Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the most common human movement disorder. Oxidative damage is seen in brain cells (neurodegeneration) in PD. Specific areas of the brain are involved, such as the substantia nigra (SN) of the brain, which is sensitive to oxidation and is often abnormal in PD.
Nerves of the SN have dopamine activity. Most current therapy involves increasing dopamine activity. The results are good, temporarily; but, the disease progresses because the underlying problem is not being treated and oxidation continues. Levodopa makes the oxidation worse.
There is strong evidence for the role of environmental toxins and oxidation as the cause of PD. Alternative management of PD deals with the oxidation of the nervous systemas being important in the disease. Dr. Kidd’s treatment includes dietary changes, rebalancing of essential fatty acid intake, treatment with glutathione (GSH) and other nutrients, such as acetyl L-carnitine, coenzyme Q10, NADH and phosphatidylserine (PS), chelation for heavy metals and P450 liver enzyme detoxification.
GSH of the brain becomes depleted from excessive oxidation in the SN in PD. The following causes of oxidation have been implicated in the etiology of PD: pesticides, heavy metals and toxic agents (such as pesticides) carried by food. All of these agents can cause oxidation of the SN and deplete GSH. Once a cell is severely depleted of GSH, it is bound to die. (This may be a common cause of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and PD.) Low GSH can be caused by genetic abnormality, poor diet, pharmaceuticals (such as acetaminophen) and with age.
MPTP (1-methyl, 4-phenyl, 1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine) is a toxic impurity in heroin which produces severe PD. It is used in research on PD. These studies have demonstrated the severity of oxidation in PD, especially of the mitochondria. Energy production is impaired in the mitochondria and, eventually, the entire cell dies. The process takes years in PD and days in MPTP poisoning. In the process, the SN becomes depleted of GSH and supplementation with GSH is suggested. GSH precursors, N-acetylcysteine and alpha-lipoic acid, may be beneficial.
Dietary changes are suggested in patients being treated for PD. Patients being treated with levodopa should eat a low protein diet due to the interference of some amino acids with levodopa. Reduced caloric intake, especially of animal fats (omega-6,) reduces the production of oxidation. Shifting from inflammatory omega-6 fats to anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats in the diet is suggested.
Vitamin E and vitamin C supplementation are important in relieving oxidation of cells in PD. Other beneficial nutrients are CoQ10, fish oil, evening primrose oil and octacosanol. An abnormally high proportion of people with PD have a defect of P450 liver enzymefor detoxification. Dr. Kidd advises removal of any heavy metals from the body and liver detoxification. Heavy metal removal may require chelation.
CONCLUSION: Glutathione depletion is very important in the development and treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Early supplementation with glutathione is important in treating diseases of neurodegeneration, such as PD, Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. A number of supplements are listed which benefit patients with PD, with suggested dietary changes.