Lucille Leader Dip ION MBANT
Nutrition Director, Parkinson’s Disease Management Clinic,
Highgate Hospital London UK
Lecturer School of Integrated Medicine, Westminster University, London, UK
Presentation: Nutritional Therapy and the Dopamine Connection
Dopamine is metabolised from dietary protein. The metabolic steps from protein to dopamine and further on to adrenaline are dependent on numerous enzymes. These enzymes are themselves dependent on essential coenzymes (specific vitamins and minerals).
Metabolism is dependent on cell energy (the citric acid (Krebs) cycle) and the energy currency (adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP)) generated by this cycle, depends on particular macro and micronutrients.
Stress tends to compromise dopamine production and encourages increased production of adrenaline. This in turn requires specific nutrients to support the functions of the adrenal medulla and cortex.
Bowel function is dependent on adequate dietary manipulation. Constipation and diarrhoea can affect absorption of essential nutrients and drugs, affecting dopamine levels. Digestive enzymes influence dopamine metabolism and the degree of permeability of the intestinal mucosa affects functional health.
Biochemical tests to assess cell status should be offered to all patients with neurodegenerative disease. This would facilitate the choice of a more targeted therapy.
Avoiding competitive drug - nutrient interaction in the diet (L-dopa with the “neutral” amino acids in particular foods) may optimise absorption and efficacy of L-dopa.
QED: Nutritional therapy takes all the above aspects into consideration and makes recommendations based on each patient’s biochemical individuality. It would then seem logical to include this modality in the multidisciplinary management of people with Parkinson’s Disease.