Nutritional Treatments for Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive and debilitating condition of the central nervous system, which slowly worsens over time. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, over 1 million people in the U.S. currently suffer from this disease. While there is no cure, traditional treatments such as medication and surgery can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Nutritional supplements may be used in conjunction with traditional medication. Supplements have not been completely proven to be effective and should be taken only under the approval of a physician.

Vitamins

The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that high doses of vitamin C and vitamin E may postpone the need for medication. These vitamins are antioxidants that can prevent damage from free radicals. According to the National Parkinson Foundation, these antioxidants may protect brain cells. Dietary sources of vitamin E such as wheat germ, avocado and nuts, may be more easily used by the body. If taken in supplement form, the recommended dosage is 1000 mg of vitamin C three times a day and 800 IU of vitamin E four times a day. Taking both vitamins together can be more effective than taking vitamin E alone.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that is believed to have a positive effect on the mitochondria of the cells. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke describes the mitochondria as the “powerhouses” that produce energy in cells. Coenzyme Q10 plays an important role in the production of this energy. A study led by Clifford Shults, M.D. of The University of California states that Coenzyme Q10 is most effective in patients in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease but may not produce the same effects in those in the later stage of the disease. It also may not have positive effects for people at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Coffee And Caffeine

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have determined that caffeine and coffee in particular can reduce the chances of developing Parkinson’s in men and women. Men who consumed five or more cups of coffee daily cut their risk of developing the disease by half. Women needed to drink one to three cups daily to see the same effects. Alberto Ascherio, lead author for the study, reports that moderate consumption of caffeine provides the protection, and that it is premature to advise individuals to drastically increase their consumption of caffeine. According to Allen Ho of The University of California, caffeine consumption can alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s, particularly in men.

About this Author

Lizette Mollinea has been a licensed mental health counselor since 1998 and is based in Florida. She has worked as a therapist in a variety of settings including social service agencies, psychiatric hospitals and private practice. She received her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Nova Southeastern University.