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Alternative Treatments for Parkinson's Disease

The term alternative therapy, in general, is used to describe any medical treatment or intervention that has not been scientifically documented or identified as safe or effective for a specific condition. Alternative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines including acupuncture, guided imagery, chiropractic, yoga, hypnosis, biofeedback, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage, and many others.

 Vitamin E is one alternative treatment that may help people with Parkinson's disease.

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Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- the Basics

Parkinson's disease, which mostly affects older people but can occur at any age, results from the gradual degeneration of nerve cells in the portion of the midbrain that controls body movements. The first signs are likely to be barely noticeable -- a feeling of weakness or stiffness in one limb, perhaps, or a fine trembling of one hand when it is at rest. Eventually, the shaking worsens and spreads, muscles tend to stiffen, and balance and coordination deteriorate. Depression, cognitive issues,...

Read the Understanding Parkinson's Disease -- the Basics article > >

How Does Vitamin E Help People With Parkinson's Disease?

Some experts have suggested that 800 IU to 1,200 IU per day of vitamin E can help alleviate some symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

What Other Health Benefits Does Vitamin E Have?

  • Vitamin E helps in the production of red blood cells (oxygen carrying cells).
  • As an antioxidant, it protects your membranes from damage caused by free radicals (unstable molecules in the body).
  • It helps proper function and growth.
  • It works as a "blood thinner."

Although unproven, some people claim vitamin E:

  • May lower your risk of developing stomach, colon, breast, and cervical cancer
  • Helps treat neurological disorders in vitamin E-deficient individuals
  • Helps cardiovascular diseases
  • Helps combat the aging process
  • Protects against environmental toxins
  • Reduces lead, mercury, and copper toxicity
  • Protects against environmental toxins, such as ozone and nitrogen dioxide
  • May protect against blindness resulting from macular degeneration

 

Where Can I Get Vitamin E?

The best place to get vitamin E is by eating a diet rich in vitamin E-containing foods. Some foods rich in vitamin E are dark green vegetables, eggs, fish, nuts, organ meats, soybeans, vegetable oils, wheat germ, and whole grain products. You can also purchase vitamin E supplements at a pharmacy, grocery store, or health foods market.

Are There Other Alternative Treatments for Parkinson's Disease?

  • Exercise. Although not necessarily an "alternative therapy," exercises like Tai chi and yoga can lower your stress, help you to be more relaxed, and increase your energy, balance, and flexibility. In general, exercise is a safe, effective and easy way to improve your well-being. But, check with your doctor first.
  • Diet. By following your doctor's and dietitian's daily dietary guidelines, you can look and feel better.
  • Positive Attitude. Having a positive outlook cannot cure Parkinson's disease, but it can lower your stress and help you feel better!

How Can I Know If an Alternative Treatment Is Safe and Effective?

Alternative treatments can be helpful in some cases, yet some therapies can be ineffective, costly, and even dangerous. The best way to evaluate your options is to become educated. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the treatment?
  • What does it involve?
  • How does it work?
  • What is the evidence that it works?
  • Why does it work?
  • Are there any risks?
  • What are the side effects?
  • Is it effective? (Ask for evidence or proof.)
  • How much does it cost?

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