Has any PwP, taking medication, found that changing to a low protein diet after having followed a high protein diet, extends their 'on time?

Most of us know that taking their medication too close to eating protein can interfere with the absorption of the medication. So, does it follow that changing to a low protein diet and still leaving an adequate amount of time between the two extends their 'on time'?

16 Replies

  • I usually take my medication on getting up in a morning and as I no longer eat breatkfast I have not seen any difference in on off time. Also I take the rest of my medication mid afternoon, so about 2 hours after lunch 2pm.

    when I miss talking it (Which I do often forget) I have only noticed more tiredness early evening. I take the remaining dose at about 10 pm.

    I dont eat meat, but I do have fish twice a week (I am mainly vegetarian) On the protein days there is never any difference between on off time that I have noticed.

  • Thank you Owdsod. 're reading your reply, it appears that you are eating a low protein diet anyway, so perhaps that is why you notice no difference in 'on time' when you do eat.



  • I am required to eat when I take my pd meds because I have "visceral off". I do notice that if I just have a snack (because I just don't get hungry 5 times a day!) I display signs of over medication like dyskinesia. However, if I eat fish, the meds don't kick in at all. And so forth. Yes, notice a big difference.

  • Thank you PatV. Yes, it stands to reason that the more protein we eat the more chance our medication fails to be absorbed fully. This must happen frequently and personally I believe 30 minutes between taking our medication and eating protein is not enough time. Don't forget that protein is not only in meat and fish, but also in vegetables, nuts and legumes.

  • It is my understanding that it's mostly Milk proteins that interfere with uptake!

  • Hello DeParkiePoet, thank you for your reply. You raise a good point about milk interfering with uptake of Parkinson's medications, but save for a splash in my cup of tea I no longer take dairy in any form as it has been identified in three prospective studies as a risk factor in developing PD. I used to drink a lot of milk as a child and as an adult frequently ate cheese, butter, yoghurt and ice cream. Since I have PD now, I am in the business of trying to stopping or slowing its progress in my body. As one means of doing this I choose to eliminate dairy products from my diet.



  • Norton please, what studies are you referring to re risk factors for PD?

  • Hikoi

    There are three papers which identified dairy as a risk factor for developing PD. They are:

    Park M, Ross GW, Petrovich H, et al. Consumption of milk and calcium in midlife and the future risk of Parkinson's Disease. Neurology Mar 22 2005;64(6): 1047-1051.

    Chen H, O'Reilly E, McCullough ML, Consumption. Of dairy products and risk of Parkinson's Disease. AM J Epidemoil May 1 2007; 165(9): 998-1006.

    Chen H, Zhang SM, Hernan MA, Willet WC, Ascherio A. Diet and Parkinson's disease: a potential role of dairy products in men. Diet Ann Neurol Dec 2002;52(6): 793-801

    Hikoi, apart from the above papers, the way I look at it is what other creatures take the milk of another species. Is it what humans are supposed to do? Also, what did humans do before farming cows? I doubt if they caught and milked a wild animal!


  • Thanks for this Norton. You may also be interested in this recent letter that puts forward one explanation connecting it to uric acid levels. Looks like there are some advantages being female here!


  • Thank you Hikoi. I have recently read somewhere that for another reason, below the age of the menopause, less women develop PD than do men; but after that change the incidence is the same as men.



  • My husband has Parkinsons (diagnosed in 2004) and he is (was) a lacto vegetarian since 1981 (he ate dairy but no meat, fish, fowl or eggs). We finally realised a year ago that when he eats dairy products, its as if his medication stops working almost completely, even a day later the remains of the high protein dairy food would often interfere with the absorption of his medication.

    When he finally (reluctantly) gave up eating cheese, milk and ice cream (becoming practically vegan), the difference was dramatic. His medication keeps him 'on' almost all the time. Now, one little slip - even a small milky probiotic drink - can cause him a big problem. The only dairy food that doesn't seem to bother him is butter.

    The bonus for following a vegan diet is he is full of energy, he has lost weight, his skin looks younger, and his symptoms are greatly reduced! A PD specialist explained it thus - when the body receives protein, it gives priority to its absorption before anything else, so the medication is blocked. The protein in plant foods is minimal and is quickly and easily absorbed. The protein in meat and dairy is harder to digest and takes longer to absorb, so it is more likely to block PD medication from being absorbed.

    I hope this helps.

  • Thank you HealthSeeker7. This finding of your husband's bad reaction to most dairy foods is, for want of a better word, dramatic! It makes you wonder what part eating/imbibing dairy products played in his developing PD.

    In fact, your post ties in with my original question about poor absorption of medication when taken close to protein. There are probably many PwP who experience failures of their medication every day, but do not properly understand why.

    Moreover, you mentioned that changing to plant based (vegan) protein has resulted in a huge improvement in his general health and longer 'on time' from his medication, I think we need to know more, such as what books and author's he followed to get where he is today.

    Thank you so much for posting such an interesting experience.

    Kind regards


  • Hello Norton,

    I've been away from a computer for a while, so I'm sorry not to have responded sooner.

    Firstly I'd like to make it clear I don't believe my husband's Parkinson's Disease was caused by anything in his diet, which was pretty standard for the first 34 years. I'm pretty certain his PD was caused by pesticides, which studies show a definite link between. When he was young, he worked on a farm and he says he loved the smell of pesticides, so he never attempted to avoid the spray when he was exposed to it, and he probably breathed it in deeply. During his time on the farm, he developed bad headaches and painful neck 'cramping' that persisted until around the time he was diagnosed with PD at age 58.

    A few years before the PD diagnosis, the head and neck pain began to decrease (I initially thought it was due to improvements in his diet*), but as the head and neck pain decreased, he started to get pain in his left shoulder and upper arm instead. With hindsight, it seemed the pain was just moving. One of his first PD symptoms was a painful 'frozen' left shoulder, and then slowing down of movement in his left arm, followed by his left leg. It always felt like a muscle was knotted in his upper arm, but now I believe that was a PD muscle 'cramp' or stiffness, and I think his neck cramps were too. He has never had tremors, his muscles just get stuck in a painful kind of cramp when his PD medication isn't working.

    Before we met, my husband had originally become vegetarian for humane reasons, health wasn't a consideration. His vegetarian diet was very limited and pretty awful - he mainly ate baked potatoes with tinned beans or tinned macaroni and cheese, banana and honey sandwiches, and junky snack food (sweets, crisps, etc) - rarely anything green.

    *When he met me, he was introduced to a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, lentil dishes, raw nuts and salads. I'd been vegetarian most of my life and had discovered the health benefits by then. Luckily he is easy to please, so he ate whatever I served him and certainly his skin and immunity improved.

    Since the 1960's I've read various studies (the first by Seventh Day Adventists) showing that a vegetarian diet reduces the incidence of heart disease, cancer and other serious illnesses. Since the discovery of phytochemicals in plant foods around 20 years ago, studies are showing the greatest benefit from following a totally plant based vegan diet. The most impressive studies have come from the China Project - a study of the diets and diseases of the largest population ever undertaken.

    I highly recommend you (and everyone!) watch the film "Forks Over Knives" which I believe you can watch online for free at this link - viooz.co/movies/976-forks-o...

    Here is the website link where you can buy it or at least watch it online for a very low price - forksoverknives.com/

    This feature film examines the profound claim (made by two doctors**) that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. Ironically, both doctors were raised on dairy and/or beef cattle farms!


    Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a nutritional biochemist from Cornell University, and

    Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a former top surgeon at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic.

    Here are their respective websites, also worth a look:

    Dr. T. Colin Campbell - tcolincampbell.org/

    Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn - heartattackproof.com/

    I also recommend Dr Esselstyn's son's website - engine2diet.com/

    Dr Joel Fuhrman is another doctor who advocates a vegan or 90% vegan diet. Here's his website - drfuhrman.com/

    This is the goal we are aiming for. We both love eating cheese, so giving up dairy was never going to be easy. But our discover this last year that the eating of dairy food triggers the ineffectiveness of my husband's PD medication has made the switch easier. It took him a number of times testing this out to be certain. Now he knows that eating dairy means the discomfort of his meds switching off.

    I hope this helps.

    Kind regards

  • Healthseeker7,

    Thank you for your detailed story in reply to my question concerning the books and authors you followed in your quest for better health and improved response from your husbands medications. I believe that almost every PwP seeks a reversal of their symptoms and if they cannot achieve that, then a stopping or slowing down of their PD's progress at the very least. It appears to me that by adopting a vegan diet, you may have achieved the latter by making your husbands medications more effective as well as a general improvement in his health. I just wonder if your story sufficiently inspires others to try the same in addition to helping in a small way to introduce compassion into farming.

    Thank you again for sharing your inspiring story.

  • I've found that I have to eat my protein either 1 hour before or 1/2 hour after I take my Sinemet. If I take it any closer to taking the Sinemet the protein competes with the Sinemet because they both use the same mechanism to cross from the bloodstream to the brain. I also need to limit my portion size to no more than 3 ounces of meat or fish per meal.

  • Hello

    Thank you for your response about when to eat protein. Have you ever considered going vegetarian or vegan to get less interaction between your food and medication. The two posts by Healthseeker7 above in this thread indicate benefits by doing so.



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