Parkinson’s. It’s a dreaded disease that robs people of their most basic body functions.
It starts with small changes. A shuffle while walking. A tremor in one finger or hand, maybe. A shift in handwriting. A slur while talking. But over time it progresses, and eventually many people with Parkinson’s will have muscles so rigid they can’t move, speak, or even swallow.
And the scariest part is that, most of the time, we don’t really know what causes Parkinson’s. Which makes it hard to avoid. But new research sheds some light on a common virus that may up the risk. And the good news is that it’s often preventable.
According to a recently published study, getting a particular strain of flu may make Parkinson’s more likely.
The researchers looked at the effects of the H1N1 influenza virus (a.k.a. swine flu) on mice. They found that the mice who were infected with H1N1 were more susceptible to toxins known to trigger Parkinson’s disease later in life. And even long after the infection, the flu-exposed mice had more severe Parkinson’s symptoms than those who didn’t have the flu.
Swine flu belongs to the very common Type A family of influenzas. Those are the ones we’re exposed to every year during flu season. So avoiding it could be a key part of reducing Parkinson’s risk, if this research pans out.
Does that mean you should submit to the annual pressure to get a flu shot?
I don’t think so. I’ve said it before, but the flu vaccine is not nearly as effective as the mainstream medical establishment would have you believe. There are much better ways to boost your immune system and avoid getting the flu.
- Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water (not that antibacterial junk) for a full 30 seconds.
- Cut sugar (not only to boost your immunity, but to curb inflammation, which is known to play a role in Parkinson’s).
- Do the occasional quick fast, which research shows can kick-start your immune system. (Nothing drastic—just 24 to 48 hours, with plenty of water.)
If you’d like more in-depth instructions on how to reboot your immune system, refer to my article, “Flu-proof your immune system in just three days,” which can be found in the October 2014 issue of Logical Health Alternatives.
(Did you know you can view/download past issues for free? Just go to the Subscriber section of my website www.depescatore.com and log in with your username and password—once logged in, if you scroll down, you’ll see a link to the PDFs of all of the past issues listed along the right side of the screen.)
Lastly, add a few supplements to lay a solid foundation for your immune system to work at peak performance:
- A good quality multivitamin
- Vitamin D (10,000 IU per day)
- Astaxanthin (4 mg per day)
These steps will help put you on the fast track to building a solid foundation for a healthy, thriving immune system.
Parkinson’s protection in your pantry
Supplements are great, but they’re only that—a way to supplement a healthy diet. As I said earlier, cutting sugar is an essential step in protecting yourself from Parkinson’s. But research also suggests certain foods may bolster your body’s natural defenses too.
Take curry, for example. Several studies have pointed to the health benefits of curcumin (the chief ingredient in curry). And one study even looked at how it may affect Parkinson’s risk.
Researchers investigated a specific strain of proteins (called a-Synucleins). These proteins can clump together. And that contributes to the onset of Parkinson’s.
But the scientists discovered that curcumin binds to these proteins. Which prevents them from clumping together. So curcumin may be able to prevent Parkinson’s disease. Or even alleviate existing cases.
Berries are another example. Countless studies point to the health benefits of the flavonoids in berries. Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries—they’re all jam-packed with all-important flavonoids called anthocyanins, which give the berries their color.
One study in the journal Neurology suggested they may protect against Parkinson’s too.
Researchers from Harvard analyzed data from the well-regarded Nurses’ Health Study (80,336 women) and the Health Professional Follow-Up Study (49,281 men). They looked at flavonoid-rich food intake in 805 participants who developed Parkinson’s disease. Then they compared it against men and women who did not develop this debilitating disease.
The tally? Men and women who ate the most berries (twice or more every week) had less risk of Parkinson’s.
And, luckily, berries are on the short-list of fruits that don’t throw your blood sugar into a tailspin. So be sure to stock up on plenty of fresh berries at your local farmer’s market. They’re great with your morning eggs, tossed in a salad, or as a simple dessert with heavy cream.
Plus—once again, avoid toxins
One widely accepted risk factor for Parkinson’s disease is exposure to environmental toxins. Which is just another reason to get pesticides and other chemicals out of your diet. Purge your “dirty” cleaning supplies in favor of natural products. And do your quarterly detoxes to give your body the downtime it needs to cleanse itself.
Additionally, to prevent toxic overload, you can boost your levels of glutathione—one of the body’s most powerful natural detoxifiers (as discussed in this month’s feature article, “Your ultimate armor against aging—all the way down to the cellular level”).
“Infection with seasonal flu may increase risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.” Science Daily (www.sciencedaily.com), 5/31/17