Parkinson's Disease

If you or a loved one have Parkinson’s Disease (PD), you are very familiar with these symptoms and you know this illness is very personal.

  • Stiff legs and difficulty walking
  • Shaking and tremors of your hands and legs
  • Restless leg syndrome that keeps you up at night
  • Severe constipation
  • Short term memory problems and cognitive changes
  • Depression, anxiety, despair, hopelessness

PD is defined as “an idiopathic, slowly progressive, degenerative Central Nervous System (CNS) disorder characterized by slow and decreased movement, muscular rigidity, resting tremor, and postural instability”.

Standard neurology views Parkinson’s as a degenerative condition caused by loss of dopamine-secreting neurons resulting in reduction of the levels of dopamine in the brain.

Dopamine is a vital neurotransmitter that facilitates the transfer of information from neuron to neuron, and also regulates motor control, sex drive, immune function, and motivational behavior.

As dopamine levels fall, the neurons responsible for transporting dopamine die at higher-than-normal rates, triggering the chain of events that eventually leads to the onset of PD.

What causes Parkinson’s disease?

From a functional medicine standpoint, the evolution of PD is complex

There are genetic or hereditary forms of Parkinson’s, and several other reactions or exposures may initiate the degenerative process of PD, including exposure to environmental toxins and brain injury or trauma.

Inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and damage, and elevated levels of chemical neurotoxins are also possible contributing factors, as is Relative Nutritional Deficiency.

Relative Nutritional Deficiency™, or RND, occurs when an “optimal diet” doesn’t meet the needs of the system, according to esteemed physician Marty Hinz, MD.

Dr. Hinz categorizes disease as either being serotonin dependent or dopamine dependent, and says, “When there is not enough serotonin or dopamine on an optimal diet, a relative nutritional deficiency of the naturally occurring aromatic amino acids or cofactors is always present.” Simply put, not having the right nutritional balance contributes to the development of Parkinson’s Disease.

When using the specific protocols developed by Dr. Hinz, the goal is to find the exact level of amino acids for your optimal health. For those with Parkinson’s, a Mucuna pruriens supplement is added to provide your body with the nutrient levels it needs.

In my practice, I employ functional medicine and acupuncture to address many of the common side-effects of PD, such as constipation, tingling in hands and feet, balance problems, and restless leg syndrome, to name a few.

I have studied with Dr. Hinz for over a decade and I have seen first-hand success possible when his protocols are properly employed.

The development of PD is complex; there are genetic or hereditary forms of Parkinson’s, and several other reactions or exposures may initiate the degenerative process of PD, including exposure to environmental toxins and brain injury or trauma.

Diet and Parkinson’s Disease

Nutrition is the foundation of your health and wellness, and this is especially true when you have PD. Your health will improve when your diet is rich in organically grown fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (fava beans, rich in L-dopa, are especially good), and omega – 3 fatty acid – rich fish, while low in other animal products.

Refined sugars, starches, processed foods and saturated fats increaseinflammation and oxidative damage contributing to disease progression.

People with PD should eat red meat rarely, if at all. The part of the brain impacted by PD is the part of the midbrain known as the substantia nigra. The intake of animal protein foods, particularly meat, provides iron, which can easily oxidize in the body and appears in the substantia nigra. Iron also increases free radical damage and has been found, at elevated levels, to increase the risk developing PD.

While it is not yet possible to “cure” PD, the work of Dr. Hinz, as part of a comprehensive plan that includes acupuncture, functional medicine, and nutrition, work to slow disease progression and provide you with a higher level of wellness and quality of life.

The lack of nutrients in the Standard American Diet (SAD) has resulted in an increasing number of metabolic illnesses in our society. Parkinson's Disease is the second most important age – related neurodegenerative disorder. Conventional pharmacological treatments for PD are dopamine precursors such as levodopa.