About Parkinson's Disease
Dear Dr. Helen, I have heard you on the radio talking about your Vitamin book and how to prevent or treat certain diseases.
I did not hear anything about Parkinson’s disease. Do you have any suggestions?
Ann, Cleveland, TN
Approximately 1 million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s disease, a progressive illness that occurs when nerve cells that produce a chemical called “dopamine” become damaged and die. Since dopamine is crucial to movement, the death of dopamine-generating neurons causes tremors, muscular rigidity, an abnormal gait, and other problems. Scientists still haven’t figured out what causes these cells to die, though environmental toxins seem to play a role.
With a genuine cure still somewhat in the future, the “gold standard” for treatment of Parkinson’s disease is L-dopa, a drug that helps to control tremors and reduce rigidity by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. L-dopa is far from ideal. It has undesirable side effects, including severe nausea, dizziness, and in some cases liver damage. It becomes less effective over time, and the drug itself contributes to the generation of free radicals that worsen the disease in the long run.
A recent study at the University of California, San Diego showed that COQ-10 offers hope to those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. The study was published in the Archives of Neurology. 80 patients were randomly assigned COQ-10 in a dose of 300 or 600 mg. or a placebo. They were followed for up to 16 months. The results were astounding. Patients taking COQ-10 progressed much more slowly with some patients experiencing a 44% reduction in symptoms.
Another suggestion comes from Dr. Julian Whitaker of the Whitaker Wellness Institute. He suggests intravenous GLUTATHIONE THERAPY.
According to Dr. Whitaker, levels of glutathione, a naturally occurring brain-protecting antioxidant, are significantly decreased in patients with Parkinson’s disease, with the deficiency occurring in the portion of the brain where dopamine-generating neurons are concentrated.
Glutathione depletion may in fact be a crucial early step in the process of nerve cell damage-and replenishing glutathione stores may be an effective therapy for halting or even reversing disability.
In a 1996 study, researchers administered glutathione intravenously to nine patients with early Parkinson’s disease for 30 days. At the end of the study, all of the patients had improved significantly, with a 42% decline in disability. The effects lasted for two to four months after the therapy was stopped.
EFFECTS OF THERAPY WERE RAPID AND DRAMATIC
In patients who respond to this therapy, the effects can be immediate and dramatic. Within an hour of treatment, patients experience reduced rigidity, a lessening of tremors, and improved walking ability. One of our patients arrived for his first treatment in a wheelchair, with a significant tremor in his left arm. After his third treatment, he was walking around the clinic, arms swinging, the tremor in his left arm completely gone.
In addition to its effects on movement, IV glutathione often alleviates the depression that is a common feature of Parkinson’s disease. Glutathione can be beneficial even when administered several years after the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Injections take about 15 minutes and are repeated three to seven times per week. Dr. Whitaker says Glutathione therapy is extremely safe and without side effects.
Helen Pensanti M.D.
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