Parkinson’s Disease: Nutritional factors

By Marie Regis

PARKINSON’S DEFINITION According to conventional medicine, “Parkinson’s disease is an idiopathic, slowly progressive, degenerative disorder of the Central Nervous System characterized by four main features:

  1. Slowness and poverty of movement
  2. Muscular rigidity
  3. Resting tremor
  4. Postural instability..”

(Taken from the book “The Treatment of Modern Western Medical diseases with Chinese medicine”, by Bob Flaws and Phillippe Sionneau)

Parkinson’s includes severe depletion of Dopamine.

According to Chinese medicine, this disease can be caused by constitutional weakness, aging, longstanding illness, physical taxation, chronic emotional problems and poor diet. Emotional trauma can lead to a decline in Dopamine levels. Dopamine is a pleasure hormone; therefore doing things that bring us joy may bring back Dopamine.  Dopamine makes us feel nourished, and that life is worthwhile. It also reduces pain.D

  • DETRIMENTAL FOODS and EATING HABITS
  • Eating sugar depleats Dopamine and Serotonin levels. It also weakens the digestive system, which is where 80% of the Serotonin is produced. Serotonin is a mood regulating hormone.
  • Skipping meals and eating a lot of cold or raw foods will weaken digestion, which makes the stomach unable to digest protein in particular
  • A vegetarian diet is problematic for many people in that it often leads to amino acid / protein deficiencies. This will lead to an insufficiency in neurotransmitters that are important to brain health
  • Caffein intake in combination with a stressful lifestyle can add to the physical taxation mentioned above.
    • Alcohol and drugs leach out Mg, leading to increased acidity / oxidative stress in the body
  • HELPFUL FOODS
  • Dopamine is found in flesh, meat. 
  • Dark leafy greens are alkalizing and high in many minerals and B vitamins
  • Legumes are very important: velvet beans esp., Fava beans. These beans have high amounts of Tyrosine to build back Dopamine
  • Mushrooms are high in nutritional value. They are a great source of fiber and protein, as well as B vitamins, copper, potassium, selenium and vitamin D
  • Quinoa has all essential amino acids. The Chinese use Buckwheat (not as high as Quinoa) to build Dopamine
  • Our Dopamine can become deficient because the stomach isn’t able to digest it. The easiest thing to digest meat are enzymes found in fruit: Pineapple (bromaline), apricots, figs, jujube have enzmes. We stew meat with figs in meditarreanian cooking. Cook the meat with the fruit, so body can easily get the raw material. Helps with depression- trouble managing  pain, the pleasure principle. 
  • GABA: Epinephrine and Norepinephrine relate to the flight or flight response. Fear shuts down the pleasure principle and reduces pleasure hormones. GABA is antagonist to the fear hormones. Foods high in GABA include: seeds (sunflower seeds) and shellfish, shrimp, halibut, grouper. 
  • Antioxydants can help reduce  the fight and flight response
  • Adequate concentration of Mg is very important for Ph balance. Low Mg can lower dopamine. Diet can affect alkaline-acid balance (7.2-7.3 is balanced). Increasing acidity means increasing Sympathetic Nervous System activity (flight or flight). Increasing alkalinity leads to increased Parasympathetic Nervous System activity (Digestion, healing, immunity). *Note that testing is not accurate in blood tests because Mg stays in cell. A swab from the tongue could measure it..

This is by no means a comprehensive list of foods that are either beneficial or harmful to people with Parkinsons. Please consult with your physician regarding any possible interaction between supplements and medicine prescribed to you.