Dr. Laurie Mischley, of Bastyr University, has been tracking People with Parkinson’s (PwP’s) for several years for her “CAM Care in PD” study. When I spoke to her at the World Parkinson’s Congress last fall, she explained that this is the only study looking at how people are living with PD now and following them to see who is having a more positive outcome and why. Data is collected with twice annual surveys sent to the participants. Multiple models were used to examine the association between diet, lifestyle factors, and PD severity, with Patient Reported Outcome (PRO-PD) scores used as the outcome variable. She just released an abstract published in “Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity” on September 10.
I will not try to summarize the entire report. You can read it here. However, I will give you some of the key findings.
A plant- and fish-based diet, similar to a Mediterranean diet, is associated with the lowest PD severity score. Fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, fish, olive oil, wine, coconut oil, fresh herbs, and the use of spices were all associated with statistically significant lower rates of disease progression.
Ice cream, cheese, and yogurt intakes were associated with higher rates of PD progression.
DIET SODA WAS ASSOCIATED WITH A FASTER RATE OF PD PROGRESSION
Consumption of canned fruits and vegetables was a strong predictor of PD progression. Stick with fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
Soda, specifically diet soda, was also associated with a faster rate of PD progression.
A few other things to stay away from include meat and fried foods.
Nutritional supplements: Only coenzyme Q10 and fish oil were associated with statistically significant reduced rates of PD progression. The use of Melatonin for sleep produced inconclusive results. Iron supplements increased PD progression.
And finally, organic foods were associated with a lower rate of progression.
What does this mean for us? I have basically followed a Mediterranean diet for years, however, I am allergic to fish, so I often each chicken instead. I haven’t eaten red meat in years. I never buy canned fruit and vegetables. My downfall is cheese. I am not sure I can eliminate that completely from my diet, but I can certainly cut back on it. I recently substituted almond milk for milk to use with coffee and cereal. Years ago I switched to Tom’s toothpaste and deodorant to avoid the excess aluminum exposure. The good news is that the progression of PD has been relatively slow for me.
This study will be continuing and more PwP’s are still being recruited. If you are interested, contact Dr. Mischley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on living with Parkinson’s, read Natural Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease by Dr. Laurie Mischley