NUTRITION AND PARKINSON’S

YAAKOV LEVINSON, MS, NUTRITIONIST

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

There is no special diet for people with Parkinson’s.  Recommended to eat a general healthy diet.

Physical activity may help prevention of Parkinson’s and to the slowing of its progression.

The medications used with Parkinson’s may cause nutrition-related side effects, such as nausea, poor appetite and constipation.  These effects are usually when the medications are first introduced. Crackers and ginger may help reduce nausea. Hydration (6-8 glasses per day) and fiber are recommended  for constipation.

Persons with Parkinson’s are prone to weight loss.  Nutritional consultation is recommended. Oral formula supplements are indicated if one is unable to maintain his weight on oral diet alone.  Liquid thickeners or pudding supplements are used with swallowing difficulties.

NUTRITION AND LEVODOPA

The drug levodopa is synthesized in the brain into dopamine.  Levodopa is today the most important drug for the management of Parkinson’s.

Levodopa is usually given with Carbidopa, which prevents the nausea that may be caused by Levodopa when given alone.

Common side effects of Levodopa include: nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

EFFECTS OF PROTEIN FOODS ON LEVODOPA

Branched-chain amino acids directly interfere with levodopa absorption.  Leucine, isoleucine and valine are branched-chain amino acids found in red meat, dairy, chicken, fish, poultry and eggs, as well as protein powders and whey supplements.  

Manipulation of dietary protein may reduce absorption fluctuations of levodopa in some persons. Ask if one feels that eating protein foods decreases the effectiveness of his levodopa medication.  If so, suggest a 40 minute delay between taking levodopa and eating a meal. Arrange that the main protein-containing meal is eaten in the evening.

Iron supplements can decrease absorption of levodopa, so they should not be given within 2 hours of levodopa.  Multivitamins with minerals should not be taken at the same time as levodopa.

 

“WON’T HURT AND MIGHT HELPFOODS

Coffee                      

Green tea                 

Variety of fruits and vegetables

Peppers (nicotine containing)

Vitamin E-rich foods

Cocoa polyphenols  

Antioxidant foods

Mediterranean diet