(NaturalNews) Individuals with Parkinson's disease are tossing their drugs and finding relief with alternative medicine instead. From tai chi to tango lessons; Mucuna pruriens herb to nutritional therapy, many are discovering new ways to manage the disease safely and effectively. Since the use of pharmaceutical drugs is fraught with side-effects, sufferers of Parkinson's are turning to natural remedies -- with tremendous success.
Parkinson's is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that can begin with symptoms like slurred speech or decreased ability to show facial expression. It then progresses to the characteristic tremors of the disorder. Scientists believe the disease is caused by deterioration of the substantia nigra -- a small region in the brain. Dopamine levels are compromised in people with Parkinson's -- leading to decline in mood, libido and muscle control. Environmental toxins and hereditary factors play a role in the development of Parkinson's. Researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland found that pesticide use increases the chance of developing the disease. Those living near steel factories that have high manganese emissions are also at risk. Consumption of dairy in midlife has been shown to encourage Parkinson's as well. It is unclear whether a specific ingredient or contaminant in milk is causing the problem.
Conventional medicine usually prescribes the drug levodopa for Parkinson's. After time; however, it begins to lose its effectiveness in supplying bioavailable dopamine. Levodopa is risky. Development of dyskinesia (the inability to control muscles) is linked with the drug. Low blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, gastrointestinal bleeding, anxiety, vomiting, hair loss and trouble breathing are also associated with levodopa use.
The side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs can be bypassed with natural remedies and lifestyle adjustments. Through the use of herbs, nutritional therapy and exercise, the symptoms of Parkinson's are soothed.
Mucuna pruriens - Used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a natural source of dopamine, it has fewer side-effects than synthetic versions while results are seen more quickly and longer lasting. Boosts mental alertness, subdues depression and increases libido.
Vitamin E - Helps protect against Parkinson's disease. Good sources include leafy greens, nuts, seeds and wheat germ.
Selenium - A potent antioxidant that increases glutathione levels in the brain -- a crucial antioxidant that protects the substantia nigra from deterioration. Brazil nuts are an excellent source.
CoQ10 - Individuals with Parkinson's usually have low levels of this nutrient. Protects neurons from toxins and encourages energy production in cells. Works synergistically with Vitamin E. Dietary sources include fish, organ meats and whole grains.
Fish oils, Gingko biloba and curcumin are also useful in alleviating symptoms.
Physical activity is vital for those diagnosed with Parkinson's. Tai chi, yoga, walking and even tango lessons help improve balance and motor coordination. Music therapy, massage and acupuncture also have a positive effect. In The New York Times article "Marching Through Life With Parkinson's" patients get creative with movement. David Wolf of Buffalo practices fencing, declaring: "There's nothing like running someone through with a sword to make your day." Dr. Jaffe "dances the tango and whacks a heavy punching bag to reduce her symptoms and enhance function." Jaffe observes, "The punching bag helps my arms and relieves my frustrations. It feels so good to hit the thing."
Sources for this article include:
"Parkinson's Disease herbs vitamins and supplements - natural and alternative treatment, diet, food and home remedy" Ray Sahelian MD. Retrieved on September 13, 2012 from: http://www.raysahelian.com/parkinson.html
"Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson's disease: a double blind clinical and pharmacological study" Katzenschlager R, Evans A, Manso A, Patsalos PN, Ratnaraj N, Watt H, Timmermann L, Van der Giessen R, Lees AJ, Journal of Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 2004 Dec;75(12):1672-7. Retrieved on September 13, 2012 from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15548480.
About the author: Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.