Best Supplements for Life Extension With Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a life-limiting and progressive disorder without a known cure. Nearly 90,000 people are diagnosed in the US each year. Research and new treatments are always on the horizon, but are there any natural alternatives to improve the quality of life of someone with PD? Is there a supplement that could slow disease progression or even extend life? Many supplements on the market claim all kinds of promises, but are claims based on actual scientific research?

Key takeaways:

What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by abnormal proteins which collect to form Lewy bodies. This collection causes decreased dopamine production in the part of the brain responsible for movement and coordination. Therefore, the outward symptoms of PD include difficulty with balance, gait, coordination, hand and body tremors, and stiffness. PD is the second most common degenerative brain disorder after Alzheimer's.

Medications treat the motor symptoms of PD to improve a person's quality of life. Unfortunately, there are no current treatments for reducing neurodegeneration associated with the progression of the disease. Medications such as carbidopa/levodopa work by increasing dopamine levels to improve movement and coordination.

Can supplements extend life?

Any medication made available for PD undergoes rigorous testing before it is made available to the public; supplements, on the other hand, do not.

Because everyone may respond differently, always consult your healthcare provider (HCP) to discuss the benefits and risks of considering a supplement. Your HCP may order some laboratory tests for baseline levels of particular vitamins before recommending the best treatment plan for you.

Best supplements for Parkinson's disease

While some supplement manufacturers claim to slow the progression of PD, what scientific research is there to support these claims, and does that include life extension?

Coenzyme Q10 (Co-Q10)

Studies have found a deficiency of coenzyme Q10 in people with PD. While not completely understood, we know coenzyme Q10 is essential in producing cellular energy, neuroprotection, and brain function and is an important antioxidant.

Some earlier studies cast doubt on the benefits of Co-Q10 in slowing disease progression in PD. However, a recent clinical trial showed that people with early-stage PD found the supplement safe and well-tolerated. Those findings suggested that it may slow the progression of the disease. Another trial is in progress, with the potential to show some promise in the early management of PD.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for cell growth and muscle activity because they surround neurons with a protective membrane. They also protect against inflammation and work as an antioxidant. However, the body does not produce omega-3, so it needs to be consumed in foods (like fatty fish, such as salmon) or by supplementation. Other dietary sources of omega-3 include flax seeds, walnuts, and chia seeds.

A study in 2020 showed that omega-3 might improve motor skills in someone with PD by protecting brain health and reducing inflammation. However, while omega-3 fatty acids may benefit someone with PD, there is no conclusive evidence that they can provide life extension.

Creatine

Creatine benefits the brain by activating ATP (adenosine triphosphate), supplying the needed energy for muscle and brain tissue. Creatine is often used in the sports world to enhance performance. Regarding PD, some studies suggest that taking creatine early in the disease could help slow some of the progression. However, other studies show no benefit.

One study looked at five randomized control trials with 1339 participants, and there was no observed benefit of taking creatine for people with PD. However, they acknowledge that more research is needed, so there is currently no conclusive evidence.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is vital in nerve cell protection and function and a building block for red blood cell production. However, people with PD and older adults generally have low vitamin B12 levels, and some studies suggest that people with low vitamin B12 are at high risk for developing PD. Conversely, when serum levels of B12 are within the normal range, people tend to show fewer symptoms of PD.

While there is no evidence that B12 increases longevity, it can improve quality of life. Therefore, B12 supplementation is an important factor to consider. However, you'll need to consult your HCP, who may run a lab test to check your vitamin B12 levels, before recommending an oral tablet or a B12 injection.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that protects neurons from cell damage by attacking free radicals. Found in citrus foods, adults often need supplementation due to insufficient consumption of whole foods containing vitamin C. While important in nerve cell function and overall health, there is no evidence that vitamin C extends the life of someone with PD.

Vitamin D

The body creates vitamin D with exposure to sunlight. Therefore, a vitamin D supplement helps increase blood levels in people who may not get enough exposure to sunlight. People with PD are often deficient in vitamin D, which may increase the progression of the disease. If you are considering a vitamin D supplement, you must consult with your HCP, who will possibly run a lab test to check your vitamin D levels before recommending a dosage for you.

Note
A high dosage of vitamin D can be hazardous to your health.

Vitamin D also has anti-inflammatory properties, which may protect from neurodegeneration. Additionally, studies have shown that vitamin D reduces falls and fractures in older adults, especially when combined with calcium. However, no conclusive evidence exists that vitamin D prolongs life in someone with PD. However, with its anti-inflammatory properties, more research is needed to explore the benefits of vitamin D in people with PD.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects from free radicals that damage cells. Vitamin E is essential for blood, brain, and skin health. In addition, studies indicate an association between vitamin E and improved cognitive functioning.

A study published in Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery showed that using Vitamin E with omega-3 fatty acids may help control genes that cause brain inflammation in people with PD. However, no evidence exists that Vitamin E alone can slow the progression of PD. Additionally, vitamin E can be hazardous if you have a bleeding disorder or are on blood thinners, so always consult with your HCP. A high dosage of vitamin E can also be dangerous to your health.

With no known cure, someone with PD must rely on medications to manage symptoms primarily associated with movement. However, some supplements claim to offer benefits such as slowing the progression of the disease, which could lead one to believe these supplements can extend life.

While supplements may benefit your overall health, there is no conclusive evidence that they can prolong life. However, improving general health and providing neuroprotection enhances the quality of life if there is a slowing in disease progression. Therefore, before considering adding any supplement, consult with your HCP to ensure you add the safest option for your health.



Leave a reply

Your email will not be published. All fields are required.