the use of my right arm. Now, I have two forehands and a left-handed serve.

I now visit Florida for two months each year where I engage a tennis coach every other day to put me through my paces. When I am on the court, I can run like the wind, and have no problems moving sideways or forwards or backwards or running. As soon as I leave the court, my PD symptoms return. I wish I could play tennis 24/7.

2008

Saw Jon Stossel, Canada’s top PD researcher at the University of British Columbia. With him, I feel that I am being provided with the best service available from standard Western medicine.

I see Jon Stossel once a year.

Became a patient of ND Caleb Ng of Mountainview Wellness Center in Surrey BC. Introduced to protocol of Dr. David Perlmutter, the “renegade neurologist”. Embraced Perlmutter’s protocol of supplements for neuroprotection of Parkinson’s patients. This included co-enzyme Q10, omega-3, B-complex, N-acetyl cysteine, alpha lipoic acid, phosphatidylserine, and others.

I have been taking intravenous glutathione once or twice-weekly. I began with 1400 mg but am now taking 2500 mg each time. Quite frankly, I have never noticed any of the miraculous improvements shown in Perlmutter’s videos.

Caleb also started me on chelation therapy as urinalysis revealed high contents of lead and mercury. I had about a dozen sessions but then have stopped. I understand that dozens of sessions are necessary for any improvement to be realized.

2009

While visiting my Hakomi teacher in Ashland, Oregon, I found out about the Center for Natural Healing in Ashland where herbalist Donnie Yance had a botanical protocol for PD. In late July, 2009, I commenced his protocol for botanicals and supplements. Botanicals included Mucuna pruriens, Withania somnifera, turmeric, and others. Additional supplements included vitamin D3, zinc, selenium, and others.

After one year on the Donnie Yance botanical protocol, I decided to stop taking Mucuna and NADH as neither of these appear to offer any therapeutic benefit whatsoever.

I am about to start using henbane, a botanical anticholinergic, in an attempt to reduce the tremors. The grand experiment is yet to begin however.

In June, 2009, I became a member of PatientsLikeMe.com (patient name: Dawn Angel). I also joined 23andMe.com where I learned that I did not have the LRRK gene for Parkinson’s.

In September, 2009, I visited John Coleman in Australia. The recommended that I go on a strict diet: gluten-free, dairy-free, coffee-free, sugar-free, peanut-free, cashew-free, and so on. He also recommended that a begin taking the Aquas. For therapy, he recommended Bowen.

I have recently stopped taking the Aquas as I have never noticed any benefit from it.

I had several sessions of Bowen therapy. Very relaxing. Not as effective as IMS (see below).

While working in New Zealand, I found a very good osteopath who was able to effect incredible improvement in my tremors.

Osteopathy is mostly hands-free bodywork. I have no idea how or why it works, but it does.

In December, 2009, I attended Robert Rodger’s “Jump Start to Wellness” in Olympia Washington. This is where I first learned that there were other people interested in getting well.

2010

A check of my free cortisol rhythm revealed that my cortisol levels were very low throughout the day. This is characteristic of “adrenal fatigue”. The only problem was, I remained high-energy and was not fatigued in the least, however, I began taking the supplement called “Adrenal Support”.

In January and February of 2010 I had a 10-session course of Hellerwork, a form of myofascial release. Very good.

Hellerwork is closely related to Rolfing. Over the 10 sessions my practitioner literally massaged all the fascia of my body. It felt great to have stiffened muscles worked upon. I return for an occasional tune-up.

I found a practitioner of intramuscular stimulation (IMS), who has been able to read awaken muscles that had become shortened due to disuse. This has been the most effective therapy of all for me.

IMS involves needling as in acupuncture but the needles are applied to the tendons instead of to fictional meridians. The benefits of IMS are immediate and last for at least several days. I see my physiotherapist weekly.

Despite improvements in my mobility and strength, the tremors in my right hand had become noticeably worse, especially when I visit either an M.D. or a neurologist. The tremors would go away as soon as they left their offices. This is clearly a manifestation of “white coat syndrome”.

I revisited John Coleman in May, 2010. He commented that tremors were the last symptom to go away for him.

After hearing about the possible benefits of neurofeedback for PD, I had a EEG done and found that my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was not producing theta waves. I have since had six sessions of neurofeedback and have noticed improvement.

In a session, an electrode is applied to my scalp in the location of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. I listened to soothing sounds through headphones. When that part of my brain is active I hear the sounds. When it is in active, I hear only static. The reward is the sound and the brain actively creates the ability to hear the sound without intervention on my part.

I purchased a small unit for cranial electrostimulation (CES). This applies a very small current through my head by means of electrodes clamped to my earlobes. I find it very relaxing; indeed, it is a form of meditation. Since my diagnosis with PD, meditation has not come easy to me.

In October, 2010, I visited France where I completely abandoned my dietary protocol and gorged myself on foie gras, croissant’s, baguettes, rich cheeses, exotic desserts, café au lait, and other forbidden foods. After one week I felt better than I have in three years. Go figure, who would’ve thought there was such a thing as the “French Cure”! Vive la hedonism!

Angela

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Support for Living Well With Parkinson’s

Question:

Do external interventions (supplements,
massage, cranial sacral therapy, body
work, etc.) undermine the body’s ability
to function?”  

Response

This question hinges on the very essence
of healing. What can we do to support the
body’s natural ability to heal itself and
what are we doing to undermine it? 

The answer is tied to identifying what we
need to  heal. A bare bones answer is: 
nourishment, touching, connection
with others, feeling of safety, sense of
accomplishment and belonging. 

The body needs a well established 
group of vitamins mineral and
nutrients.  Without them our cells
die and our energy depletes. If we are
deficient in any one of the essential
nutrients, our bodies let us know
they are unhappy.  

Vitamin B6. For example, the body
is not designed to manufacture Vitamin
B6 internally. If it has a vitamin B6
deficiency, the body will enthusiastically w
elcome a B6 supplement. B6 supports
the body’s natural ability to balance
hormones.  

Stress. We need to feel safe and secure in
the world. If we are spinning about
in fear all the time, our bodies pump 
out adrenaline continuously which
alters the balance of hormones. 

Any intervention that invites a release
of stress and trauma from the tissues
of the body (e.g:  medication, centered
prayer, energy healing) supports the 
body’s natural capacity to heal. 
Releasing fear and trauma re-establishes
a sense that it is safe to be here on the
earth.

Toxin Removal. Interventions that help
the body release toxins and pathogens
are always welcome. They unclog
obstructions in the neural pathways and
cleanse the waste that has been trapped at
the cellular level and that is lodged in the
digestive track, liver, kidneys and spleen.

Co Q10.The body can become confused
about interventions that override one or more
of its primary responsibilities.  Consider 
one example: Co Q10. The body manufactures
CoQ10 on its own. Research on Parkinson’s has
suggested that some people with Parkinson’s may
have Co Q10 deficiencies. The idea here is to
put Co Q10 directly into the body. 

This may very well be a wonderful and very
smart thing to do. You may feel a lot better
because of it. But a possible and logical
consequence is for the body to ever so 
gradually disassemble its ability to produce
Co q10 on its own steam.

When a manufacturing production line is
closed down, it takes a great deal of effort
to bring it back on line.  Isn’t this also
what happens with skills that we develop?
If we do not use them, we gradually
lose them.

Another way to approach a
Co q10 deficiency is to give
the body Vitamin C. If the body
has sufficient quantities of vitamin C,
it has a much better chance of
being able to produce Co Q10 on
its own – no supplement needed.

Dopamine. Let’s cut to the quick and address
dopamine. Prescription medications have saved
some people’s lives. Sometimes
it is the best choice a person can make.

I do not think the important question
is whether to begin taking prescription
medications or not. Nor is the important
choice whether to take prescription
medications or natural herbal substitutes
for dopamine.  The key question turns on
a commitment to support your body with
the nutrients it needs to heal.
 

Support for Living.

I believe the most important
choice is to do everything necessary
to bring all systems of the body back
on line. The systems need to be readied
for a marathon.  If you have symptoms
that are troublesome it is a sign that
one or more systems in your body
are limping along. 

I believe a plan that works well for the body
is to work on strengthening all of the basic
building blocks of the body by:

  • eating well (which means fresh food) 
  • eliminating toxins
  • eliminating pathogens (including bacteria and viruses)
  • releasing trauma
  • strengthening the immune system 
  • moving lymph out of the body through exercise
  • having fun
  • laughing
  • challenging your mind

It may be the case that to do justice to
everything on the list every day, certain
hormonal deficiencies will need to be
supplemented:  Perhaps dopamine,
perhaps co Q10 or whatever. This of
course is what medical doctors are trained
to help with. 

As long as you focus on bringing
all of the systems and organs in your
body back on line, your body will reach
a point when it will be able to
manufacture most – if not all – of the
essential hormones you need without
any outside intervention. Then again,
sometimes infusions of certain
hormones are needed over the long
term. 

The best intent is to support
the body so that it can do as much
work in producing the hormones
itself as possible. Set a new vision
of the future for yourself. Consider
the possibility that instead of having
to take more and more medication
or supplements in the future, you
will be able to gradually and ever 
so gently be able to maintain or
even reduce the dose of your
current medications.

Why is that? Because all of the organs
systems in your body are now healthy
so there is enough energy and resources
to manufacture the hormones your
body needs. Sure it takes time to bring
every system back on line. Who is in
a big rush here?   

Remember that any changes you
make to the dose and/or timing of
your medications should only be
taken in close consultation with
your doctor.  

I am fully aware than most people
wind up taking more medications
over time. I would like to consider
a different future.  

The body knows how to heal itself.
Give it a chance to heal and be
pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Parkinsons Recovery

© 2008 Parkinsons Recovery

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What Can I Do for Constipation?

Question:

What Can I Do about My Constipation?

Response:

Why should anyone be concerned about gut 
problems when “everyone” knows the challenge
with Parkinson’s involves a neural dysfunction? 
Function of the gut has a huge influence –
I repeat huge – on the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
When the gut is working properly depression lifts, 
constipation is relieved and energy returns.  

Let me be blunt. If your digestive system is
not functioning properly, all of the money
you spend on supplements and healthy food 
goes down the toilet.  

The process is wicked. You spend money on
supplements and healthy food.  You pour the
supplements and healthy food into your body
each day like clockwork.

The following day the supplements and healthy
food from the day before come out the other end
– unaltered. This happens over and over, day in
and day out. Your body is not absorbing the
nutrients.  

To summarize:

  • You pour money down the toilet day in and day out.
  • You do not feel any better. 
  • You convince yourself it is impossible to feel better.  
  • You stop doing the things that help you feel  better.
  • End of story.

The good news is that you can reverse this wicked
cycle. Natural approaches for improving gut function
are widely available. They fall into three categories:
increasing hydration in the body, maintaining a 
proper pH level in the stomach and improving
overall function of the bowel. 

First let’s consider the important role hydration
which, as we age, becomes more and more
problematic.  

Increase Hydration in the Body 

If the body is not hydrated adequately,
waste begins to accumulate in the cells. 
This is the underlying reason why many
people feel sluggish and run out of energy
by the afternoon. The solution is to hydrate
your body.  

John Coleman, a naturopath doctor from
Australia who himself recovered from
Parkinson’s, highly recommends that
people with Parkinson’s take a homeopathic
remedy for dehydration called the Aquas
This therapy involves taking a few drops
of a unique combination of essential oils
and Bach flower essences in the morning
and the evening.

The  mechanism in the body that signals
thirst needs to be recalibrated as we age.  
I was totally unaware until last year
that I had stopped drinking water.
The tissues in my body had become 
chronically dehydrated. It is the type
of problem that creeps up on you so
slowly you do not even notice what
is happening. 

I have taken Aquas for about a year and have
been amazed at their effectiveness. I now
get thirsty when my body needs water. 
If I do not take the Aquas, I do not drink
water because I am never thirsty. 
The Aquas have solved this problem for
me.    

Maintain a pH level of 2 in Your Stomach   

Everyone should maintain a pH level in the 
stomach of 2. The term “pH” is a measure of the
acidity of a solution like a body fluid. The most
acidic of liquids will have a pH as low as −5 (this
is a negative five).  The most alkaline of liquids 
have pH level of +14.

By way of comparison here is a sample of 
pH levels from selected foods: lemon juice
pH = 2.4, coffee pH = 5.0, pure water pH = 7.0,
tomato pH = 4.0, milk pH = 6.5.

A point of confusion for many people is to
conclude that you need to eat more acidic
foods in order to maintain the correct acidic
content in your stomach. This is not true.  
Disease flourishes when the environment
in the body is acidic. 

A high proportion of the food you eat should  
contain a high alkaline content.  Many doctors
recommend that 60% of the foods should be
alkaline. Others suggest 80% of the foods you
eat should have a high alkaline content in cases  
of chronic conditions like Parkinson’s. 

Most people think of the acid-alkaline scale
as linear: i.e., from 2 to 3 = 1 and from 2 to 4 = 2.
It is not. Each individual pH unit is a factor of
10 more than the next higher or lower unit. 
An increase in pH from 2 to 3 represents a
10-fold change. An increase of 2 to 4 represents
a one-hundred (10 × 10) fold change.  

Shifting down from a pH level of 6 (which is very
alkaline) to a pH level of 2 (which is more acidic)
is thus not as easy as it might seem. Given the
tricky nature of pH, is there any wonder that it is
difficult to maintain the proper pH balance in
the stomach?

The pH in the stomach needs to be low because 
acid is needed to break food down. Here is the
key: If there is not sufficient acid in the stomach
(i.e., the stomach is too alkaline), food does not
break down. No. It crawls its way into your gut
and – if you a squeamish do not read further – rots. 

Please note that I said the pH level “in the
stomach” should be around 2. The pH of 
other body fluids such as urine, saliva
and blood vary considerably. For example,
the pH of blood is 7.4. Secretions of the
pancreas have a pH of 8.1.    

In contrast, a fluid in the body that has a
high acidic content in the body is plaque.
Plaque’s pH is low and will dissolve teeth
if it is not removed.

How can you know if the pH level in your
stomach is “2”? After all, having a pH lab
test every day would be very expensive
and time consuming. 

There is an easy way to know. It costs
nothing. It takes a second each day. 

Simply pay attention to the color of your
bowel  movements. OK. I know this is not
exactly a sexy topic, but it is important to
know. 

If your poop is dark brown the pH 
level in your stomach is low enough. You 
are in good shape. If your poop is light
brown, there is not enough hydrochloric acid
in your system. That is to say, the pH level
in your stomach is too high. 

So if the color of the poop is too light 
corrective action  is needed. What do
you do? Take Vitamin C and drink a 
lot of water.

Vitamin C is the body’s anti-oxidant
of choice. If we give our bodies enough
Vitamin C, our bodies are able to
manufacture enough CO-Q10.

There are many vitamin C products on
the market, so be judicious in what you
choose to purchase. I use a Vitamin C product
recommended by Randy Mentzer: Vital
Mixed Ascorbates made by Pharmax which
is loosely packed in a 9 ounce container. 
I mix it with water. 

How much Vitamin C should you take? Your
body will tell you the answer. Just ask it. Muscle
test yourself. You will need to take more and more
Vitamin C until your poop turns to a dark brown
color. 

Most people are unaware that our natural
biology calls for large quantities of vitamin C.
You may be shocked at how much is needed
for your body to come back into balance.

Improve Overall Function of the Bowels  

You are now well hydrated and your pH level is
good to go. Now it is time to focus on getting your
bowels moving. Everyone needs one good bowel
movement every day. Two to three movements
are ideal.

Herbs that can facilitate bowel function are
genian, chamomile, fennel and St Mary’s
thistle. Which herb (or herbs) will do the 
best job for you?

I must sound like a broken record, but just
ask your body. Muscle test yourself. Your
body knows the answer. 

John Coleman’s Home Remedy

John Coleman ND recommends a homemade
cocktail for people suffering from
digestive challenges including constipation.
He suggests you take this cocktail in the
morning and evening 1/2 hour before meals. 
You make this special cocktail yourself.

The recipe:

12 ounces pure water
1/2 – 1 teaspoon Vitamin C powder
1/2 teaspoon magnesium
1 ml (eyedropper) zinc liquid
Aqua drops (1 drop AM in morning; 1 drop PM in evening)
1 drop selenium

Once you get your digestive system back on line, 
nutrients from the healthy food you eat will be 
distributed to the cells that desperately need to be
nourished. 

As always, check out my ideas to improve
your gut function with your doctor before you
decide to do anything. Always treat anything
I say as information that needs to be discussed 
and evaluated with your medical doctor. 

May your constipation resolve with
each passing day.

May your energy rebound as your gut
function improves. 

Your body and your pocketbook will thank you. 

Robert C. Rodgers, Ph.D.
Parkinsons Recovery

 © 2008 Parkinsons Recovery

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I am currently on a regimen of Staleevo, Azilect and CoQ10. Are There any Supplements I should Take to Reverse Symptoms?

Question:

I am currently on a regimen of Staleevo, Azilect and CoQ10.
My major problems are balance, muscle weakness (mostly left sided),
worsening manual dexterity and some cognitive deterioration
(including short-term memory problems).

Are there any supplements to add or anything else I should be
doing to help slow progression or reverse symptoms?

Response

There are four parts to my response. 

  • When you take more than two prescription
    medications and/or supplements there is always
    the chance of a drug/supplement interaction. 
  • Supplements may not help people with
    Parkinson’s because their digestive systems
    do not work properly.  
  • An alternative to taking supplements
    is to have a nutritional IV. This therapy
    involves infusing vitamins and minerals 
    directly into the blood stream, by passing the
    digestive system altogether.
  • Pay very close attention to what you eat.
    What we put into our bodies has a much more significant 
    impact on how we feel than anything else we can do.

Every one’s situation is unique. I may have a deficiency in
magnesium today. You may have a deficiency in calcium.
The critical issue turns on how you can determine what
your body needs, not what my body needs.  

One alternative that works for some people is to ask your
doctor to run a set of lab tests to determine if any
deficiencies exist.  You will then have an idea of what foods to
eat and what supplements you should be taking.

The downside of this alternative is that it is very expensive
and the results are only applicable for the present. Needs of your
body are always changing, so what your body needs today may
shift by tomorrow. Our bodies are in a constant flux
of change.

A second alternative is to give your body the
basic vitamins and minerals that it needs to
maintain balance and vitality. It is a good idea
to take a multi-vitamin supplement as we age. 
There are also super anti-oxidants foods and
vitamins that help the body maintain 
hormonal balance (e.g.: vitamin B6, B12, folic acid,
amino acids, fish oil, etc.).

I am writing extensively about the benefits of specific 
vitamins and minerals for people that have the symptoms
of Parkinson’s in the Parkinsons Recovery Newsletter.
Keep you eyes posted for updates. Keep in mind that 
I am not a medical doctor -I am a researcher – and
therefore thus I am not qualified to offer advice 
about what you should or should not take. 

The downside of a decision to take supplements that
one expert or another suggests is this: There may be
adverse reactions with the supplements and the prescription
medications that you are taking. It is not necessarily a good
idea to pour one supplement after another into your body without
taking into consideration the consequences.   

When you take more than two prescription
medications and/or supplements the possibility
of an adverse interaction always exists.  

I believe that one of the best choices a person can make
who takes more than one prescription medication is to have a
comprehensive nutritional consultation. This is what
is done  for everyone who enrolls in our Jump Start to
Wellness Program.
 Our nutritional consultations are
done over the phone by Randy Mentzer, a licensed
pharmacist in Washington and a certified clinical 
nutritionist.  

My experience is that people with Parkinsons often feel lousy
because their medications are working against one another.
Randy does a comprehensive review of your medical history
and offers a set of individualized recommendations
that you can take to your doctor for further review and
discussion.  

I personally do not have any idea if there are any
contraindications from the medications and supplements
you listed in your question. Randy helps out our clients
with all such questions. 

Randy tells me that there is a good chance of problems
if a person takes two prescription medications. He also
tells me that there is a 100% chance of adverse
interactions if you take five or more medications. Be sure to
listen to my interview with him at Jump Start

I believe that a good step to take on the road to recovery
is to request a thorough investigation of any potential
interactions that may be coexistent with the medications
and supplements you currently take. 

Ask a certified clinical nutritionist for a full evaluation. 
They are the health care providers who know about drug
interactions and are in a position to recommend good
alternatives if problems with interactions are identified.

Any prescription drug may be perfectly safe and useful when
used alone. But when combined with a second
drug, the same drug can create horrible problems for a person.
Randy often has to do additional research to understand
the implications of combining certain medications together. 

So, let’s say that you have checked out the medications that
you are currently taking and have resolved any issues and
problems that have been identified. Perhaps you reduced 
doses or switched medications at the recommendation of
your doctor. Or, perhaps what you are taking now is
not creating any problems.

You now decide to bite the bullet and take a group  
vitamins and supplements that one expert or another
says should offer you relief from the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
You spend $300. You take the supplements for a month. 

To your grave disappointment, there is no improvement. 
You don’t feel worse but you certainly do not feel any better.

What is happening here? Might you just as well have 
poured the $300 down your kitchen sink? The answer to
this question may be yes!  

Supplements often do not help people with
Parkinson’s because their digestive systems
are shut down.

I of course have no idea if digestion is a problem for you.
You do not mention digestion as a problem in your list
of symptoms. I do know that digestion is a problem for many
people as they age and for many people with Parkinson’s. 

For example, when we eat wheat, the walls
of our intestines gradually become crusty with a
cement like paste. Nutrients pass through the
entire digestive track without being absorbed. 
They are discharged from the body in tack –
literally.

A second step on the road to recovery is thus to take
an assessment of any digestive blockages you might have. 
Excellent alternatives exist on ways to detox and
clean out your digestive system.

Naturopaths are skilled at being able to help you detox
your digestive system. Colon Therapists are trained
to clear out the debris and pathogens that may have
been residing in your colon since you were 12 (or 20
or 30 or…). There are nationally certified programs that
train people to do a colon cleansing safely and effectively.    

Depending on the therapy you choose, it can potentially
take months to get your digestive system back on track. 
What do you do in the meantime? How do you help yourself
feel better now? 

An alternative is to by pass the digestive
system altogether by having a doctor or
naturopath administer nutritional IV’s.
This therapy involves the infusion of
vitamins and minerals directly into the
blood stream through an IV. 

With Nutritional IV’s you are mainlining the nutrients
directly into the blood stream. The digestive system is
by passed, so it does not matter if it is not working
properly. Nutritional IV’s should be done only to jump
start the systems in your body so that you can
begin to feel better quickly. The idea is to get your
body back on track so it can do the work it knows how to do
so well: Keep your hormones in balance and your spirits high. 

 Do not plan to receive nutritional IV’s for long. They are
simply a way to help you feel better quickly so that
you have the energy needed to heal.    

There are many experienced and highly qualified doctors 
(MD’s and naturopaths) who administer nutritional IV’s
to patients. If you choose this path it is important to find someone
who is certified, experienced and equipped to adminster 
nutritional IV’s in a sterilized environment. We have a link
on our Parkinsons Recovery website to the naturopath we
recommend to people living in Olympia.

What we put into our bodies has a more significant 
impact on how we feel than anything else we can do
for ourselves

My final comment in response to your question is perhaps the most
important. The one single thing you can do to feel better is to
maintain vigilance on what you eat and drink. What we eat
has everything to do with how we feel.

In my workshops I sometimes draw a large circle on a
flip chart. The circle represents the sum total of everything
you can do for yourself to feel better (exercise, laughter,
mind challenges, stress and trauma release, etc.).  I then
put a dot inside the circle. The dot represents the 
contribution supplements typically make to helping people
get relief from their symptoms. 

The far more significant factor is the food we put into out bodies.
Good nutrition consumes a huge chunk of this circle. 
All things considered, the best thing you can do for yourself 
to get relief from the symptoms of Parkinson’s is to be mindful 
of what you put into your body. 

Eat well and I promise that you will feel better soon. 

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D
Parkinsons Recovery

 © 2008 Parkinsons Recovery

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A Natural Treatment for Depression and Fatigue

Question:

I am depressed and tired all the time. What can I do about it? 

Response 

More and more scientists and looking at inflammation
as a contributing factor to many chronic conditions. In the
case of Parkinson’s, it makes logical sense to speculate
that neural networks function poorly when the tissues
connected with the neurons are swollen. 

Think about how you feel when you eat too much. 
I personally feel bloated, sluggish, blocked and immobile. 
All I can do until some of the food is digested is to sit up
straight and pray I do not have to move for a while.
Meditation is a choice, but I usually fall asleep. 

This is precisely how neurons feel when they become
swollen. Give your neurons a break. They have feelings
themselves you know. There is not enough room for
the neural networks to function when the tissues are
swollen. Electrical pathways become obstructed.   

The distribution of hormones to your muscles
and tissues also becomes difficult when inflammation
is present. The tissues throughout your your body
are busy handling another emergency.
They have little space to receive the sweetness
of any uninvited hormonal visitations. 

It is like seeing two friends having a huge fight. They are both
furious at one another. As their friend who is witness to the fight
you try to squeeze in a word or two, but your friends ignore you. 
They are too preoccupied with their own fight. In a similar fashion,
hormones have difficult squeezing themselves into tissues that
are inflamed. 

When all of the healthy cells function at their peak levels,
you will feel better and find relief from the symptoms of
Parkinson’s. Conversely, you will certainly feel worse
when the tissues in your body are inflamed. Depression 
creeps in. Fatigue becomes a way of life. 

OK. Inflammation causes problems. What can I do
about it? When I exercise for a long time the tissues
in my body become inflamed. I often take one ibuprofen.
It reduces the inflammation in several hours, but 
taking ibuprofen imposes a potentially life threatening
challenge to the kidneys. So ibuprofen is not a long
term solution. 

Consider another possibility. Perhaps the
tissues in your body have always been inflamed. 
Since you do not know any other way to feel,
you have become used to feeling lousy.
It is the only way you have ever known.

Why then are the tissues in your body always
inflamed? You may be allergic to a certain food
(or foods) that you love to eat.  A hidden source 
of inflammation for most people is allergic 
reactions to something they put into their bodies. 

How do you know if you are allergic to any foods.
And, if you are allergic, how do your figure out which
foods they might be? 

It is very easy to know. Stop eating the foods you
suspect that may be causing the inflammation
for two weeks. See if you feel better. This sounds
easy, but it is anything but easy. Let me explain why.  

Lets consider one food by way of example: ice cream. 
I love eating ice cream myself. Here is my conversation
with myself (and I am not making this up). 

“Maybe the inflammation is being cause by eating 
ice cream. Oh, I think not. After all, when I eat
ice cream I do not get sick. I do not have rashes.
I do not have stomach aches. I do not sweat or
puke or turn purple. It it must not be ice cream.” 

Being the logical person that I am, I continue eating
ice cream. I stop eating turnips instead to see if turnips
might be the problem. They are not. All is well. I still get
to eat the ice cream.

There is a double twist to my logic. My body has
become acclimated to processing and digesting
ice cream. If you also love to eat ice cream, you
have probably liked eating ice cream since you
were a child.  As an incredibly cleaver living entity,
the body quickly learns how to turn on systems
that reduce the allergic reactions to ice cream. 
In other words, the true symptoms are masked when
we eat ice cream regularly.   

You thus conclude “I do not feel that bad when
I eat ice cream.”

In one sense this is true. In another sense you
would be feeling so much better if you stopped
eating ice cream and started eating healthy
substitutes.  

Because you have always eaten ice cream
your entire life, the truth is that you have 
actually always felt lousy. You just did not
know it. It is the only way you have ever 
felt – lousy. 

Ever heard yourself say,

“I seem to be so depressed all the time.”

“I drag every day of the week.” 

There it is.

Because you become acclimated to feeling tired
and depressed, you forget what it is like to feel
good. The only way to know if a food is causing 
fatigue, inducing depression and entangling neural
networks is to stop eating that particular food for
at least two weeks. In my example, the test is to
stop eating ice cream for two weeks. 

Then, eat a lot of ice cream one day. 
Indulge yourself. Reward yourself for doing 
the test. Eat a quart or two of your
favorite ice cream. Make it three. Then see
how you feel. If  you notice a flare up of
fatigue and depression after eating the ice
cream you can almost certainly conclude
that ice cream is causing inflammation
in your body. 

I report this truth with such detachment
as if it has never happened to me. But it
has and it did. My naturopath muscle tested
me for various food items and suspected
that I had allergies to dairy. I love eating
cheese. I love chocolate milkshakes. 

“I am OK when I eat these foods.
I love them. That can not be the problem.”

Did I stop eating milkshakes for two weeks?
Of course not. I convinced myself that I was
actually very healthy and that I deserved
a little pleasure in my life.

After fighting this battle for years, I finally
did the gold standard test for allergies.
I did not drink milk shakes for two weeks straight.
The anticipation of being able to have a milk shake
became more and more intense with each passing
day until day 15 arrived when I ate two milk shakes,
one chocolate and one vanilla. They were
thoroughly yummy as always.

I paid a dear price for those few minutes of bliss. 
I became seriously depressed for several days. The fatigue
was overwhelming. I really just wanted to sleep and
forget about working or playing. I was miserable. 

The truth is that I did not realize how tired and depressed
the ice cream was making me until I gave my body a chance
to detox itself from dairy. After 14 days of not eating ice cream
the inflammation that was literally always present
in my tissues had subsided.

My experiment was a success. When I added back into
my body the dairy, my body told me in no uncertain
terms that it could not tolerate dairy. I now know this is
why I had constant ear aches as a child. 

Of course I did not like the outcome, but excellent
substitutes for dairy do exist.

If you have Parkinson’s you need energy to feel better.  
It is hard to do the things that will make you feel better
if you are depressed or if you are tired all the time. 
It is thus highly probably that a big reason why you feel
bad is because of food that you are eating.  

My problem is dairy. Your problem may be wheat or
corn or soy or whatever.  Give the experiment a try
and see what you can discover for yourself. Most people
are allergic to something. They just do not know it.

The test is free. It requires only determination and
discipline. The end result can have a huge impact on
how you feel. 

Say goodbye to depression and fatigue.
Say hello to life.

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Parkinsons Recovery

 © 2008 Parkinsons Recovery

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What is a Natural Substitute for Sugar?

Question:

What is a natural substitute for sugar? 

 Response:

What we put into our bodies is the most important
factor in finding relief from the symptoms
of Parkinson’s. It is no secret that sugar is not good for
our bodies, right?

Sugar is a neuro-toxin. You know this.  I know this. 
Everyone knows this.

Do you ever eat sugar? You can not see me now, but
I am raising my hand at the moment.  I eat sugar
sometimes. OK. Sometimes I eat too much sugar. 

Why? I am filling a hole deep inside. I can’t get enough. 
You know the list. Whatever.

No matter how much work I do “on myself” I still
eat sugar. So, if I come to the realization that my
preference for sweets will not abate anytime soon, 
what can I do about it? 

There are alternatives to sugar. Why not investigate
the alternatives that can be used in place of using raw cane
sugar. Then start using an alternative to pure sugar 
that is right for you?  

Know in advance that you may not be able to
tolerate one or more of the alternatives. That is,
the alternative may be worse for you than raw sugar
itself. But why  not celebrate in advance 
how much your body will thank you if you can find
a natural and safe substitute for sugar that your
body can tolerate?  

Three natural alternative substitutes for sugar are
agave, stevia and zylitol.  Here is a sketch of
information about each of the three alternatives.  

Agave syrup is a sweetener commercially produced
in Mexico. Agave syrup is sweeter than honey,
though less viscous. It consists primarily of fructose
and glucose. 

Agave has a fructose content that is higher than is found
in high-fructose corn syrup.  Agave is notable in that its
glycemic index and glycemic load are seemingly lower than
most other natural sweetener alternatives. 

Stevia is native to subtropical and tropical South America
and Central America. Known as sweetleaf, stevia is 
used as a sugar substitute. The taste has a 
longer duration than that of pure sugar. Stevia however
can be associated with a bitter after taste at high
concentrations.

Zylitol sounds like an expensive prescription
medication, but it is not. It is a five-carbon sugar
alcohol that is used as a sugar substitute.

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener that can
be found in the fibers of fruits and vegetables such as 
berries, corn husks, oats, and even mushrooms. 
It is extracted from corn fibres, birch trees, raspberries,
plums, and even corn.  Xylitol is by all accounts as sweet
as regular sugar.

Zylitol has been around a long time. It is used as
a sweetner for diabetics in some countries and it
is used in various products like gums and toothpaste
to reduce tooth decay. 

Check out the possibilities. Do an extended search on
the internet for more information. Talk with your doctor.
Experiment.

You can buy zylitol, stevia and agave from most
health food stores, food co-ops and even some grocery
stores. 

I think a safe and natural food sweetener is a delightful
choice for people like myself who love to eat a delicious
dessert every now and then. If you are like me, consider
a switch from sugar to a natural substitute.

There is no direct research evidence to indicate that using
alternatives to sugar will help relieve the symptoms of
Parkinson’s. Base on pure logic, it makes sense to me that
using a natural substitute for sugar has the potential to
help unclog neural pathways.

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Parkinsons Recovery

 © 2008 Parkinsons Recovery

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