Sunday, October 10, 2010

Parkinson's Disease Nutritional Supplements

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disease that affects nearly 1 million people in the U.S., according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. People affected by the disease may experience stiffness in the limbs, tremor, difficulty moving and impaired balance and coordination. Parkinson's disease occurs when cells that produce the a neurotransmitter called dopamine, start to die. As a result, dopamine levels in the brain fall, which in turn leads to movement and coordination problems. There is no cure for Parkinson's disease but it can be managed with medication. Nutritional supplements may also play a role in Parkinson's disease management; however research findings are somewhat inconclusive. Always check with your doctor before taking supplements.

Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that plays an important role in energy production. It occurs naturally in every cell of the body. It plays a particularly important for the mitochondrial bodies found in every cell as mitochondria are responsible for converting food into energy. According to the charity, Parkinson's UK, people with Parkinson's disease have less coenzyme Q10 in their cells than people who don't have the condition. They also have impaired mitochondrial function, which leads to an increase in free radicals, which cause cell damage. Since coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant, it can neutralize free-radical damage. Coenzyme Q10 is found in small quantities in some foods, though Parkinson's UK notes that taking a coenzyme Q10 supplement is a more effective way of obtaining the antioxidant.

Creatine is an antioxidant that improves mitochondrial function and helps protect brain cells from free-radical damage. Creatine has been shown to prevent the loss dopamine-producing brain cells in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease. The benefit to humans has not been conclusively proved. In 2007, scientists at Rush University Medical Center initiated a clinical trial to determine whether taking a creatine supplement can slow disease progression, reports Medical News Today. According to Rush University Medical Center, the study is expected to last for at least five years to accurately determine creatine's effect on disease progression.

According to Medical News Today, a study published in "The Lancet Neurology" in 2005, vitamin E may reduce the risk the of developing Parkinson's disease. Lead author, Dr. Mayhar Etminan from the Royal Victoria Hospital in Quebec, says that the benefits noted during the study were confined to vitamin E obtained through the diet. Dr. Etminan said that no definitive conclusions could be made as to whether vitamin E supplements would have the same benefit. Earlier research, published in 1991 in the "Annals of Neurology," found that administering a high dose of vitamins E and C to patients with Parkinson's delayed disease progression.

by Charlotte Waterworth

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