Food for Thought: Diet & Nutrition in PD

After attending the World Parkinson’s Congress in Portland in September, I posted about a roundtable discussion with Dr. Laurie Mischley that I found to be the most illuminating event I attended at the WPC (see “News From the Front: Key Takeaways from the World Parkinson’s Congress, Part I (Diet, Exercise & Supplements“). Rather than study a particular aspect of PD, she has been surveying PwPs about both their symptoms and every aspect of their treatment, including drug regimen and complementary and alternative medicine therapies, then statistically measuring which treatments correlate to slower (and faster) progression of symptoms. My post includes a summary of her findings, but the following recorded presentation from the Parkinson Society British Columbia’s Victoria Regional Conference featuring Dr. Mischley (and posted with her permission) includes more detail and much “food for thought” for anybody with PD.

Dr. Mischley studied naturopathic medicine (ND) at Bastyr University and epidemiology (MPH) and nutritional sciences (PhD) at the University of Washington. Her work is focused on identifying the nutritional requirements unique to individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. She has published articles on coenzyme Q10, lithium and glutathione deficiency in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Dr. Mischley maintains a small clinical practice at Seattle Integrative Medicine focused on nutrition and neurological health.

Some highlights from the video:

About 18 minutes in: exercise discussion starts–first day or two of exercise (30 minutes a day) have little impact but then each day of additional exercise correlates to significantly slower disease progression. Someone exercising 30 minutes, 7 days a week could have a better quality of life 10 years after diagnosis than at time of diagnosis.

About 20:30 – people who do yoga are almost 3x more likely to say their disease has reversed in the past 3 months than those practicing any other form of exercise.

About 24 minutes in – Glutathione deficiency correlates to Parkinson’s progression.

28:55 – social connection is an essential part of treatment (answering “I am lonely” to a survey question was single biggest predictor of poor disease progression). Support groups, whether in connection with group exercise or not, are important!

About 36 minutes in – take Omega 3 fatty acids to ward off dementia; once you have dementia, the fish oil doesn’t do much good.

36:45 – fish oil helps with dyskinesia, too.

37:45 – high homocysteine levels are unbelievably important to everyone – higher levels correlate to dementia, and levodopa increases homocysteine levels; blood work needs to be checked annually, and levels can be reduced with inexpensive supplements.

I highly recommend taking the 50 minutes to view this video in its entirety! (And sit down with a pen and pad while you watch…)

Larry Kahn



Food for Thought: Diet & Nutrition in PD – Dr. Laurie Mischley, ND, PhD, MPH from Parkinson Society BC on Vimeo.

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