Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which part of the brain becomes progressively more damaged over many years (a progressive neurological condition). As many as one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease, which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected. An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease. Incidence of Parkinson’s increases with age, but an estimated four per cent of people with PD are diagnosed before the age of 50. Men are one and a half times more likely to have Parkinson’s than women.
In the UK It is estimated that around 1 in 500 people are affected by Parkinson’s disease and there are currently 127,000 people with the condition.
The average age for the symptoms to start is around 60; although around 1 in 20 cases first develop in people aged under 50.
Men are one-and-half times more likely to get Parkinson’s disease than women.
In England, the ethnic group most likely to develop Parkinson’s disease is white people. Rates are significantly lower in black and Asian people.
Parkinson’s disease is not fatal but the condition can place great strain on the body.
Some people respond well to treatments and only experience mild to moderate disability, while others experience severe disability.
Due to the advancements in treatment, people with Parkinson’s disease now often have a normal or near-normal life expectancy.
Parkinson’s disease affects people in many different ways with a variety of symptoms. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease usually begin slowly and develop gradually, often in no particular order. Severity of the symptoms also varies between people.
It would be unlikely for a person to experience all or most of the symptoms listed in this section.
Potential symptoms can vary widely but are within three broad categories:
- symptoms that affect physical movement – known as motor symptoms
- symptoms that affect mood, thinking and behaviour – known as neuropsychiatric symptoms
- symptoms that affect your autonomic nervous system (the nervous system that controls your autonomic functions such as breathing and urination) known as autonomic dysfunction.
Common motor symptoms
These are the three most common motor symptoms:
Tremor – the most common initial symptom is uncontrollable shaking, known as tremor. Shaking usually begins in the hand or arm. It is more likely to occur when the limb is at rest and can be more noticeable when the patient is stressed, anxious or tired. Shaking usually decreases when the limb is being used. The presence of a tremor does not necessarily mean that you have Parkinson’s disease. Tremor is also a symptom of other conditions and is usually due to a harmless condition called essential tremor.
Slowness of movement (bradykinesia) – Parkinson’s disease can make your physical movements much slower than normal, particularly when you try to start moving. The medical term for slowness of movement is bradykinesia. Often the first sign of bradykinesia is that you no longer swing one of your arms when walking. Everyday tasks, such as buttoning clothes, writing with a pen and opening jars, can become difficult and time consuming. Bradykinesia can affect your legs resulting in a distinctive slow and shuffling kind of walk with very small steps. And occasionally, in more advanced cases, a person can temporarily lose the ability to walk and their feet become ‘frozen to the floor’. Bradykinesia can also affect the face and voice leading to a loss of normal facial expressions. A person also blinks less than usual.
Stiffness of muscles (rigidity) – Stiffness and tension may be experienced in the arm and leg muscles. This is known as rigidity. There are usually to types of rigidity – lead-pipe rigidity. where there is a feeling of constant resistance in the affected muscles and cogwheel rigidity, where there is resistance in affected muscles followed by relaxation; as if you were rotating a cogwheel.
Other motor symptoms
Some people with Parkinson’s disease can experience involuntary muscle cramps, spasms and contractions. These can occur independently but can also be a response to the dopaminergic drugs. In cases of Parkinson’s disease dystonia usually affects the muscles in the calves and feet, though occasionally other parts of the body can be affected, such as hands, head, neck and eyelids.
In some cases of more advanced Parkinson’s disease a person loses much of their natural sense of balance. This is known as postural instability and can be a leading cause of falls and injuries.
Depression is thought to affect up to half of people with Parkinson’s disease and is thought to arise from a number of complex and inter-related factors, such as:
- the reduction of dopamine and other chemicals inside the brain (dopamine can have a powerful influence on mood)
- the stress of living with Parkinson’s disease
- the impact that Parkinson’s disease can have on your relationship with others
The sudden return of symptoms can make people feel anxious, and in the most serious cases, trigger a panic attack.
Mild cognitive impairment and dementia:
If you are in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease you may experience what is known as mild cognitive impairment. This means your pattern of thinking can become disrupted and you have problems with activities that require planning and organisation.
Around 40% of people with advanced Parkinson’s disease can go on to develop a more severe form of cognitive impairment known as dementia.
Symptoms of dementia in people with Parkinson’s disease include:
- significant problems with memory, learning new information and understanding written and spoken language
- sudden outburst of emotions such as anger, excitement and frustration
- difficulties recognising previously familiar people and places
- poor concentration and low attention span
- visual hallucinations (seeing things that are not real)
- delusions (believing in things that are not true)
Having both hallucinations and delusions and being unable to tell the difference between your imagination and reality is known as psychosis.
Insomnia (problems sleeping) is thought to affect around half of those with Parkinson’s disease. Periods of insomnia often come and go over the course of the disease.
Causes of insomnia are often complex. They can include changes to the brain, side-effects of some of the medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease, breathing difficulties during sleep, abnormal movement during sleep and the natural effects of aging.
This in turn can cause excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden dozing during the day. Some medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease can also make you feel drowsy during the day.
Your automatic nervous system is the part of your brain and nervous system that regulates functions of your body that you do not have to think about, such as breathing, swallowing, digesting food and passing urine. The changes in brain chemistry that occur in Parkinson’s disease can disrupt many of these functions and cause the following:
- problems with urination – such as having to get up frequently during the night to urinate and, or separately from, urinary incontinence (the unintentional passing of urine)
- in men – inability to obtain or sustain an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- in women – difficulties in becoming sexually aroused and achieving an orgasm
- a sudden drop in blood pressure when moving from a sitting or lying position to a standing one (orthostatic hypotension) – this can cause dizziness, blurred vision and in some cases fainting
- excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
- difficulties swallowing (dysphagia) – which in turn can lead to malnutrition (not having enough nutrients in your diet) and dehydration (not drinking enough fluids)
- excessive production of saliva (drooling)
Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra. Nerve cells in this part of the brain are responsible for producing a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine acts as a messenger between the brain and the nervous system, and helps control and co-ordinate body movements.
If these nerve cells become damaged or die, the amount of dopamine in the brain is reduced. This means that the part of the brain controlling movement cannot work so well, which causes movements to become slow and abnormal.
The loss of nerve cells is a slow process. The level of dopamine in the brain falls over time. Only when 80% of the nerve cells in the substantia nigra have been lost will the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appear and gradually become more severe.
It is not known why the loss of nerve cells associated with Parkinson’s disease occurs.
Research is on-going to identify potential causes.
In rare cases Parkinson’s disease can run in families; in this situation abnormal genes are responsible, but the exact role genetics plays in causing ordinary (sporadic) Parkinson’s disease is unclear.
So far at least nine genetic mutations have been identified as increasing a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (a genetic mutation is when the instructions carried in all living cells become scrambled in some way, meaning that one or more functions of the body does not work as it should).
However it is thought that in most cases genetics is not solely responsible for Parkinson’s disease and there needs to be an environmental factor to trigger it in genetically susceptible people.
Research shows that exposure to toxins (harmful chemicals) could be the environmental trigger. Possible toxins could include:
- pesticides and herbicides used in farming
- toxins released by industrial plants
- air pollution related to road traffic
Arguably the most compelling evidence that toxins play a role is that drug users who injected themselves with a heroin substitute called MPTP went on to quickly develop symptoms similar to Parkinson’s. It was found that once MPTP crossed into the brain it started killing brain cells. It is possible other toxins could have a similar effect. Parkinson’s disease has also been associated with toxic build-up of heavy metals in the body, especially mercury from dental amalgams. To slow the progression of Parkinson’s amalgam fillings should be replaced, followed by a detoxification program.
As with all diseases this did not happen overnight. The very first thing you must do is see a licensed health professional. Find a list of practitioners in your local area here.
Here are some things you can discuss with your practitioner:
- Eliminate Candida: Click here to find out how
- Do the Hydrogen Peroxide Protocol to strengthen the immune system:
- Drink 3oz of Colloidal Silver, three or four times a day for 60 days www.colloidsforlife.com Silver has long been recognised as a powerful natural antibiotic. Colloidal silver is silver that has been removed electronically from its source and then suspended in water. It is used to treat a myriad of diseases.
- Go on a fast to clear your system of toxic waste www.wecarespa.com
- We recommend regular colonics to remove toxicity from the body. Read more about colonics by clicking here. Find a practitioner here.
- Most of the water that we drink is very acidic and in order to heal our bodies need a more alkaline state. During the programme drink alkalised water, which you can buy from Real Water.
If you do the Jeff McCombs Candida Protocol you will already be avoiding all of the foods that are detrimental to health. However here are the foods to avoid at all costs.
- Do not consume any artificial sweeteners, such as Splenda, NutraSweet or Aspartame
- Do not consume high fructose corn syrup or mono-sodium glutamate.
- Do not drink any carbonated beverages.
- Avoid all fast food or chain restaurants and all processed food.
- Avoid all canned food.
- Eat mostly fresh, organic vegetables and fruits.
The emphasis should be on whole foods with lots of fluids, raw foods (50 per cent to 75 per cent of the diet) and sprouts. Green, leafy vegetables are recommended, along with rutabagas (swede or turnip), sesame seeds and sesame butter. If you are taking the drug Levodopa, it is recommended to decrease the foods that are rich in Vitamin B6 – whole grains (especially oats), raw nuts (especially peanuts), bananas, potatoes, liver and fish, as this can make Levodopa ineffective. Patients taking the drug Sinemet do not need to avoid B6-rich foods or B6 supplements.
It is recommended that you increase your intake of foods rich in antioxidants (chemicals that scavenge and eat-up so-called ‘free radicals’ –- tiny molecules that circulate in your tissues and damage those tissues.) Free radicals have a special affinity for cells that produce dopamine. So the greater the number of antioxidants in your system, the fewer the number of circulating free radicals. Theoretically this should reduce the rate of loss of dopamine cells over time.
Foods which are rich in antioxidants include spinach), broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, garlic, red kidney beans, pinto beans, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, plums and apples. Tea, especially green tea and black tea, contains a lot of antioxidants. Red wine and dark juices, such as pomegranate and blueberry are also rich in antioxidants.
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient for most tissues in your body so make sure you consume adequate amounts. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are high in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Assessment of individual amino acids is important. Consult an orthomolecular doctor. Other useful nutrients include GABA, calcium, and magnesium, vitamin B complex (but not to be taken with Levodopa), lecithin, vitamin C, vitamin E, evening primrose oil, multivitamin/mineral complex, and DHEA (a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands). Consult a licensed health practitioner first.
Rserachers from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, reported that monkeys suffering from neurological damage, regained their ability to walk and climb after receiving injections of GM1 ganglioside, a substance that occurs natural in the nerve cells. The research found it stimulated dopamine production. The coenzyme nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) (25-50 mg per) day administered intravenously has also been shown to produce a beneficial effect in patients with Parkinson’s. Selenium is also recommended for its ability to detoxify mercury poisoning.
A study revealed patients who were given injections of 100mg of neotrophin-1 (complex glycoproteins, in this case derived from snake venom), resulted in dramatic improvement after a period of six to eight weeks.
- Vitamins D and K are essential to strengthen skin and bones. Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day http:/// for a period of up to 4 weeks.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
- Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
- . Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here or go to www.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
We recommend you consult a licensed practitioner. Ayurvedic treatments for Parkinson’s disease will centre on rectifying and bringing to balance the vitiated vata so that all the three doshas work in perfect harmony in the human body. Ayurveda considers Parkinson’s disease to be the result of vitiated Vata. It is vata that controls the overall level of balance and activation of the nervous system in an individual.
Therapies will normally consist of panchakarma treatments and internal medicines. Vasti, sirodhara, thalam, sirovasti etc are found effective in arresting the disease and helping in the recovery process.
The Ayurvedic herb brahmi is sometimes used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease, as it improves circulation to the brain and contains chemicals that may improve thinking and learning. Short-term use of brahmi, also known as bacopa monniera, is likely safe but may cause side effects including nausea, fatigue and a dry mouth. Avoid this herb if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, and seek medical advice if you have any questions or concerns about using brahmi.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
We recommend you consult a licensed practitioner. Research indicates that receiving acupuncture (a needle-based Chinese therapy) may help improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, as well as reduce depression and insomnia in Parkinson’s patients.
The following homeopathic medicines have proved beneficial but we recommend you consult a licensed homeopathic specialist to discuss them: Agar., Am Gr., Arg-n., Aur., Bufo.,Cocc., Con., Gels., Helo., Hyos. ,Lathyr., Mag-p., MERC., Nux-v., Phos., Plb., Puls., RHUS-T., Stam., Tarent., Thuj., ZINC.,.
Weakness of limbs, trembling of extremities, especially hands. Paralytic agitans. Cold and clammy sweat on limbs. All symptoms are aggravated at night.
Violent trembling (twitching) of the whole body .
When the tremors start with pain which is relieved by motion. There is stiffness of the parts affected.
Centres its action on nervous system.
Complimentary to Gelsemium. Memory impaired; easily excited and angered.
Trembling, itching and jerking, stiffness of muscles; itching of skin over the affected parts and extreme sensitiveness of the spine. .
Head trembles while eating and when it is raised higher. Knees sink down from weakness. Totters while walking with tendency to fall on one side.
Tremors of the upper extremities with paralytic weakness of the lower limbs. Feels as if limbs are hard and contracted.
Marked fibrillary tremors and spasms of the muscles, worse from motion or application of cold water. Palpitation and fluttering of the heart felt throughout the body.
Tremors with numbness, limbs go to sleep on the slightest movement, coldness and stiffness of limbs.
Trembling along nerves in limbs. Tired feeling, very weak and nervous, fainting, numb sensation.
Trembling; shaking of hands, involuntary. Cramps in calves, feet very tender. Twitching, Chorea, cramps. Numbness of finger tips.
Special action on nervous system. Painful paralysis. Pain in loins, numbness and cramps. Staggering gait.
Extreme restlessness. Numbness of legs with twitching and jerkings.Extraordinary contractions and movements.
Paralysis of single muscles. Cannot raise or lift anything. Extension is difficult.
Heavy, weary and paralyzed limbs. Trembling and unsteady hands.
We recommend you consult a licensed herbalist.
Take 40 mg most days with breakfast or lunch. This herb has antioxidant properties and helps improve memory and alertness.
Derived from turmeric, this has strong has strong antioxidant properties.
This herb in particular, is gaining attention in conventional circles as its effects mimic synthetic Levodopa, with fewer side effects.
Cowhage contains Levodopa, a chemical that is converted to dopamine in the body. This herb is safe for most adults but it does have some side effects, including nausea, bloating and insomnia. Ask your licensed health practitioner whether this herb is right for you.
Carrot and spinach juice or carrot, beet, radish, garlic and cucumber juice can be taken daily. Juices made from seasonal raw fruit and vegetables are also beneficial.
Abram Hoffer, MD, PhD, recommends large quantities of Vitamin B3, either niacin or niacinamide, to protect against the tendency of Levodopa to cause psychosis.
Areas to be worked on should include the whole spine, all glands, diaphragm, chest and lungs.
The Feldenkrais Method is recommended – www.feldenkrais.com
To promote muscular relaxation and increase the mind’s capacity to tolerate tremors.
In one study, patients with Parkinson’s who received an average of 12 sessions of instruction reported significantly less difficulty in performing their daily activities. The technique is particularly beneficial for treating chronic back pain. www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/bio_brennan.php
This form of sound therapy has shown to be beneficial for chronic illnesses such as Parkinson’s.
Australian researchers discovered that broad beans are also an extremely effective natural source of L-dopa. The highest concentration of L-dopa is found in the pod so they are most effective when consumed whole.
St John’s Wort
Dopamine influences positive feelings in the brain, and since dopamine levels are low in Parkinson’s patients, depression is often a symptom. St John’s Wort is a herb that has been used in Europe for many years. It has been proven to be effective in alleviating depression and insomnia.
Botulinum toxin A
This is a bacterium that causes food poisoning (botulism) but has proven to be effective in reducing hand, head and voice tremors when in a weak solution.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
This has been shown to have an effect on the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, however it is unclear whether it actually slows the disease or simply temporarily alleviates symptoms. The drawback is the massive dose required. The effective dose is approximately 1,200 milligrams a day, well above the 60 to 90 milligrams recommended by many alternative therapy advocates.
This is the sleep hormone with antioxidant abilities. A dose of 0.3 to 1 mg can be taken one or three hours before bed for those with insomnia. Tolerance can develop with regular use and since we don’t know the long-term effects of nightly use, it’s best to limit the frequency of use of melatonin to once or twice a week. In the 1980s, some individuals taking a synthetic drug called MPTP developed symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. It was determined that MPTP causes an oxidative destruction of substantia nigra neurons. Interestingly, a study with rats has determined that the administration of melatonin is able to almost completely prevent the neurotoxicity from MPTP, a toxin very similar to MPTP. The rats on melatonin and MPTP did not get symptoms of Parkinson’s disease while the controls on MPTP alone did.
In a 2008 pilot study involving 33 people with Parkinson’s disease, researchers determined that 10 to 13 weeks of tai chi practice led to some improvement in movement (as well as in well-being).
Ayurveda and Parkinson’s:www.aapna.org/Kampa%20Vata.pdf
Acupuncture in the treatment of Parkinson’s: www.jcm.co.uk/product/catalog/product/view/8015/the-treatment-of-parkinsons-disease-by-acupuncture-and-herbal-medicine
CoQ10 may slow progression of Parkinson’s: www.naturalnews.com/026664_CoQ10_disease_patients.html
Pesticides found to cause Parkinson’s: www.naturalnews.com/020446_Parkinsons_pesticides.html
Macuna Pruriens, a natural remedy for Parkinson’s disease: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BZIqUVmCIs
Herbal treatment for Parkinson’s: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2D55SeBbE4k
Chinese herbs and Parkinson’s: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUdMo80z6So
Caffeine – The new treatment for Parkinson’s Disease? www.care2.com/greenliving/caffeine-the-new-treatment-for-parkinsons.html
Dairy foods and the heightened risk of Parkinson’s disease: aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/165/9/998.full
Ayurveda and Parkinson’s: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1293381/pdf/jrsocmed00121-0049.pdf
Mucuna Pruriens and Parkinson’s: www.naturalnews.com/028938_Mucuna_Parkinsons.html
Beat Parkinson’s disease naturally: www.naturalnews.com/034287_Parkinsons_disease_natural_remedies.html
Pesticides cause Parkinson’s: www.naturalnews.com/027098_pesticides_disease_pesticide.html
Eating berries lowers risk of Parkinson’s: www.naturalnews.com/031698_berries_Parkinsons.html
Banned pesticide Benomyl and Parkinson’s link: blogs.naturalcures.com/pesticides-and-parkinsons-new-link-discovered
Further Information (links and books)
Natural Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease by Dr. Laurie Mischley; Natural Remedies for Parkinson’s Disease: What Works and Why by Jeffrey Fisher; The Brain Wash: A Powerful, All-Natural Program to Protect Your Brain Against Alzheimer’s, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Parkinson’s, and Other Diseases by Michelle Schoffro Cook; Stop Alzheimer’s Now!: How to Prevent & Reverse Dementia, Parkinson’s, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis & Other Neurodegenerative Disorders by Bruce Fife and Russell L. Blaylock.
Andrea Butje | Aromahead email@example.com – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt firstname.lastname@example.org – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA email@example.com – meditation, stress
Judith Hoad firstname.lastname@example.org – herbalist.
Kath May email@example.com – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges firstname.lastname@example.org – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika email@example.com – aromatherapy.
Rakesh GAC@AyurvedicLifeStyles.com – Ayurvedic Practitioner.