While we tend to think of brain disease solely as the result of genetics, the reality is quite different. Of course, genetics play a role, but a growing body of research shows that dietary and lifestyle factors can make a huge difference in whether or not we’ll experience a brain disease like Parkinson’s, or how quickly the condition may deteriorate if we are diagnosed with the serious condition.
That’s because a healthy brain depends on many factors, including a healthy gut, brain-protective compounds, sufficient energy in brain cells and keeping brain inflammation to a minimum. Here are some of my top picks among natural remedies to help prevent or treat Parkinson’s disease. Of course you should speak to your physician before using them.
COFFEE OR TEA
That daily caffeine habit may not be such a bad thing if you’re trying to prevent Parkinson’s disease. Black, green and white tea contain potent brain-protecting compounds known as catechins. According to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, drinking at least 2 cups of tea daily can reduce your risk of Parkinson’s disease. Don’t fret if you’re more of a coffee drinker than a tea totaler; research in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that coffee drinking may have the same brain-protective effect.
CoQ10 has been shown to slow the progression of brain diseases like Parkinson’s. In one study published in the medical journal Archives of Neurology, researchers found that supplementation with this naturally-occurring nutrient reduced decline linked to the disease by 44 percent when started early.
While the study was small, a basic understanding in CoQ10’s ability to boost brain cell energy suggests that larger studies will have a similar result. In the study, people supplemented with either 300 mg, 600 mg or 1200 mg. Those who took the highest dose had the greatest results. While CoQ10 is considered quite safe, 1200 milligrams is a high dose and is best used with the guidance of someone well-versed in nutritional therapy. A similar study in the journal Parkinsonism and Related Disorders also reported benefits of CoQ10 supplementation for those with the disease.
A compound extracted from Chinese orchids, known as gastrodin, has demonstrated effectiveness in multiple studies published in the journals Life Sciences, Frontiers in Pharmacology and Molecular Medicine Reports against Parkinson’s disease. The Chinese orchid, Gastrodia elata is a traditional remedy used in Chinese Medicine. The extract is now available in capsule form in some health food stores or online. A typical dose is 300 mg twice daily. Follow package instructions.
A new study published in the medical journal Cell Reports.found that a form of vitamin B3 known as nicotinamide riboside demonstrated ability to preserve brain cells. The nutrient appears to work by improving the function of the energy centers within brain and nervous system cells. A typical dose is between 2 and 17 grams daily, although more may be needed for those already experiencing Parkinson’s disease.
Because the gut-brain link is strong, it’s no surprise that a recent study discovered that supplementing with probiotics could be helpful for people with Parkinson’s disease. Published in the medical journal Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that regular supplementation with probiotics helped reduce harmful markers for the disease while enhancing beneficial compounds in the body, as well as improving peoples’ scores on a Parkinson’s disease rating scale. While additional research will be necessary to determine the best strains to take, because probiotic supplementation has so many benefits, you may wish to supplement with a broad-spectrum supplement while awaiting the outcomes of further studies.