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Parkinson's Disease HOL-emblem1-web.GIF (3556 bytes)

Dietary Guidelines

Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet can be beneficial for anybody. A high protein diet, however, may limit levodopa's effectiveness.

Despite some early optimism, recent studies have shown that tocopherol (a form of vitamin E) does not delay Parkinson's disease. This conclusion came from a carefully conducted study called DATATOP (Deprenyl and Tocopherol Antioxidative Therapy for Parkinson's Disease) that examined, over five years, the effects of both deprenyl (Selegiline) and vitamin E on early Parkinson's disease. While deprenyl was found to slow the early symptomatic progression of the disease and delay the need for levodopa, there was no evidence of therapeutic benefit from vitamin E.

Foods to Eat
bulletSpelt (made as congee): Spelt has been used as an adjunct in the treatment of many disorders, including Parkinson's.
bulletVegetables (especially leafy greens)
bulletVegetable juice (especially carrot)
bulletSprouted grains
bulletRaw seeds (such as sunflower and pumpkin)

Foods to Avoid
bulletChemicalized and processed food
bulletCaffeinated tea


Eat a well-balanced, high-fiber diet. Maximize your intake of fresh green vegetables. Green leafy vegetables, rutabagas, sesame seeds, and sesame butter are good.

As much as possible, buy organic fruits, vegetables, and grains to minimize your exposure to pesticide residues.

Limit your intake of high-protein foods to no more than six ounces per day, taken mostly at dinner.

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), found in bananas, beef, fish, liver, oatmeal, peanuts, potatoes, and whole grains, interferes with the action of L-dopa. If you are taking L-dopa, take these foods only in moderation, if at all. (If you are taking a combination Levadopa and cardidopa such as Sinemet, you need not have to avoid the intake of Vitamin B6.)

Fava beans, also called broad beans, are a natural source of levodopa. One-half cup contains 250 mg, or the same amount as one pill. But don't substitute beans for pills without first consulting your doctor.

Patients attempt to relieve the constipation that often accompanies Parkinson's by eating bran. But recent research shows that bran is high in vitamin B-6, which interferes with the effectiveness of levodopa when the drug is taken alone. Prune juice, grains, and fiber laxatives should be substituted instead.

Foods seasoned with hot spices have been known to cause uncontrollable physical movement in some people with Parkinson's. Avoid such foods.

Avoid all alcohol, caffeine, and sugar. All these substances create an acidic internal environment and are over- stimulating to a stressed nervous system.

Drink at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of pure water daily to help flush toxins from your body.

Diet for Parkinson Patients

Parkinson's patients should pay close attention to diet; weight loss, possibly caused by persistent involuntary movements, is a common problem.

In the early stages of Parkinson's disease, people may gain weight because they are less active than they used to be. Some people may eat more because they feel depressed about their medical condition. For these reasons, and the effect of different kinds of food on your medication, you should carefully control your diet. The protein in your diet, for example, affects how your body absorbs some of your medication. Therefore, you may need to cut down on high-protein foods, or plan to eat those foods only at times that won't affect your medication.

A diet called the 7:1 plan-for the ratio of carbohydrates to proteins-is designed for patients taking levodopa (proteins reduce the drug's effectiveness). Researchers disagree as to whether the proteins should be eaten throughout the day or restricted to the evening meal, when interference with levodopa might be less of a problem. Consult your doctor to determine which method works best for you. Either way, a low-protein diet can lead to deficiencies in calcium, iron, and B vitamins; supplements are therefore advised. (if you are taking levodopa without carbidopa, however, avoid vitamin B-6; the vitamin will interfere with the levodopa.)

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