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Paleo and Parkinson's

by (35)
Updated about 3 hours ago
Created September 29, 2010 at 5:39 PM

My husband has Parkinson's and is trying the Paleo diet with my help. He does crave carbohydrates, and always has... a big pasta fan!

Is Paleo ok for him? Any advice on how best to approach it?

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11683 · December 04, 2011 at 3:04 AM

Jacqueline, please keep us posted on his progress. My mom has Parkinson's with lots of rigidity and pain. I have been sending my parents info about Paleo, but I think that if they read some testimonials from other PD patients saying it helped them, they'd be more inclined to give it a try.

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1409 · March 16, 2011 at 7:59 AM

The gut-brain axis is a seriously intertwined inner working mechanism. So, your question about gluten/grains/fats is very important... YES. Those factors can all contribute. Gluten and grains contribute to leaky gut which can cause the body's own immune system to self-attack brain cells that might cause PD. As well, EFA balance (and not eating seed oils) is critical to all brain health, PD or not... so keep at it and keep us posted. If he needs more 1:1 help get in touch with me. PD is on both sides of my family!

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2261 · October 14, 2010 at 10:50 PM

Before paleo, I used spaghetti squash and I really loved it. I think it is great substution.

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24523 · October 14, 2010 at 2:35 AM

The real reason I can see Paleo negatively affecting Parkinson's is that I'm not a neurologist, so I'd never advise a diet shift without talking to one.

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35 · October 14, 2010 at 2:29 AM

Sorry about the typos... Can't figure out how to edit when on the iPad.

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6157 · October 01, 2010 at 3:21 AM

Hypertension and Hashimoto's are both improved by removing grains, sugars, processed foods, and veg oils. Hard to see what the complication would be unless for some reason Parkinson's requires careful macronutrient balancing.

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24523 · October 01, 2010 at 12:38 AM

Unfortunately, no. But I bet if you had Parkinsons's, hypertension, and Hashimoto's, the doctors would need to think harder about dietary changes.

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6157 · September 30, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Can you give me a specific example? I don't know anything about Parkinson's.

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24523 · September 30, 2010 at 4:54 PM

If you have Parkinson's plus one or more comorbidities, I could see Paleo negatively affecting Parkinson's for myriad reasons. That's why it's tough to make recommendations without a clinical history (plus...we're not neurologists!).

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6157 · September 30, 2010 at 1:42 PM

Is this a standard CYA recommendation for consulting a doctor, or are there legitimate concerns about Paleo negatively affecting Parkinson's? My (very unqualified) guess is that going Paleo will not do any harm and may do some good, and that most doctors are just going to put up a fight because they are not well educated about Paleo.

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24523 · September 29, 2010 at 8:22 PM

On that note, if you ever perchance look for a second opinion, this is the biggest database of patient ratings on the web...http://www.ratemds.com/

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56616 · September 29, 2010 at 7:19 PM

Be sure to consult a doctor when changing diet or medication for Parkinsons.

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3 Answers

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24523 · September 29, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Ketogenic diets (which paleo can sometimes entail) are occasionally used as a therapy for Parkinson's.

http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/NutritionNonAuto/Parkinson%27s%20and%20ketagenic%20diet.pdf

The theory is that replacing glucose with ketones (in this case, beta-hydroxybutyrate) can bypass the PD defect and slow progression by boosting mitochondrial function.

That being said...ask your husband's doctor! Maybe he/she has tried this before for patients who are willing to try it.

Also, if he is a pasta fan, there are some paleo pasta substitutes, like sphaghetti squash and Shirataki noodles. A bit more rubbery, but passable.

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35 · October 14, 2010 at 2:29 AM

We are giving it a try. You all know there is no point in askin most conventionally trained neurologists for an opinion on diet/alternative therapies. They can't figure out whist actually causes Parkinson's if there is no genetic history. Pesticides is about all they have come up with, and when did the big pesticide use begin in the USA?

About the time our diets made the major shift to manufactured foods and grains, right? And, who is going to sponsor the studies to separate the pesticides from mass agriculture and the switch to manufactured oils/grains?

Rant over, now the observations, and these are only anecdotal. You all know heat that means, right?

He seems very content on the PD. His craving for carbs is gone, and he has lost weight, which is a good thing. Although he is relatively skinny, he has the dreaded metabolic syndrome belly. He loos like a skinny man carrying twins to term. We hope that will change.

I have to get more coconut oil into him daily. It might help with the Parkinson's constipation. Since he has given up sugar, his tea is no longer interesting, as it was just a vehicle for many cups a day, with at least two big tsps in each cup. He hasn't the taste for plain tea with coconut oil, it seems.

He has lost his desire for pasta, and is happy with eggs, lean meats, bison chili without beans, etc. He reports that he isn't hungry as much. Now I worry more about making sure he gets enough fat calories in on a daily basis.

He craved fruit in the beginning, but I think he is gradually losing that craving. I try not to micro-manage this, but let him make his own choices within the Paleo outlines. I think it is important to give the process time.

My uneducated question? Could gluten/grain/manufactured oils be a part of the cause of Parkinson's? I doubt we will ever know, unless some unconventional renegade is willing to "buck" the current wisdom.

All I really care about is protecting my husband's brain as long as I can. It is the best part of him, along with his gentle sense of humor. Parkinson's is trying to take that away, and I am gonna fight to keep that very best part of him.

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35 · October 14, 2010 at 2:29 AM

Sorry about the typos... Can't figure out how to edit when on the iPad.

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1409 · March 16, 2011 at 7:59 AM

The gut-brain axis is a seriously intertwined inner working mechanism. So, your question about gluten/grains/fats is very important... YES. Those factors can all contribute. Gluten and grains contribute to leaky gut which can cause the body's own immune system to self-attack brain cells that might cause PD. As well, EFA balance (and not eating seed oils) is critical to all brain health, PD or not... so keep at it and keep us posted. If he needs more 1:1 help get in touch with me. PD is on both sides of my family!

F92e4ca55291c3f3096a3d4d3d854986
11683 · December 04, 2011 at 3:04 AM

Jacqueline, please keep us posted on his progress. My mom has Parkinson's with lots of rigidity and pain. I have been sending my parents info about Paleo, but I think that if they read some testimonials from other PD patients saying it helped them, they'd be more inclined to give it a try.

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1409 · September 30, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Between reducing his carb intake and removing GLUTEN, the Paleo Diet should really help him out.

If he's a big pasta fan, try spaghetti squash as a substitute for a while/forever... the diet should work very well to helping him with the symptoms I'd guess, but I'd LOVE to hear more about it. My uncle has Parkinson's and I am pretty sure he'll never change his diet to help himself out, but maybe a story from you would motivate him.

Please keep us posted!!!

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2261 · October 14, 2010 at 10:50 PM

Before paleo, I used spaghetti squash and I really loved it. I think it is great substution.

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