Parkinson's disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Individuals often exhibit a characteristic tremor, a shuffling gait, and relatively fixed facial expression. While Parkinson’s disease is generally more common in industrialized societies, its observed at a greater frequency in rural areas.1 Exposure to pesticides2, heavy metals3, some dairy products4, and drinking well-water have been shown to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.5

The underlying cause of Parkinson’s disease remains elusive. Epidemiologic studies have identified genetic, dietary, and toxic exposures as contributing factors.

An integrative multidisciplinary approach to treating Parkinson’s disease starts with optimizing general health through exercise and diet. A large prospective population based study in the Netherlands found a that high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids was associated with a decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease.6 A separate double-blind placebo controlled study of patients with Parkinson’s disease and major depression found improved mood symptoms in patients taking fish oil.7 Additionally, fish oil supplements were shown to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death in otherwise healthy men.8 Aerobic exercise has also been shown to be of significant benefit for people with Parkinson’s disease.9

Supplements believed to have neuroprotective effects may also be of benefit, and studies are currently underway to elucidate this further. N-acetylcysteine has been shown to protect against cell death in animal models of Parkinson’s disease.10 N-acetylcysteine is a precursor to glutathione which is a potent, naturally occurring intracellular antioxidant. Glutathione levels have been shown to be abnormally low in a specific part to the brain in Parkinson’s disease.11 Whereas glutathione supplements do not easily cross the blood brain barrier, N-acetylcysteine (its precursor) does.

At Rocky Mount regenerative medicine, we are able to administer N-acetylcysteine intravenously. We also offer specific dietary recommendations to increase levels of coenzyme Q1012, vitamin D13, and vitamin E.14 In terms of botanicals, we recommend green tea15, coffee16, and curcumin.17

  1. K. Marder, et al.: Environmental risk factors for Parkinson’s disease in an urban multiethnic community. Neurology. 50:279-281 1998
  2. C.M. Tanner, et al.: Occupation and risk of parkinsonism: a multicenter case-control study. Arch Neurol. 66:1106-1113 2009
  3. E. Tan, et al.: Dose-dependent protective effect of coffee, tea, and smoking in Parkinson’s disease: a study in ethnic chinese. J Neurol Sci. 216:163-167 2003
  4. W. Jiang, C. Ju, H. Jiang, D. Zhang: Dairy foods intake and risk of Parkinson’s disease: a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Eur J Epidemiol. 29:613-619 2014
  5. A. Priyadarshi, S.A. Khuder, E.A. Schaub, S.S. Priyadarshi: Environmental risk factors and Parkinson’s disease: a metaanalysis. Environ Res. 86:122-127 2001
  6. L.M.L. de Lau, et al.: Dietary fatty acids and the risk of Parkinson disease: the rotterdam study. Neurology. 64:2040-2045 2005
  7. T.M. da Silva, et al.: Depression in Parkinson’s disease: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled pilot study of omega-3 fatty-acid supplementation. J Affect Disord.111:351-359 2008
  8. J.P.S. Henriques, F. Zijlstra: n-3 fatty acids and the risk of sudden death. N Engl J Med. 347:531-533 2002 author reply 531–3
  9. V.A. Goodwin, S.H. Richards, R.S. Taylor, A.H. Taylor, J.L. Campbell: The effectiveness of exercise interventions for people with Parkinson’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Movement disorders. 23:631-640 2008
  10. J. Clark, et al.: Oral N-acetyl-cysteine attenuates loss of dopaminergic terminals in alpha-synuclein overexpressing mice. PLoS ONE. 5:e12333 2010
  11. T.L. Perry, V.W. Yong: Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy and glutathione metabolism in the substantia nigra of patients. Neurosci Lett. 67:269-274 1986
  12. C.W. Shults, R.H. Haas, D. Passov, M.F. Beal: Coenzyme Q10 levels correlate with the activities of complexes I and II/III in mitochondria from parkinsonian and nonparkinsonian subjects. Ann Neurol. 42:261-264 1997
  13. L. Wang, et al.: Vitamin D from different sources is inversely associated with Parkinson disease. Movement disorders. 30:560-566 2015
  14. I. Shoulson: DATATOP: a decade of neuroprotective inquiry. Parkinson study group. Deprenyl and tocopherol antioxidative therapy of parkinsonism. Ann Neurol. 44:S160-S166 1998
  15. C. Ramassamy: Emerging role of polyphenolic compounds in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases: a review of their intracellular targets. Eur. J. Pharmacol.545:51-64 2006
  16. E. Tan, et al.: Dose-dependent protective effect of coffee, tea, and smoking in Parkinson’s disease: a study in ethnic chinese. J Neurol Sci. 216:163-167 2003
  17. V. Zbarsky, et al.: Neuroprotective properties of the natural phenolic antioxidants curcumin and naringenin but not quercetin and fisetin in a 6-OHDA model of Parkinson’s disease. Free Radic. Res. 39:1119-1125 2005