Parkinson’s and the power of nutrition
Q: My father has Parkinson’s, and I’ve been trying to convince him of the power of nutrition in fighting the disease. Can you help me?
Dr. Wright: Several years ago, researchers in Brazil examined a group of 31 Parkinson’s patients and found that every single one had a riboflavin deficiency — even though their dietary sources (like liver, almonds, and spinach) were adequate. The researchers asked the patients to stop eating all red meat and to take 30 milligrams of riboflavin every eight hours.
After six months, the patients’ functional motor capacity increased nearly 30 percent. Tests for riboflavin deficiency had also normalized in all the patients, and there were no side effects.
The researchers didn’t explain why they felt it was necessary for the patients to eliminate red meat in addition to correcting the riboflavin deficiency. But I’ve found that nearly all individuals with Parkinson’s have trouble digesting animal protein, especially red meat, so perhaps this has something to do with it.
Six months without a steak might sound like a lot. But given the possibility of very significant improvement in motor function, it’s worth eliminating it for a six-month trial. And keep in mind that the elimination is usually only temporary: If you do get positive results, you can probably add red meat back into your diet eventually and increase your riboflavin dosage to maintain the improvement. If you decide to try this approach, don’t forget to “back up” the riboflavin with the entire B-complex, and make sure to have the assistance of a skilled naturopath.