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Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson`s disease protocols and diet

04/04/1999

Question:

What recommendations do you have for protein intake and taking sinemet? What about faba beans as a natural source of dopamine? What natural protocol do you recommend for a parkinson patient?

Answer:

Sinemet is absorbed through the gut by a transporter protein. This protein is also resposible for absorption of amino acids from the gut. Amino acids are building blocks (or breakdown products)of proteins. Thus if your diet contains milk, cheese, meat, beans or other protein rich foods this can interfere with Sinemet absorption. One way to avoid this is to take Sinemet 1/2 hour before or 1 hour after meals. Some persons with Parkinson`s prefer to take most of their protein intake with the last meal of the day to reduce flutuations during the day. Another way to reduce fluctuations is to add dopamine agonist drugs like Requip, Permax, Mirapex or Parlodel that are not absorbed by the transporter protein and hence can provide a smoother response.

Regarding fava beans and other "natural" supplements there are 2 difficulties. First, they have not been rigourously studied in clinical trials and second, they are difficult to standardize. I therefore do not recommend these products.

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Response by:

Arif Dalvi, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati