- 1 Rich foods and vitamin supplementation for Parkinson’s: quantity, recommended dose and precautions
- 1.1 Parkinson’s and increased needs for B vitamins
- 1.2 Why is it important to increase the intake of vitamins B12 and B9?
- 1.3 Is the decrease in vitamin B caused by treatments against Parkinson’s serious?
- 1.4 What problems does the increase in homocysteine have?
- 1.5 Remedies for the adverse effects of Parkinson’s drugs
- 1.6 Factors that increase homocysteine
- 1.7 How to improve the diet?
- 1.8 Is it recommended to supplement Parkinson’s treatments with vitamin B12 and folic acid?
- 1.9 How to supplement vitamin B12 and folic acid in patients with Parkinson’s?
- 1.10 When is it recommended to take these supplements?
- 1.11 People who do not like to take supplements
- 1.12 Is it hard to swallow the capsules?
- 1.13 Why has not the doctor given you this supplement along with your Parkinson’s medications?
- 1.14 Is it recommended to take folic acid and B12 supplements on your own?
- 1.15 What if the doctor does not let me take the supplements?
Rich foods and vitamin supplementation for Parkinson’s: quantity, recommended dose and precautions
Parkinson’s and increased needs for B vitamins
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes the decrease of dopamine. The pharmacological treatment consists of administering levodopa and medicines that increase the bioavailability of levodopa, so that a lot of levodopa reaches the brain, and there this substance turns into dopamine.
At the moment, levodopa is the most effective remedy that has been found to improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but the treatment produces adverse effects, among which are an increase in homocysteine levels and a decrease in vitamins B12 and folic acid. Fortunately, these problems can be alleviated through diet, a healthy lifestyle, and if appropriate, with supplements.
Why is it important to increase the intake of vitamins B12 and B9?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that has no cure, but through healthy eating and lifestyle, the health prognosis of affected people can be improved.
The greatest danger of low levels of vitamin B12 and folic acid is the even greater increase in homocysteine (remember that antiparkinson drugs already increase homocysteine). People interested in deepening on the subject (technical details and metabolism), see this article on why in Parkinson’s there is a lack of vitamins B12 and folate.
Is the decrease in vitamin B caused by treatments against Parkinson’s serious?
Fortunately, it is not a serious adverse effect, because we advance that this has an easy solution.
What problems does the increase in homocysteine have?
High homocysteine is very harmful because it progressively deteriorates the blood vessels and the heart. Therefore, high homocysteine levels increase cardiovascular risk and neuropathy. For example, scientists have discovered that high levels of homocysteine are even more harmful than the dreaded cholesterol.
Remedies for the adverse effects of Parkinson’s drugs
It is relatively easy and economical to compensate for this drawback of antiparkinson medication. To eliminate homocysteine you need folic acid (vitamin B9), vitamin B12 and pyridoxine (vitamin B6). Good levels of these vitamins are necessary to reduce the risk of cardiovascular damage.
The reader will probably be thinking automatically about supplementation with these vitamins, but there are a number of important pre-considerations:
- A healthy diet is necessary that enhances the foods richest in vitamin B12 and folic acid.
- You have to avoid tobacco and alcohol because it is what increases homocysteine, in addition to supplement or take foods rich in these vitamins to reduce homocysteine.
- You should not take supplements on your own, without consulting your doctor.
Factors that increase homocysteine
Homocysteine may increase as a side effect of the pharmacological treatment of Parkinson’s disease, but there are other factors that may increase homocysteine:
- Diet deficient in vitamin B9, B12 or B6
- Smoking and alcohol
- The treatment should not be carried out without the consent of your doctor
How to improve the diet?
In a rough way, the foods that can help us to increase the contribution of these vitamins are:
- Foods very rich in folic acid: mainly spinach, avocado, lentils, chickpeas, walnuts, almonds and oranges.
- Foods very rich in vitamin B12: mainly fatty fish and shellfish.
How B12 supplements and folic acid are normally taken in Parkinson’s. The medications used decrease vitamin B12 and folic acid and it is recommended to increase the contribution of these vitamins.
Is it recommended to supplement Parkinson’s treatments with vitamin B12 and folic acid?
Everything seems to indicate that the complementation of the treatment with these vitamins is safe and recommendable.
- Before considering taking vitamin supplements, keep in mind that these do not replace a healthy diet and lifestyle.
How to supplement vitamin B12 and folic acid in patients with Parkinson’s?
The studies so far have used doses of 800 mcg of folic acid + 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 per day.
When is it recommended to take these supplements?
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, cauliflower or broccoli are the richest foods in folic acid.
It is recommended to take during the main meals, when you do not take levodopa. B vitamins do not diminish their assimilation if taken with meals, so it is not necessary to take them fasting. In addition, it is better to separate supplements from medications, as a precaution (although no interactions have been detected between them).
People who do not like to take supplements
If the person does not feel comfortable taking the supplement daily, it is worth mentioning that these vitamins have a relatively long life, so if the diet is adequate and there are no deficiencies, you could take this supplement every two or three days, or even a weekly dose, by way of prevention or maintenance.
Is it hard to swallow the capsules?
If there are problems swallowing the capsules of vitamin B12 or folic acid whole, there is no problem with them being crushed and added in any recipe (without cooking, because they are thermosensitive).
Why has not the doctor given you this supplement along with your Parkinson’s medications?
Many doctors still do not recommend it to their patients. This is because more clinical studies are necessary before making a definitive recommendation.
The reason for this is that, although we know perfectly well that the toxicity of vitamins B9 and B12 is very low, there is a possibility, although it has not been observed at the moment, that these vitamins modify in some way the effects of the medication or produce some other symptom. For this reason, as a precaution, your doctor may not recommend taking supplements yet.
Is it recommended to take folic acid and B12 supplements on your own?
It is not recommended to take these supplements without the supervision of your doctor. The doctor is the person who is most up-to-date on the new findings and can provide useful information, in addition, make you aware of these therapies helps enrich your clinical experience. For all these reasons it is always recommended that your doctor supervise any supplementation.
What if the doctor does not let me take the supplements?
Your doctor may not advise you to take vitamin B supplements because of a precautionary issue. In any case, we know that a diet can provide adequate levels of these vitamins, so we recommend enhancing foods that are richer
More information on Parkinson’s disease.