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  • Parkinson's, Stage 1

    I need some help with something.

    The man I'm seeing recently told me he was diagnosed with stage 1 Parkinson's. He's had issues with weight and went through a roller-coaster with it the last several years, including recovery from Bulimia. He regained after bulimia to nearly 400 lbs. He's now down to about 270 now. He eats a Paleo-like diet, mostly vegetables, some protein, some fat. Most days are below 800 calories in an attempt to reach his goal weight (only 15 more pounds to lose.) I don't like it but I don't want to push the subject right away.

    Obviously I'm going to try to steer him towards eating more, and upping his protein and fat. He knows he has a problem with being afraid of food, and understands my 125 lb weight loss and 40 lb regain. We're both fairly broken people when it comes to our relationships with food.

    With all that being said, what can you tell me about Parkinson's and diet? He finds that meditation and endurance cardio relieves his (subtle) symptoms. We both have goals of more weight/strength-based fitness once we're in the same city. For now I just want to gather info and be prepared to advise the best I can. Obviously I want him to live a long and healthy life.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

  • #2
    My dad had it for 17 years, which is ridiculously long for the type he had (late onset). It seems (in my unprofessional opinion) that (even though they are both called "Parkinson's") early onset, like what Michael J Fox has, takes a lot longer. In my dad's case, I think staying active for as long as possible made a huge difference in moving and living longer.

    I know coconut oil has been shown to enhance brain health, and that's a legitimate concern with Parkinson's, so that might be an area worth researching.

    Wish I could be more help.
    Durp.

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    • #3
      I have done a ton of research about epilepsy and the ketogenic diet. Nothing specific to Parkinson's though I think a lot of it would cross over. The neurological benefits of a high fat diet are backed by decades of research. The nerve cells are coated with myelin like wires are covered with plastic. Myelin is made out of fat. If there is not enough fat, the coating wears down and you start getting a cross wired brain.

      My best wishes to your SO. Take good care of him and feed him lots of fat.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Diana Renata View Post
        Most days are below 800 calories in an attempt to reach his goal weight (only 15 more pounds to lose.) I don't like it but I don't want to push the subject right away.
        I can see you wouldn't like it. It's damn dangerous behaviour IMO.

        I think that our culture is too goal-oriented. You have to think about means as well as ends, but people seem to have difficulty with that.

        As soon as someone eats as little as that on a regular basis, they start to go short of important nutrients. That can cause all sorts of symptoms, including obsessive behaviours -- and this is someone who has already had an eating disorder. Julia Ross seems pretty sure that eating disorders are, like much else, caused by neurotransmitter deficiencies, which are going to appear when people don't eat the right foods and enough of them. I guess she works with enough of these people and has enough experience with what tends to make their problems go away to be seriously listened to.

        Eating disorders apparently often emerge in teenage girls after they go vegetarian. Obviously this is likely to be linked to insufficient consumption of protein; cut your consumption down to 800 kcal a day even on an omnivorous diet and and you're likely in the same boat.


        On Parkinson's -- yeah, if it were me I think I would eat a ketogenic diet. Not too much protein (which can interfere with ketosis) -- something like 1 to 1.5 g per kg of lean bodymass per day, very little carbohydrate, and mostly fat.

        I don't think there's much on it, but there are sparks of interest:

        Surprisingly, D-beta-hydroxybutyrate ... has also been shown to decrease cell death in two human neuronal cultures, one a model of Alzheimer's and the other of Parkinson's disease.
        Ketone bodies, potential therapeutic uses. [IUBMB Life. 2001] - PubMed - NCBI

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        • #5
          Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet

          I didn't get through the entire doc. Hopefully it's helpful.

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          • #6
            Check out Emily Deans blog Evolutionary Psychiatry. She writes a bit about Parkinson's and may well have some good insight as well as references to follow up on.
            Buy house, Demolish house, Build house.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Diana Renata View Post
              I need some help with something.

              The man I'm seeing recently told me he was diagnosed with stage 1 Parkinson's. He's had issues with weight and went through a roller-coaster with it the last several years, including recovery from Bulimia. He regained after bulimia to nearly 400 lbs. He's now down to about 270 now.
              I wonder if the roller-coaster and the Parkinson are related.
              Everything is bad for something - How do you feel today?

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              • #8
                Thanks guys for the links. Definitely gotta do some reading this weekend.

                My first thought was that the ED and Parkinson's are related also, or at the very least diet could help. We're working on the ED together and it's a slow, steady road. We both have our issues with food and we know it, so those points are clearly taken care of. The big question is, what is best for his brain's health. Certainly I believe a Primal diet is most beneficial, but if there is any tweaks that could be made, supplements, or therapies, it would be wonderful to know.

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                • #9
                  Found something interesting~ maybe he's not so off with his ultra low calorie diet~

                  from Feasting and Fasting

                  Researchers discovered that under eating and intermittent fasting has a positive effect on brain function and debilitating diseases such as Alzheimerís, Parkinsonís, and strokes due to the fact that it can protect neurons (a cell that transmits nerve impulses) against degeneration. They found that it stimulates the production of new neurons from stem cells, which may increase the ability of the brain to resist aging and restore function after an injury. While vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants may improve the health of the brain, it was shown that the major factor for brain health is under eating and an increase in the time between meals.
                  Worth further investigation, I think~

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                  • #10
                    Is he on any medication? Protein can interfere with the effectiveness of Sinemet if they are taken too close together. The closest thing to a disease modifying treatment for Parkinson's is exercise. There is some suggestion that plentiful ketones, as from coconut oil, helps. I don't think it is necessary to radically lower glucose as with the ketogenic diet.

                    My husband has had Parkinson's for 4 years. I noticed cognitive changes right away. The most common cognitive changes are emotional flatness, selfcenteredness, and difficulty with executive function. It is a nasty disease. My husband is focused on enjoying his food while he still can so he takes coconut oil but I have not pushed him to try eating primal (though I don't serve grain). He has terrible problems with constipation and diarrhea which have led to occasional bowel incontinence even now in the middle stages.

                    Forgive me for being blunt, expressing my frustration with my own situation. My advice would be to get out of the relationship while you still can, or at least do not legally marry. What can easily be 15-20 years of caregiving for someone who increasingly cannot understand what I am sacrificing is no way to live. I inherited some money, and when we married we signed a prenuptial agreement. That prenuptial agreement does not protect me from having to spend my money on my husband's care before he would be eligible for any government help. In some states a spouse has to spend their own retirement savings before their spouse is eligible for government help.
                    Last edited by Pamsc; 08-17-2012, 07:02 PM.
                    __________________________
                    age 56, type 2 diabetes, swimmer
                    low carb since 2006 thanks to Jenny, primal since Jan. 2012

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pamsc View Post
                      Is he on any medication? Protein can interfere with the effectiveness of Sinemet if they are taken too close together. The closest thing to a disease modifying treatment for Parkinson's is exercise. There is some suggestion that plentiful ketones, as from coconut oil, helps. I don't think it is necessary to radically lower glucose as with the ketogenic diet.

                      My husband has had Parkinson's for 4 years. I noticed cognitive changes right away. The most common cognitive changes are emotional flatness, selfcenteredness, and difficulty with executive function. It is a nasty disease. My husband is focused on enjoying his food while he still can so he takes coconut oil but I have not pushed him to try eating primal (though I don't serve grain). He has terrible problems with constipation and diarrhea which have led to occasional bowel incontinence even now in the middle stages.

                      Forgive me for being blunt, expressing my frustration with my own situation. My advice would be to get out of the relationship while you still can, or at least do not legally marry. What can easily be 15-20 years of caregiving for someone who increasingly cannot understand what I am sacrificing is no way to live. I inherited some money, and when we married we signed a prenuptial agreement. That prenuptial agreement does not protect me from having to spend my money on my husband's care before he would be eligible for any government help. In some states a spouse has to spend their own retirement savings before their spouse is eligible for government help.
                      I echo Pam - see the other threads here re: PD. Be careful because certain PD medications can be complicated by high fat/protein diets. I moved my mother with PD to a paleo diet and there have been many complications since, though she is off the diet, problems continue. Still trying to figure out cause & effect.

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                      • #12
                        I know this won't be popular to say, but we found evidence that a very clean organic vegan diet may be the best option for Parkinsons.

                        My husband and I did a lot of research into this because his mother was diagnosed with a very rare form of it. We read a bunch about protein interfering... I don't remember a lot of it now, but if you look it up, you'll find the info. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law never tried (and her caregivers have never tried) feeding her different things to see what helps. Now she is in a nursing home near death.

                        So, as I said, it may not be a popular thing to say on here, and generally speaking I no longer endorse a vegan diet, but I really think there might be something to it in this case.

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                        • #13
                          Palebluedots, any resources you recommend?

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                          • #14
                            I'm sorry, I don't recall any sources. His mom has had this disease for about 10 years now, and the last time we looked deeply into it was probably at least 8 years ago. But it could be worth doing a bit of research on your own and seeing if the evidence may still support that conclusion.

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                            • #15
                              The only person I know with Parkinson's is a vegan.
                              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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