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Diet and Parkinson's Disease


Is there a special diet for people with Parkinsonís disease?

As is true for many aspects of Parkinsonís disease, each person's diet is a little different. You may need to experiment to see what is most effective for you. Generally speaking, taking your levodopa 20-30 minutes prior to eating, or an hour after the completion of a meal, increases its efficacy because your stomach is empty and the drug reaches the first part of the intestine where it is absorbed in a faster manner. However, some medications can cause nausea and a small snack with the medication may be necessary.


Protein Consumption and Parkinsonís disease

It is also important to know that because levodopa is an amino acid, it competes for absorption with other proteins: Eating a very proteinic meal would reduce the likelihood of efficiently absorbing†levodopa. Thatís why it is better to eat carbohydrates and vegetables at lunch and leave meat, cheese and fish for nighttime.†Good news: The dopamine-agonists (pramipexol and ropinirole, for example) do not need this dietetic adjustment! Finally, those who take the MAO-B inhibitors (rasagiline or selegiline) should eat with moderation (but not eliminate) foods that contain high concentrations of tyramine such as air-dried and fermented meats or fish, aged cheeses, most soybean products, yeast extracts, red wine, beer, and sauerkraut.

How can I adjust my diet to maintain bowel regularity?

Constipation might be a taboo subject, but it is fairly common in Parkinsonís disease. Once again, it can be different for each person, so you may need to try several things. In addition to a well-balanced diet, try increasing your fiber intake. A couple of teaspoons of flax seed eaten with foods that contain probiotics (like yogurt) can be helpful in maintaining regularity. If you experience persistent constipation, consult your physician for help.

What about alcoholic beverages with meals?

It is best to consult your physician about drinking alcoholic beverages. Alcohol may interfere with some of the medications, or make you sleepier, but each patient reacts differently.



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