Restricting Diet May Reverse Early
A new Oregon Health & Science University and Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center study suggests that early-stage Parkinsons disease patients who lower their calorie intake may boost levels of an essential brain chemical lost from the neurodegenerative disorder.
The study by Charles Meshul, Ph.D., associate professor of behavioral neuroscience in the OHSU School of Medicine and the VAMCs Neurocytology Lab, shows that dietary restriction reverses a Parkinsons-induced drop in glutamate, a brain neurotransmitter important for motor control, function and learning, in a mouse model for the diseases early stages.
The results, presented today at the Society for Neurosciences 35th annual meeting in Washington, D.C., are the first to show that a restricted diet can disable neurochemical changes in the brain occurring in early-stage Parkinsons even after those changes are observed.
In the early stages of the disease, we see certain markers in the brain that are changing that may be indicative that dietary restriction is helpful, Meshul said.
Parkinsons disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder affecting a region of the brain called the substantia nigra where movement is controlled. Symptoms such as tremor or shaking, muscular stiffness or rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with balance appear when about 80 percent of cells in the body that produce the neurochemical dopamine die or become impaired.
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Aspartame Effects On The Brain: The Problem With Aspartame
What exactly is so wrong with aspartame? Studies have shown the sweetener directly affects our NMDA receptors, the glutamate-gated ion channels that control our synaptic plasticity and neuronal communication, thereby influencing our learning and memory. The receptors are involved in many neurological disorders, including Parkinsons, Alzheimers, and epilepsy. Aspartame damages NMDA receptors by causing nerves to fire excessively. Basically, it stimulates the neural cells to death, and is the reason why aspartame is called an excitotoxin . Excitotoxins excite our taste buds, as the name suggests, making them very appealing for the food industry to use to enhance flavor. Aspartame is particularly harmful because high doses can cause severe damage to the nervous system and brain.
Therefore, aspartame begets excitotoxins, which creates a brain inflammation cycle that plays a critical role in the onset of Parkinsons and other diseases of the brain. For further information on this topic, I highly recommend the work of brilliant biochemist Dr. Martin Pall .
Neurotoxicity Brain Damage And Mood Disorders
Aspartame has been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems including learning problems, headache, seizure, migraines, irritable moods, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, wrote the researchers of a 2017 study in Nutritional Neuroscience. Aspartame consumption needs to be approached with caution due to the possible effects on neurobehavioral health.16
Oral aspartame significantly altered behavior, anti-oxidant status and morphology of the hippocampus in mice also, it may probably trigger hippocampal adult neurogenesis, reported a 2016 study in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.17
Previously, it has been reported that consumption of aspartame could cause neurological and behavioural disturbances in sensitive individuals. Headaches, insomnia and seizures are also some of the neurological effects that have been encountered, according to a 2008 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. e propose that excessive aspartame ingestion might be involved in the pathogenesis of certain mental disorders and also in compromised learning and emotional functioning.18
eurological symptoms, including learning and memory processes, may be related to the high or toxic concentrations of the sweetener metabolites, states a 2006 study in Pharmacological Research.19
Aspartame could impair memory retention and damage hypothalamic neurons in adult mice, according to a 2000 mice study published in Toxicology Letters.20
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When Should I Take My Parkinsons Medication
When you take your Parkinsons medication should always be discussed with your GP, specialist or Parkinsons nurse.
Some people with Parkinsons may feel sick after taking medication, especially if they take it on an empty stomach.
Having a snack, such as a plain cracker or biscuit, at the same time as taking your medication can help ease this side effect. Or you may find taking medication with plenty of water can help to reduce nausea.
Your GP can also prescribe anti-sickness tablets if you do feel sick after taking your medication.
Talk to your GP, specialist or Parkinsons nurse if you have difficulty swallowing your medication. It may help to take your medication with a cold drink, such as water, squash or fruit juice, or with yoghurt.
You may also benefit from a referral to a speech and language therapist.
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Managing Medication Side Effects
- Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration-induced headaches and muscle tension.
- Drink green tea, bone broth, or ginger tea to boost your immune system.
- Drink alcohol or coffee or any other caffeinated beverages to avoid having sleep issues.
Knowing what to eat and what to avoid can help you manage the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Follow these tips to relieve symptoms and have a better quality of life.
Consult your doctor to know what other foods you can consume to help you manage Parkinsons.
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Bump Up Your Fiber Intake
A high-fiber diet is a proven way to avoid constipation, a common problem for people with PD.
Parkinsons can slow down the intestines and cause constipation, Dr. Gostkowski says. Fiber helps keep things moving. There are plenty of high-fiber foods out there, so choose your favorites. Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should get 38 grams.
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Causes Of Constipation In Parkinsons Disease
The ways in which Parkinsons disease can increase the risk of constipation include:
- lack of dopamine in the brain impairs control of muscle movement throughout the body. Bowel muscles can become slow and rigid
- uncoordinated bowel motions the bowel muscles may be weak and unable to contract, or they may clench instead of relaxing when trying to pass a motion
- eating problems dietary fibre containing insoluble fibre adds bulk to your bowel motions and can help prevent constipation. However, if a person with Parkinsons disease finds it difficult to chew or swallow, they may avoid eating fibrous foods
- drinking problems you need water to plump up the dietary fibre in your bowel motions. Swallowing difficulties may discourage a person with Parkinsons disease from drinking enough fluids
- sedentary lifestyle lack of exercise slows the passage of food through your intestines. Parkinsons disease reduces muscle control, so lack of exercise is common
- medications many different medications can cause constipation. Medications used in the treatment of Parkinsons disease may slow bowel movements or cause a decrease in appetite.
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Implications Of Aspartame Consumption For Early Brain Development And Everyday Living
Ingestion of aspartame results in a craving for carbohydrates, which will eventually result in weight gain, especially because the formaldehyde stores in the fat cells, particularly in the hips and thighs therefore, aspartame is believed to cause problem in diabetic control. . In addition, prenatal consumption of aspartame might result in mental retardation, impaired vision, birth defects and is thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimers disease furthermore, it is implicated in disruption of learning and emotional functioning due to its involvement in alteration of certain neurotransmitters. The earlier research findings show that aspartame consumption might affect early brain development and neurotransmitter systems, which might result in specific emotional, behavioural and learning difficulties as discussed below.
Shopping And Preparing Meals
Careful planning can make shopping and preparing meals far easier. Keep a good range of foods in your cupboard and freezer that have a long shelf life as these are always a good back up if you are unable to shop as planned.
- Plan meals in advance and write a list of the ingredients before going to the shops, or ask someone to buy ingredients for you.
- Think about how long you can stand preparing your meal and dont decide on a menu that will take longer to prepare than you can cope with.
- If taking the trouble to cook a meal that can be frozen for other days then remember to double or treble the quantity so that you have a few quick and easy meals another time.
- Make use of ready prepared meals as they can be simply reheated and can save on electricity or gas as well as your own energy. Remember that frozen and tinned vegetables and fruit can be just as nutritious as fresh.
- If you like a sleep during the day, take a flask with you so you can have a hot drink when you wake up without going to the kitchen.
- If you do not own a microwave consider buying a small one as meals or snacks can be very simply and quickly cooked or reheated this way.
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Vitamin B12 And Folate Deficiency
Some people who take levodopa may have lower levels of vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 . Symptoms of vitamin B12 and folate deficiency can include pins and needles , a sore, red tongue, mouth ulcers and disturbed vision.
If youre worried about any symptoms youre experiencing, you should speak to your specialist or Parkinsons nurse.
Eating a well-balanced diet will give you a good amount of vitamins and minerals.
For many vitamin and mineral supplements, theres no clear scientific evidence they have any health benefits .
So, if you feel you need more of a particular vitamin or mineral, it is advisable to try to eat more of the foods containing it, rather than to buy expensive vitamin and mineral supplements.
You also need to be aware that some vitamins, when taken in large doses, can have side effects.
Some supplements, for example vitamin B6 and iron supplements, may also affect the absorption of your Parkinsons medication.
Before purchasing any over the counter mineral and vitamin supplements from chemists or health food shops, consult your GP, specialist, Parkinsons nurse or registered dietitian for advice.
Combine Exercise With Diet
Dr. Gostkowski says if you want to feel your best, combine a healthy diet with exercise. Research has shown that regular exercise can improve PD symptoms.
Do exercise that raises your heart rate, Dr. Gostkowski says. Aim for about 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Dont worry about specific exercises. Do an activity you enjoy, as long as it gets your heart rate up. Try brisk walking or biking or more advanced exercise for veteran athletes. I recommend seeing an occupational therapist. They can tailor an exercise program to your needs.
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Stroke Dementia And Alzheimers Disease
People drinking diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia as those who consumed it weekly or less. This included a higher risk of ischemic stroke, where blood vessels in the brain become obstructed, and Alzheimers disease dementia, the most common form of dementia, reported a 2017 study in Stroke.10
- See also: Boston University School of Medicine video of the study by neurologist Matthew Pase, Daily Consumption of Sodas, Fruit Juices and Artificially Sweetened Sodas Affect Brain.
- Study links diet soda to higher risk of stroke, dementia, by Fred Barbash, Washington Post
In the body, the methyl ester in aspartame metabolizes into methanol and then it may be converted to formaldehyde, which has been linked to Alzheimers disease. A two-part study published in 2014 in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease linked chronic methanol exposure to memory loss and Alzheimers Disease symptoms in mice and monkeys.
- ethanol-fed mice presented with partial AD-like symptoms These findings add to a growing body of evidence that links formaldehyde to pathology. 11
- ethanol feeding caused long-lasting and persistent pathological changes that were related to these findings support a growing body of evidence that links methanol and its metabolite formaldehyde to pathology. 12
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Calcium And Vitamin D Intake
Osteoporosis is particularly important to avoid as falls are common in Parkinsons. It is now thought that there is a link between the severity of Parkinsons and bone density so you should ask your doctor to assess your calcium and Vitamin D to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Although Vitamin D is not found in food, the following foods may be fortified with Vitamin D:
- Good food and beverage sources of calcium are low fat milk, fortified soy/rice beverages, fortified juice, low fat cheeses and yogurts.
- Good food and beverage sources of vitamin D are low fat milk, fortified soy/rice beverages, fortified juice, fatty fish, and fortified yogurt.
- There are many different kinds of calcium and vitamin D supplements. Ask your pharmacist for advice on the different kinds available. If you unable to move around, do not take calcium or vitamin D supplements without consulting your doctor.
Do as much weight-bearing exercise as you can, such as walking, dancing, or aerobics. Aim for 30 minutes or more of activity per day as often as you can. Talk to your doctor or physiotherapist on how to safely include activity into your lifestyle.
Other vitamins and minerals
Vitamins A, D, E and K tend to be found in milk and dairy food and are fat-soluble, which means that they remain in the body for some weeks before being used or expelled.
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Who Can Give Me Advice On Diet And Eating Problems
Depending on the country you live in your doctor may be able to refer you to any of the following specialists to give advice on diet or eating problems.
- A dietitian can provide advice on all aspects of nutrition and diet. They will advise on maintaining a healthy diet to suit your needs and symptoms, bearing in mind the medications you take
- A speech and languagetherapist will be able to help you with swallowing problems and strategies to overcome these, as well as speech difficulties. They can also help eliminate any other possible causes of swallowing problems
- An occupational therapist will be able to look at ideas and equipment to make food preparation and mealtimes easier .Simple changes to your kitchen and dining area can make all the difference, for example:
- adding grab rails to help you move around safely
- moving the position of equipment so that food preparation tools are grouped together so you dont need to move around as much
- buying a blender, microwave or small chopper, for example, to ease preparation and reduce the amount of time spent manually preparing food.
How Do Diet Exercise And Supplements Affect Parkinsons Disease Progression
Laurie Mischley, ND, PhD, MPH
Prior studies have found that people who consume green tea, coffee, and blueberries and avoid dairy may have a lower risk of Parkinsons disease. Whether nutrition is associated with rate of disease progression in patients with Parkinsons disease, however, is not known.
To evaluate whether diet, exercise, and supplements are associated with rate of Parkinsons disease progression, Laurie Mischley, ND, PhD, MPH, Assistant Research Scientist at Bastyr University Research Institute in Kenmore, Washington, and Richard Lau, MPH, a PhD student in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University in Corvalis conducted an Internet-based natural history study. A total of 1,024 patients participated in the study. Participants had a mean age of 60.7 and had been diagnosed with Parkinsons disease for an average of 6.7 years.
The researchers used the Patient-Reported Outcomes in Parkinsons Disease scale to assess Parkinsons disease severity. Disease progression was defined as PRO-PD score adjusted for age and years since diagnosis. They used baseline food frequency questionnaires to quantify dietary intake in the cross-sectional analysis.
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Mediterranean Diet As A Treatment
The main components of the Mediterranean diet include: daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and healthy fats weekly consumption of fish, poultry, beans, and eggs moderate consumption of dairy products and limited intake of red meat . Adherence to the MedD is associated with decreased risk of PD . One of the most dramatic differences between the traditional Western diet and the MedD is dietary fiber intake. Consumption of dietary fiber is typically very low in Western societies, but high in those who consume a Mediterranean diet . It makes sense then that the Mediterranean diet-associated microbiome is characterized by a high relative abundance of bacteria that can utilize fiber as an energy source such as SCFA-producing bacteria . Indeed, microbiota communities from subjects consuming a Mediterranean diet are enriched in SCFA-producing bacteria . Fiber can also be administered experimentally to alter the microbiota structure and function including an increase in the relative abundance of fiber-fermenting bacteria as well as increased production of SCFA .
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Diet As A Prevention Or Treatment For Pd
Based on these data it is clear that there are several mechanisms by which intestinal bacteria, bacterial products, or bacterial metabolites and intestinal hormones can influence neuroinflammation and neurodegenerative processes. Therefore, it seems logical that dietary interventions targeted at modifying the intestinal microbiota structure and/or function and intestinal peptides may modify PD disease pathogenesis. Indeed, Hippocrates said: Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food . Diet has recently gained importance as a risk factor for developing PD and also as a potential therapeutic approach to treat PD . Below is a summary of dietary interventions that may be useful in the prevention and/or treatment of PD as well as the mechanisms by which this benefit may be conferred on the brain.
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Foods Containing Nutrients That People May Be Deficient In
Some research suggests that people with Parkinsons often have certain nutrient deficiencies, including deficiencies in iron, vitamin B1, vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D.
The above study points out that some of these deficiencies may be associated with neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, which are key factors in Parkinsons.
Therefore, people with Parkinsons may wish to consume more of the following foods.
Foods containing iron
The following foods are good sourcesof iron:
- certain fortified foods