A multitude of options – some natural and some not – are available for treating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The most popular of all options is taking Parkinson’s medicines which offer welcome relief to some. These medicines do not offer relief for everyone. Thankfully, many do benefit. This is the same result for any of the options I have documented over the past decade. Some people benefit. Others do not.
One complication caused by taking Parkinson’s medicines (despite their benefits) is that they can deplete the availability of certain critical nutrients that are essential to overall health and well-being. Exhaustion, fatigue and other troubling symptoms can result.
One of the guest instructors in my new course “Make Medicines Matter” (which kicks off Thursday, May 16th) is Natural Compounding Pharmacist Ross Pelton. What medicines are you taking and, as a result, what nutrient depletion’s are likely? Ross will discuss which medications deplete which nutrients.
If you have enrolled in “Make Medicines Matter” – be sure to attend this class. Email me in advance of the name of any medications you currently take. I will be sure and ask Ross during this class May 30th.
Click the arrow below to hear my interview with Bill McAnalley PhD who discusses why food can fix things that drugs can’t. His discussion focuses on explaining the causes of Parkinson’s and lists the foods needed to treat each cause.
Information about Dr. McAnballey’s company, is accessed by visiting Aroga
Below are the talking points that Dr. McAnalley prepared for my interview with him on Parkinsons Recovery Radio where he explains why food can fix things drugs cant
Parkinson’s disease (PD), characterized with bradykinesia, static tremor, rigidity and disturbances in balance, is the second most common neuro-degenerative disorder. Alzheimer disease is first.
With the global trends in aging, the incidence of PD has increased year by year and the prevalence rate is up to 1–2% among the elderly over the age of 65 years. So far, there is still no exact cure for PD due to its diversity of etiology and complexity of symptoms.
Currently, Parkinson’s disease is treated with Levodopa and maybe Monamine, Oxidase Inhibitors (MOAs) or Acetylcholine inhibitors. Levodopa makes more Dopamine available for the dopamine receptor, MOAs increase the amount norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin at their prospective receptors and acetylcholine inhibitors make more acetylcholine available to its receptor.
None of which address the physical cause of the disease.
The cause of PD has not been completely elucidated, but it has been generally acknowledged that the improvement of oxidative stress is one of the most important patho-physiological mechanisms.
Dr. Bill’s research has focused on stopping the causes of diseases like Parkinson’s by:
The inhibition of oxidative stress:
PD patients are in a state of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by the increase of free radicals in the organism, while the ability to eliminate free radicals is decreased at the same time. A large amount of lipid peroxide, such as Malondialdehyde (MDA), hydroxyl, carbonyl, etc., will cause cell death, which leads to neuronal apoptosis ultimately.
The mitochondria is the “power plant” and “energy conversion station” of cells. It also regulates the process of gene expression and apoptosis. Recent reports have suggested that mitochondrial dysfunction is closely related to a variety of neuro-degenerative diseases including PD.
The reduction of toxic Excitatory Amino Acids (EAA):
Glutamate (Glu), Also, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and enkephalin can can produce excitotoxicity effects on nerve cells. Glutamate creates an excitatory effect on nerve cells, and is toxic when Dopa Amine neurons are fully or partially degenerated.
The inhibition of neuroinflammation:
Neuroinflammation is a common and important pathological mechanism in nervous system diseases and different neurological diseases are involved in neuroinflammation at some stage. At present, it is believed that neuroinflammation was involved in an important cascade reaction in neuronal degeneration of PD.
When the central nervous system suffers from exogenous antigens stimulus, such as pathogenic microorganisms or foreign bodies, microglia will be rapidly activated. Then, the activated microglia cells can secrete various cytokines such as IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, TNF-α, and IFN-γ, etc. The cytokines cause neuroinflammation.
The inhibition of neuronal apoptosis:
Parkinson’s is caused by the premature death of dopaminergic neurons by abnormal apoptosis activation. Energy for normal activities of brain cells comes directly from aerobic energy, and there is little energy storage. However once brain damage occurs, it will cause nerve cell apoptosis or death.
The Bcl-2 family of proteins regulate apoptosis. It is divided into two categories: anti-apoptosis gene (such as Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Bcl-w, Bcl-1, etc.) and pro-apoptosis gene (such as Bax, Bak, Bad, Bid, etc.). Their ratio regulates apoptosis.
The inhibition of abnormal protein aggregation:
Misfolded and aggregated proteins play a key role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s Disease. Protein aggregates differ from disease to disease. This common characteristic shows that protein deposition is toxic to neurons.
Studies confirmed that the activity of the proteasome dropped substantially in substantia nigra of patients with PD, which weakened the ability of the substantia nigra to degrade α-syn and other proteins.
Targeting Nrf2 to Suppress Ferroptosis and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Neurodegeneration:
Nrf2 is a basic leucine zipper (bZIP) protein that regulates the expression of antioxidant proteins that protect against oxidative damage triggered by injury and inflammation. Several drugs that stimulate the NFE2L2 pathway are being studied for treatment of diseases that are caused by oxidative stress.
Listing of Core Food Ingredients that Address the Structure and Functional Causes of the Disease
The inhibition of oxidative stress:
Brahmi, Bacopa monnieri
Maca root powder, Lepidium meyenii (Walp.)
Tongkat Ali (Longjack), Eurycoma Longifolia
Turmeric root powder, Curcuma longa
The reduction of toxic Excitatory Amino Acids EAA:
Brahmi, Bacopa monnieri
The inhibition of neuroinflammation:
Turmeric root powder, Curcuma longa
Wild Yam root, Dioscorea villosa
The inhibition of neuronal apoptosis:
Noni Fruit, Morinda citrifolia
The inhibition of abnormal protein aggregation:
Amia powder, Emblica officinalis
Turmeric root powder, Curcuma longa
Targeting Nrf2 to Suppress Ferroptosis and
Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Neurodegeneration.
Chaga Mushroom, Inonotus Obliquus
Milk Thistle Seed Extract, Silybum marianum.
Tongkat Ali (Longjack), Eurycoma Longifolia
Dr. Bill offered suggestions on the products he recommended for persons diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He recommended three
Aroga products: (1) the Core (2) the Plus Brain and Nerve and (3) the Bone, Joint and Endocrine (which supports hormones). At a minimum. the Core would take top priority.
Information about these products and the opportunity to order is available at:
Walter Mady discusses the importance of Physical Therapy for the Parkinson’s disease patient and the factors that have made the biggest difference in addressing his own Parkinson’s symptoms.
Walter Mady has been a Physical Therapist for 28 years in the private sector. Physical Therapists are healthcare specialists utilizing their knowledge of anatomy and physiology, therapeutic exercise, and ADL modifications when treating the Parkinson’s disease patient.
He specializes in manual therapy, orthopedic physical therapy, and is a specialist in exercise recreationally and therapeutically
Walter was diagnosed in 2008 with Parkinson’s Disease..
He will discuss and stress the importance of nutrition and exercise.
Naturopath John Coleman. ND, from Australia answers the question asked by a member of my audience: “When Should I Start Taking Parkinson’s Medications?” Many people agonize over this issue. John provides his own perspective in offering his answer to this question.
Author of the book Stop Parkin’ and Start Livin’, John Coleman was one of the first individuals to recover from symptoms of Parkinson’s disease he personally experienced in the mid 1990’s. Given his personal journey down the road to recovery, John offers rich insights into many questions about the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.
I was diagnosed 8 years ago with Parkinsons. I have been on levodopa/carbidopa for 5 yrs plus ropinirole for about 1 year….I have come across an hypothesis as to the root of the disease….being connected to gut function and flora.
I have been trying to get off the above drugs but freezing is a common occurrence and because I am only 43 with a lot of family and professional responsibilities. I am having to take drug vacations instead of weaning over time since the weaning seems impossible because my body reacts in an all or none fashion leaving me little options on how to wean….these medication side effects cause me great anxiety…worry…and despair.
I would love an opportunity to speak directly to someone who has successfully weaned off these drugs….pharmacists and doctors in my community are just surmising, as they have no real experience doing so…..
Thank you and to anyone who can help me, as this is the most difficult experience of my life….
“how do I wean myself off medications with out a doctor?”
The question for how to reduce medication dosage was submitted through My Q&A system available on the main blog at www.parkinsonsrecovery.com. Your doctor prescribed the medications for you in the first place, so you will have to involve them in the process of weaning yourself off of them. The weaning process can take some time, so you will more than likely need your doctor to continue prescribing the medications even though you have made a conscious choice to reduce the dosage.
Many people find reducing the dose very difficult, especially when the reduction that is attempted is to aggressive. Serious side effects can result under such circumstances. The best practice is to reduce the dose gradually and slowly. Give your body plenty of time to adjust to the change.
I think it is always a wise move to involve a compounding pharmacist in helping reduce the dose. They can make medicines that have slightly less in them and monitor how your are doing with the reduction, They will also correspond with your doctor to advise them of the status of your plan to reduce the dosage.
I think it is a smart move to take control of your own recovery plan. Hopefully, your doctor will be supportive of your decision. The people who succeed in their recovery have a full appreciation of the importance of taking full control over their recovery.
I have had Parkinson’s Disease for six (6) years and am on monotherapy of Sinemet. I have no tremor and do not experience peak dose dyskinesia, but moderate start of dose dyskinesia and and severe end of dose dyskinesia. Have you any advice on this?
I know about amantadine, but I believe it can only be effective for peak dose dyskinesia? I read that there are basically two subtypes of Parkinson’s – tremor dominant (more benign form) and a non tremor type (more “virulent” form that progress quicker, but normally responds well to sinemet). I welcome your comments.
My neurologist says I do not have Parkinson’s but my tremors are Parkinsonisms. I take mirapex and all it seems to do is make me drowsy. I still have tremors especially when stressed. Is there really a difference between Parkinson’s and having Parkinsonisms? It doesn’t seem like it to me when people are staring at my shaking hand.
Click on the purple arrow below to hear my response to this question which was offered on the Parkinsons Recovery Sunday Connections program recently:
I want to increase my protein intake but have read (and seem to experience) a decrease in carbidopa/levodopa effectiveness if I eat high protein foods. Do plant based protein sources work better when combined with Parkinson’s medications?
I am not aware of any research that addresses this question though it is certainly an interesting one. My simple minded understanding is that protein is protein whether it originates from animals or plants. My intuitive guess is that the cellular structure differs significantly depending on the source.
Under your doctor’s close supervision perhaps you might conduct a little experiment using a sample of one (yourself) to eat only plant based protein for a short period to see if it makes a difference or not.
Does anyone out there taking Carbidopa/levodopa have any personal experience with eating plant based protein? Please let us all know by commenting below. I know Pat would appreciate hearing about your experience.
I have been experiencing excessive sweating, nausea and light headedness. No one can figure out what’s wrong. What do you think could be causing this?
I recommend that you first carefully study and examine the side effects of each medication you take. Compounding Pharmacist Randy Mentzer, who has been a guest on my radio show several times, says that when a person is taking 5 or more prescription medications, there is a 100% chance they are experiencing side effects or mineral depletions. Be sure and explore the issue of side effects with your doctor.
Compounding pharmacists and nutritional counselors are excellent resources in addition to your doctor to help you sort out the medicine interactions. This is a very complicated issue because combining different medications impacts each body differently.
If you are thinking about exploring other options, the Parkinsons Recovery Summit is the best resource available to get information on treatment options that are helping people reverse symptoms.
My radio show last week featured Dr. Terry Wahls, MD, who talked about the power of diet in helping people who currently experience the symptoms of Parkinsons reverse their symptoms. She cautioned listeners on the importance of consulting your licensed health care provider when making any dietary changes, since a change in diet can influence the effectiveness of certain medications that you may currently take.
Below Ross writes in his own case of just such an experience where a change in diet resulted in aggravating symptoms because the efficacy of the medications was affected.
Recently, a friend from Australia emailed me and told me that his daughter knew someone who had overcome the symptoms of PD by going on a diet called the Paleolithic or caveman diet. Basically this means that one can eat meat, eggs, fruit, vegetables (except potatoes, string beans and peas) and not eat grains (wheat/bread or rice) or dairy products.
I stayed on the diet for three weeks and lost over four kilos in weight. However, it made my PD symptoms worse. I spoke to my Neurologist who said that high protein diets are not good for PD sufferers. This is because the high protein foods compete with the levadopa medication in the small intestine. This reduces the effects of the levadopa. Also, I had very little energy.”
I use carbidopa/levodopa daily and have for about 4 years. I’ve tried with out the medication for about 2 weeks on two separate occasions recently. Unfortunately I was shocked at how difficult all movement was without it. But I’m concerned its use may hamper my recovery. Any data on this?
My research reveals that it is not advisable to stop taking any prescription medication – to go “cold turkey” as it is described. The emergence of the heightened symptoms you describe explains why.
If you decide to reduce the medication after consulting with your doctor it is critical to do so slowly and gradually. Compounding pharmacists are an ideal resource who can help you reduce the dosage very gradually so that the reduction does not trigger strong side effects.
The challenge with taking medication is that over time, more and more medication is needed to achieve the same result. Eventually, increases in dosage have no added impact and begin making matters worse.
A number of persons have reported that this particular medication has helped them get back on their feet so that they could begin doing what is required to reverse the symptoms. Once other options are found that address the causes of your symptoms, many people find they do not need to take as much medication and some have been successful with weaning off of them completely. This of course is a slow process that needs to be pursued mindfully.
In the end, it is a question of balance. There are a multitude of therapeutic options that are helping people reverse their symptoms. Many of the persons who have found therapies that are helpful (and who have been guests on my radio show) will be presenting workshops at the Parkinsons Recovery Summit in Cincinnati in June, 2012. Once options in addition to the medication are identified and found to facilitate a reversal of symptoms, most people find it is possible to begin reducing their medication dosage very gradually in close consultation with their doctor and their compounding pharmacist.
Writing for my partner, H, 55, who was diagnosed with PD about 6 yrs ago. Went on Sinemet last Sept when his body went rigid. I “re-met” him in October and immediately began researching alternatives.
H asked me to move in last Jan to assist with his care. Since then, we have both turned our eating and exercise habits around 360*, his esp from the comfort of a steady diet of Coke, cookies and pizza to Dr. Wahl’s suggestions, tons of greens and veggies, no sugar/no wheat/little dairy.
Exercise has increased to nearly daily walks, up to 4 mi, though it requires all his concentration to keep his right foot from dragging.
Body work — foot holding and gentle massage, Bowen as best I can understand it from books (no local practitioner).
All of this seemed to have a positive effect on his symptoms, several weeks with many good tremor-free days, mood elevated and better sleep until a few days ago when his tremors became suddenly more violent and muscles knotted again. The massage gives him relief from the tremors for a few hours.
Is it possible that the 4 Sinemet he’s been taking daily might now be causing the same symptoms they were supposed to help?
I extracted the following information on side effects for Sinemet, a Parkinson’s medication, from www.drugs.com which is quoted below. There is quite a bit more information on the website you may also want to study.
“Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Sinemet”
“Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); black, tarry stools; blood in vomit; chest pain; confusion; depression; fast or irregular heartbeat; fever; hallucinations; mental or mood changes; muscle pain or unusual stiffness; new or increased involuntary movements; severe abdominal pain; severe light headedness or fainting; sore throat; thoughts of suicide; unexplained fever or sweating; unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual or painful movements or spasms of the face, eyelids, mouth, tongue, arms, hands, or legs; vision changes (blurred or double vision); yellowing of the skin or eyes.”
“Nervous system effects occur in as many as 50% of treated patients on long-term therapy and include involuntary movements and mental status changes most frequently. The types of involuntary movements due to levodopa have been characterized as choreiform, dystonic and dyskinetic. Fluctuations in motor function occur frequently and often increase as the duration of therapy increases.”
“This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.”
My reading of the above side effects suggests that the answer to your question is yes – it is possible that the medication might be causing the same symptoms they were developed to help. Of course we do not know whether this is happening in your partner’s case.
The reason the FDA is involved in regulating prescription medications is to insure that the side effects are well documented. As you will be able to see from a review of the side effects that are reported in the drugs.com website, the documentation on possible outcomes is exhaustive.
It is important to keep in mind that everyone’s body is different. There will be a wide variety of reactions to any medication – some good and some adverse. My research reveals that Sinemet does provide relief for some people, but for other people it can cause side effects that can be worse than the symptoms they were supposed to address. This is really not that different from using any prescription medication regardless of the reason for its use.
It would be a good idea at this point to get a follow-up consultation with your doctor who will be in a position to evaluate what is really happening here and possibly suggest alternative courses of treatment.
I am taking Azilect and Mirapex. Is it safe to take Protandim (Nrf2 activator) with these two drugs?
The expert on drug interactions in my book is compounding pharmacist Randy Mentzer. Randy will be one of the 19 presenters at the Parkinsons Recovery Summit in June. Why not email him with your question? firstname.lastname@example.org
Such questions involve very complicated issues which only an expert on medications is qualified to sort out. I do know that Randy tells me the possibility of interactions when taking three or more medications is present regardless of which ones are involved.
A friend directed me to this Blog because I Have PD with tremors in my right arm. I have been taking Carbidopa-levodopa for two weeks and so far I have not noticed any significant difference. Am I being too impatient?
This is certainly a question that others might shed some light on. I have heard a wide variety of reports on the outcomes of taking this medication. Some people report feeling better within days. Others report it does take time. Still others report that the medicine had no effect whatsoever.
Huummm … what is going on here you are wondering? The factors that contribute to the neurological symptoms associated with Parkinsons Disease are multifaceted, so depending on the primary causal factor that is involved in your case, this medicine may or may not help.
Neurologists get a lot of information on your response to the medication so they are certainly a valuable resource to get an answer to your question. Clearly, your neurologist is the best guide here.
If you are interested in exploring other options that can be pursued (with or without taking medications) I invite you to explore the many fascinating topics that will be presented at the Parkinsons Recovery Summit this summer in Cincinnati. People are reversing their symptoms using a wide variety of approaches. A number of the contributors to Pioneers of Recovery who have reversed their symptoms will be offering workshops at the Summit. The workshop topics reflect a wide variety of fascinating and very different approaches that are helping people with Parkinson’s recover.
The approaches that tend to succeed usually address the reasons for the symptoms in the first place. My research has uncovered there are many factors involved. The body is not a simple mechanism. It really does know how to heal itself. It just needs a little extra help sometimes.
The people who are recovering are exploring a combination of treatments, therapies and modalities. If you have elected to explore one and only one therapy, I would recommend that you consider others as well. And of course, determining the root cause of the symptoms helps tremendously in identifying the treatments options that will help your
I just got on your website yesterday and was sooo glad to find you – I am a 65 yr old woman and was just diagnosed with Parkinson’s and believe totally in the body healing itself and I have been on health for years. I was so shocked when I was diagnosed. I have all the symptoms.
At the present I am having a stretching therapist treat me and I get lots of relief. He also believes in the body healing itself. My main concern is how tired I am and some of the depression. I haven’t been on your site as much as I want. I was on 10 antidepressants a day. They diagnosed me bipolar at that time ( I think I was a Guinea pig). They even had me on resperdal for schizophrenia-
My daughter in law whose father is a Dr put her on antidepressants and she went off and she now has a tremor on her head. Has there been any clarification’s that antidepressant can cause Parkinson’s?
Now I feel I need something (natural) It’s not so much depression but anxiety-I saw an advertisement for suntheanine – have you heard of this product and if so – is it ok to take with Parkinson?
Also I am ordering your book which I know will be helpful
Fatigue and depression can be a formidable challenge for anyone! Have you checked on the side effects of the medications you currently take? It is possible that the symptoms are being aggravated by the medications. If so, it would be a smart idea to talk with your doctor about alternatives.
Many of the medications that are used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s have side effects that are identical to the symptoms of Parkinson’s. For some people there is a significant benefit to the medications in the short term since symptoms can be controlled. In the long term, more and more of the medication has to be used to achieve the same result, so side effects are much more likely to kick in.
I looked at the details on the product Suntheanine and discovered it is an amino acid which is derived from a patented process. I have not heard any specific reports on use of this product. Let us know the outcome if you decide to use it.
I will be interviewing a physician’s assistant within the coming weeks on the Parkinsons Recovery Radio Show, David Overton. He has extensive experience with using amino acids to treat Parkinson’s symptoms. Listeners are always invited to call in during the live shows and ask question. He would be an incredible resource for you.
I will announce the show on the radio show page once his show date has been set:
I am suffering from Parkinson’s disease since 5 years. Presently I am taking Entacom Plus and Pacetane 3 times daily. But recently I observed that I am mentally disturbed. I am not able to work easily. I am not able to put myself stable. An unknown fear or angry is developing in me.
Kindly let me know the remedy
By your description, it certainly sounds like you are experiencing the medication side effects in the form of fear and anger. People react differently to medications. Some people have no side effects and experience only the benefits of the medications. Others – and it appears you fall into this category of people – can experience debilitating side effects.
I wish I could report there is a simple remedy for this problem – perhaps a pill that would solve the problem. Alas, such simple solutions are not available. I am quite sure this is not the response you were hoping to hear, but it is the honest truth.
At a minimum you can read the list of side effects that you will find in the prescription inserts that your pharmacist will have. This would likely pinpoint the problem.
It is possible however that the problem you are experiencing is triggered by the particular combination of both medications taken together. That is to say, taking one medications may not be problematic for you, but when both are consumed, certain processes are triggered in your body that are creating the alarming fear and anger.
It is possible the problem may be solved by eliminating one or both medications or finding substitutes. Work with your doctor to explore alternatives. Keep in mind that with most
prescription medications, it is not advisable to stop taking them. The consequences can be disastrous. For most medications, you must reduce the dosage you take very slowly and very deliberately. Make these decisions in close consultation with your doctor.
I would also suggest that you approach the challenge you are facing from a new perspective. While the medications appear to be triggering anger and fear, everyone holds both
in their subconscious. We all have anger that is repressed and that is contained at the cellular level of our body. We all hold fear that we suppress as well.
A healthy approach is simply to acknowledge that everyone confronts the issues that you describe in your question. The only difference is that these issues – dealing with fear
and anger – are very difficult to manage and keep under control right now.
There are many powerful therapies you might explore that invite your body to release all of the repressed fear and anger that are making it difficult for you to function right now. Since I do not know where you live or what country you are from, I am not in a position to be specific here. I invite you to begin your own search for therapists you offer such services.
Approach your investigation by searching for people who work with the body rather than the mind. Such therapies will likely be much more helpful than talk therapists for the challenges that you describe in your question.
The solution lies deep within. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to acknowledge it will take time, clear intent and patience to resolve the challenges you currently confront.
Because of LDN, I have now titrated off of ALL of my ‘Sinemet – not even using that very occasional dose when I feel I might need it for a very long day, etc. Now, when I have a foot tremor, I refuse to let my body go there and I just consciously “stop” the tremor and it is working!
Wishing you and yours a beautiful Thanksgiving Holiday! Thank you for all that you do to give people with PD hope that they can and will get well if “they choose to” and if they do the work that it takes.