Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a central nervous system disorder in which the region of the brain that controls movement deteriorates. This neural deterioration results in decreased dopamine levels, the brain chemical that controls coordinated movement.
Dopamine plays a major role in a variety of mental and physical functions, including:
- Voluntary movement
- General behavior
A recent study published in Nature provides direct evidence that autoimmunity contributes to Parkinson’s disease.
The researchers found that fragments of alpha-synuclein cause the body’s immune system to mistakenly recognize dopamine-producing neurons as foreign bodies and destroy them.
Interestingly, PD and autoimmune diseases share a common genetic basis. These findings suggest that correcting autoimmunity may be vital for preventing and treating PD.
Parkinson’s now afflicts roughly 1.5 million people in the United States alone. Primary symptoms being body tremors, slow movement, rigid limbs, reduced memory, a shuffling gait and speech impairment.
So we love to recommand How do we prevent it.
Eat Wisely and Choose Whole Food
A diet based on whole, nutrient-dense foods is an excellent first step for reducing your risk of Parkinson’s disease. A high intake of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, fish, olive oil, coconut oil, fresh herbs, and spices is associated with a reduced risk of PD development and slower disease progression. Eating plenty of vegetables and fiber boosts levels of an anti-inflammatory group of gut bacteria that are inversely associated with Parkinson’s disease and may play a protective role against neurodegenerative processes in the brain.
Pesticides and herbicides have been heavily implicated in causing Parkinson’s.
Environmental toxins, toxic mold, and air pollution are significant contributing factors in the development of Parkinson’s disease. Creating a healthy living environment at work and at home is essential for reducing your risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Choose organic foods over conventionally grown foods as much as possible. Eating organic reduces your exposure to neurotoxic pesticides and herbicides. If you can’t buy all organic food, refer to the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to determine which types of conventional produce are lowest in pesticide residues and are safe to buy non-organic.
Eat Fresh, Raw Vegetables
If you needed more reasons to eat your vegetables, this should be the clincher. Studies show that increased amounts of the B vitamin folic acid, found primarily in vegetables, can significantly reduce the risk of Parkinson’s.
The best sources of folic acid are simultaneously some of the healthiest foods on the planet, namely dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, collard greens, brussels sprouts, asparagus and okra – all of which can be grown in your backyard! This B vitamin can also be found in avocado, legumes and lentils.
Give Up Gluten
Given the probable relationship between gluten sensitivity, gastrointestinal inflammation, and PD, gluten sensitivity testing is a must for anyone seeking to reduce their risk of PD. If testing reveals gluten sensitivity, I strongly suggest you remove it entirely from your diet.
Make Sure You Get Enough Vitamin D and Omega-3s
Parkinson’s is inflammatory in nature. Therefore, researchers have spent much of their time exploring the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are strongly implicated in the prevention of cell degeneration and death, with their benefits going well beyond Parkinson’s prevention.
Omega-3 fatty acids, like EPA and DHA, are critical for normal brain development and function across the lifespan. Low levels of EPA and DHA increase the risk of neurodegeneration. On the contrary, omega-3 supplementation can help reduce neuron death in the brain, alleviate neuroinflammation, boost antioxidant enzymes, and relieve motor symptoms in PD.
EPA and DHA are abundant in seafood. So, I recommend consuming two to three servings of seafood per week to achieve a healthy intake of these neuroprotective fatty acids.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. Quite the opposite, vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure are associated with a reduced risk.
A high density of vitamin D receptors reside in the part of the brain most affected by Parkinson’s disease; this finding suggests that vitamin D regulates the function of neurons.
Vitamin D also lessens the severity of autoimmunity and regulates neurotrophins. Above all, these proteins induce the survival, development, and function of neurons.
Vitamin D comes from only two sources:
- Sunlight – With the help of cholesterol and vitamins, vitamin D is changed chemically and absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Animal Fat – Eating animal fat from healthy animals that are wild or grass-fed is a premier source of vitamin D.
Take Prebiotics and Probiotics
Gut dysbiosis plays a pivotal role in the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease. Accordingly, probiotics have the potential to help with onset of the disease, as well as management of its symptoms. A combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum,L. reuteri, and L. fermentumhas been found to relieve constipation, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve antioxidant status in people with PD, thus correcting several of the characteristic features of the disease.
Prebiotics, fermentable fibers that feed beneficial gut bacteria, may be another useful intervention for preventing Parkinson’s disease. FOS and GOS, two types of prebiotic fibers, increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This protein is important for neuronal protection, survival, and plasticity. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor is abnormally low in Parkinson’s disease patients; boosting its levels may have neuroprotective effects.
Adopt a Regular Sleep Rhythm
Optimizing your circadian rhythm and improving your sleep promotes brain health and may reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. To optimize your rhythm, create a regular sleep–wake schedule and sleep in a room that is completely dark and free of light pollution from electronic devices. Avoid using blue light-emitting devices, such as computers and cell phones, several hours before bed. If you must use these devices, wear a pair of blue light-blocking glasses while doing so; the glasses prevent blue light from disrupting your sleep rhythm.
Get More Exercise
Regular exercise reduces inflammation in the brain, helping to counter the inflammatory signals leading to the development of Parkinson’s.
Substantial evidence indicates that physical exercise inhibits the progression of Parkinson’s disease by enhancing neuroplasticity and promoting the growth and survival of neurons. Aerobic exercise appears to have the most favorable effects on brain health and Parkinson’s disease progression.
In addition to physical benefits like increasing lung capacity, bone density and overall longevity, exercise has a distinct impact on brain health.
Reduce Your Stress
The most important thing we can do for our long-term health, both physical and cognitive, is to reduce the stress in our bodies. All stress – physical, emotional and chemical – causes inflammation and long-term damage throughout the body.
Since stress is a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease, stress-reduction practices should be an integral part of a Parkinson’s disease prevention plan. Tai chi, yoga, and mindfulness training not only reduce stress but also improve mobility, balance, and quality of life for everyone, including those with Parkinson’s. Meditation, gratitude journaling, and spending time in nature are also excellent strategies for reducing stress and cultivating a resilient, healthy brain.
In conclusion, whether you’re seeking Parkinson’s prevention techniques or ways to alleviate symptoms, any of the above dietary and lifestyle practices can have long-term health benefits.