On this page you’ll find information about nutrition for people living with Parkinson’s from international experts. We shared this information in our weekly e-newsletter, Out & About with Parkinson’s and on our blog.
May 17, 2019
Michael J Fox Foundation updated their guide on diet and Parkinson’s. Click here to download Parkinson’s Disease and Diet: A Practical Guide by Rachel Dolhun, MD.
May 6, 2019
Thank you to Diane Sherman, editor of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Parkinson’s Newsletter for this nutrition information! You’ll find information from 2 sources.
From the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA)
From Dr. Rebecca Gilbert, APDA Vice President and Chief Scientific officer: “The role of nutrition – food and supplements – in the management of Parkinson’s disease”
Click here to read Part One of Dr. Gilbert’s blog: “What we know about avoiding particular foods & supplements for Parkinson’s.”
Click here to read Part Two of Dr. Gilbert’s blog: “What we know (and don’t know) about taking particular foods & supplements for PD.”
Click here to read Part Three of Dr. Gilbert’s blog: “What we know and don’t know about adhering to particular diets.”
Nutritional Guidelines for People with PD
By Susan Imke, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Certified Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP-C), Senior Health Solutions, 2018
• Parkinson disease (PD) slows gastric motility.
Chewing and swallowing are prolonged; stomach emptying is delayed, and food moves through the intestines more slowly than in someone who does not have PD. Nutrients are better absorbed when small amounts are eaten frequently rather than three large meals per day.
• Most patients get more benefit from levodopa when taken on an empty stomach.
A tablet, taken prior to eating (even 15 minutes is beneficial) with 4-5 oz. non-dairy liquid, is “washed” through the stomach, into the small intestine where absorption begins. Think of it as allowing levodopa a “head start” on absorption over the food about to be consumed
• If levodopa causes nausea,
a small cracker or bite of fruit can be taken with doses required between meals. Pretzels are excellent, since they require no refrigeration. Crystallized ginger can be nibbled to offset nausea.
• Some people with PD get benefit from altering the amount or timing of protein intake to avoid interfering with levodopa absorption.
These are typically patients who experience significant on/off motor fluctuations and may take levodopa four or more times per day. To verify if protein is interfering with your L-dopa absorption, experiment with a vegetarian diet for 3 days to determine whether levodopa effect and motor function is significantly improved.
• Weight maintenance
can become a problem for some people who have PD. Frequent, small meals can help maintain optimal weight. Sometimes patients or caregivers are so diligent in limiting fat intake and worrying about protein restrictions, that they deprive themselves of much needed calories.
• Many dietitians recommend augmenting dietary intake with a daily vitamin and mineral supplement
as a nutritional “insurance policy”. Do not choose a mega-dose formula. Always take supplements with food.
Tip: Our natural sense of thirst diminishes with age.
Antiparkinson drugs also dry out the body. It is important to drink water “by the clock”, as precisely as you take your medications. This allows better absorption of nutrients from foods as well as medications and reduces the risk of dehydration.
April 29, 2019
from a Soft Voice in a Noisy World
Last week on Karl Robb’s blog, A Soft Voice in a Noisy World, Karl posted his interview with Kathrynne Holden. Kathrynne is a well-known expert on nutrition and Parkinson’s and I’m delighted to share this interview with you. Thank you, Karl! Click here to read more.
February 1, 2019
from Food for Thought
Click here to check out a video entitled Food for Thought: Diet & Nutrition in PD by Laura Mischley ND PhD MPH. Peggy says, “Dr. Mischley from Bastyr University has been conducting a study on alternative and complementary care in progression of PD. I’ve been participating for about 2 years; they send out a thorough questionnaire and food diary to respond to every 3 months. Her findings (in the video) are interesting and encouraging.” Thank you Peggy, for sharing this information with us!
January 18, 2019
This week I was asked if I could recommend someone local who has a good understanding of nutrition for Parkinson people. I’m not aware of anyone, so I did some research online and found a video that really impressed me. The panel addresses a number of issues I’ve been asked about such as protein and levodopa, unintentional weight loss, constipation, supplements, and more. They’ve packed a lot of good explanations and suggestions into 35 minutes, and I highly recommend it. Click here to view – it’s episode 3 on this page.
This video is on ParkinsonTV.org, part of the ParkinsonNet initiative – www.parkinsonnet.info (this is the link for the English language version) – led by Prof. dr Bastiaan Bloem. I heard Dr. Bloem speak at the World Parkinson Congress in 2016, and I appreciate how his explanations are so easy to understand.
Season one on ParkinsonTV covers the basics, and in season two they discuss mental health. In the episode on nutrition, they refer to the episode on medications (episode 2), and it’s worth watching, too. If you’re looking for something to do when you’re housebound on these snow/ice days, how about checking out these TV shows?