Slim, Fast, Lose the Shake

Could getting thin slow the progression of Parkinson's? A new study, by Mark P. Mattson of the National Institute on Aging indicates that a long-term low calorie diet might offer protection from Parkinson's disease in monkeys.

Researchers fed one group of monkeys the low calorie diet for six months, during which they lost about 12% of body weight compared to monkeys fed a normal diet.Then both groups of primates were given a toxin which causes damage similar to Parkinson's disease, causing the degeneration of dopamine neurons in the brain.Movement was affected in all monkeys, but the ability to move and speed of movement were greater in the low-calorie monkeys than in those that had been fed normally.

The researchers found that the monkeys on a restricted diet had significantly higher concentrations than normal weight animals of two chemicals that protect nerve cells, BNDF and GNDF. Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase levels of BNDF in rodents, the researchers noted. GNDF, they said, currently is being given to Parkinson's patients in clinical trials.

Fasting has been researched for Parkinson's prevention not Parkinson's mitigation. Still, it is worth a try. If the strategy delays the progression of the disease and saves even one brain cell then I will try it.Even if it doesn't work I'll still get the benefit of being the shapeliest lady in the Support Group.

3 Replies

  • Thanks for the post, there was a time in my life that I would fast one day a week, but did drink juices. Did they allow juices in the test group or only water?

  • This is an interesting point. I was dxd with PD in Sept 2007. Lately I have found that I am losing weight, even though I am taqking meds that produce weight gain as a side effect. My Neuro said it is probably due to my continuous low level tremor. One good point, my triglycerides are down enough to be taken off the med for that (unexpected present from PD).. Well, I'm down 20+ lbs and don't notice any improvement in my PD..

    On another point, please be careful before jumping on a fasting diet. Some of the PD meds will cause you a great deal of grief if taken without food, not to mention impact (or compact 8-)) your digestive tract.


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