Parkinson’s disease is a difficult condition. There are no mainstream treatments that can cure this disabling disease. But some natural treatments do show promise for relieving symptoms.
Several studies have found that nicotine actually helps many people with Parkinson’s. It protects their brains and aids in the release of dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical.1,2 You don’t necessarily have to smoke cigarettes to get this effect, though. Nicotine gum, patches, or electronic cigarettes are all widely available.
Recent research suggests vitamin D can also make a big difference for people suffering from Parkinson’s. This powerhouse vitamin has so many positive health benefits, it is getting hard for doctors to keep up. But I will keep you ahead of the rest.
A new study of 286 men and women with Parkinson’s disease found those who had higher vitamin D levels in their blood had fewer symptoms, better cognitive function, and lower depression rates.3 Results were even stronger in the subjects who already showed some signs of dementia.
You can get vitamin D from exposure to the sun, but anyone who has endured a northern winter knows that’s not always possible. Wearing sunscreen also prevents you from soaking up this sunshine vitamin. And there aren’t a lot of good food sources—salmon, tuna, and vitamin D-fortified milk and cereal are your main options.
So it’s no surprise that vitamin D deficiency is epidemic in the U.S. and worldwide. But there is something you can do about it. And it’s simple. Take a vitamin D3 supplement (5,000 IU) every day. This dose is good for general health and well-being. If you have Parkinson’s disease, you should work closely with a physician to determine the best dose for your individual needs.
1 “Multiple roles for nicotine in Parkinson’s disease.” Biochem Pharmacol. 2009 Oct 1;78(7):677-85. Epub 2009 May 9.
2 “Nicotine and Parkinson’s disease: implications for therapy.” Mov Disord. 2008 Sep 15;23(12):1641-52.
3 “The role of vitamin D levels and vitamin D receptor polymorphism on Parkinson’s disease in the Faroe Islands.” Neurosci Lett. 2014 Feb 21;561:74-9. Epub 2014 Jan 3.