Glutathione Depletion and Nrf2:
Basically the cells are under so much stress that there main protective shield (GSH) gets worn down and oxidative stress damages the mitochondria and the DNA leading to cell death. Poor blood sugar control and high environmental toxin exposure are known to deplete glutathione levels and impair mitochondrial function (16).
A key pathway that maintains cellular glutathione levels and the ability of the cell to adapt to stress is called Keap1-Nrf2. When this pathway breaks down it causes increased levels of oxidative stress within the cell that leads to the glutathione depletion and mitochondrial dysfunction (17).
This pathway must be addressed in order to prevent or reverse Parkinson’s symptoms (18).
Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition Plan:
The key to preventing and reversing Parkinson’s disease is to begin with an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. This includes lots of clean water and phytonutrient rich raw and lightly cooked vegetables.
Good fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts/seeds and coconut products should be strongly encouraged. Healthy animal products such as grass-fed beef, bison, lamb, antelope, deer and free-range chicken, turkey and eggs should be used generously.
Reduce Sugar and Maximize Nutrients:
Sugar and food sources that metabolize into sugar such as grains and fruits should be used minimally. Anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, and rosemary among others should be used at every possible chance.
High quality omega-3 fatty acids are especially important for stabilizing neuronal cell membranes. Research has indicated that low omega 3 status causes accelerated neurodegeneration in the substantia nigra and increases the risk of Parkinson’s development (19, 20)
Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s development (21). Other research has shown that vitamin B6 deficiency plays a role in Parkinson’s development (22).
Boost Intracellular Anti-Oxidants:
It is very important for individuals who are suffering from Parkinsons or are susceptible to the disease to boost intracellular glutathione levels. Glutathione (GSH) is a very special peptide molecule that provides the greatest anti-oxidant protection and recharges other anti-oxidants within the body (23, 24).
Glutathione helps the cells eliminate wastes from the intracellular environment and into the bloodstream. In order to prevent retoxification it is essential to use a binding agent such as activated charcoal.
Research has found that activated charcoal is a very effective way to remove pesticidal and herbicidal chemicals and other organic toxins from the body (25) I use Activated Charcoal with my Parkinson’s clients to reduce the toxic load.
L-Dopa and Nuerotransmitter Problems:
L-dopa is the most commonly prescribed medication to treat Parkinson’s disease. Individuals with Parkinson’s have low dopamine production in the substantia nigra. L-dopa is a synthetic form of dopamine. It often gives some symptomatic benefits for a short period of time, however, it never addresses the underlying oxidative stress in the brain and the individual never truly gets better.
Unfortunately, L-dopa depletes the body of key nutrients that are precursers to major neurotransmitters in the brain. This includes L-tryptophan, L-tyrosine, serotonin and sulfur compounds which are needed to produce glutathione (26, 27, 28, 29). This causes further neurological problems and is responsible for many of the mood disorders that are common side effects of L-dopa medication usage.
Additionally, nausea is a very common side effect of L-dopa. Carbidopa is often prescribed to help with the nausea. This medication depletes vitamin B6 which is commonly low in Parkinson’s patients to begin with. The medications prescribed only cause a long-term worsening of the Parkinson’s disease process (30).