Preventing Parkinson's Disease through a Parkinsons Diet  -  Is Organic the Way to Go?

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Trying to figure out what a preventative Parkinsons diet should include and, as importantly, not include is complicated and there are no definite answers. Nevertheless there is new information that may help guide you in determining what Parkinson's diet and lifestyle habits are best. 

Parkinson's is a degenerative disease of the central nervous system that affects motor skills leading to tremors,  stiffness, impaired balance and slow unsteady movement. It can progress over time  to cognitive damage including dementia and death. While there are drugs and treatments like deep brain stimulation that can improve symptoms, there is no cure.

Between 500,000 and a 1.5 Million Americans live with Parkinsons. According to the Center for Disease Control, it is the 14th leading cause of death in the U.S. with a 4.6% increase in deaths attributed to it in 2010, the last year for which data is available. That year 22,032 died from Parkinson's. It is most prevalent in people over age 50, although 1 in 20 Parkinsons sufferers are below that.

Italian researchers conducting a meta-analysis of a 104 studies have confirmed that exposure to many common pesticides, weed killers and fungicides is associated with a higher risk of developing Parkinsons - exposure to these substances represent a considerably higher risk of disease.

The study looked at the proximity, dose and time of exposure to these substances including via rural life, work and well water. They did not evaluate the type of exposure i.e. through inhalation, skin exposure, drinking  or other.

The researchers found that exposure to bug and weed killers and solvents increased  risk of developing Parkinsons by 33 to 80% and was dose as well as time related. Exposure to the widely used herbicide paraquat or the fungicides maneb and macozeb doubled this risk!

The results were published in the May 2013 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology and suggest the importance of avoiding pesticide exposure whether in the food you eat as well as your home, garden or work place. Organic food may well be the way to go, although the study did not look at a Parkinsons diet and pesticide exposure specifically.

Separate research has indicated that organic produce has a 30 % lower pesticide residue than conventionally grown food.

Eating organic food may be one small step towards lowering ones risk for developing this devastating disorder.

When you have Parkinson’s disease it’s essential that any Parkinsons Diet be a healthy well balanced one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. As well as important nutrients, fruits and vegetables and whole grains contain all important fiber, essential to avoid constipation, a common problem for Parkinson’s patients.

Thinning bones is a problem with Parkinson's disease. Any Parkinsons Diet should account for this. Press here to read more about the importance of Calcium and Magnesium for bone health.

For more information on Parkinson’s Disease generally from the American Academy of Neurology press here.

Press here for more information from Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

Press here for more information from the American Parkinson Disease Association.

Press here for more information from Parkinson’s UK.

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