A Remarkable Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease
Julian Whitaker, MD
When actor Michael J. Fox first made public his struggle with Parkinson’s disease, he described his symptoms with his trademark wit. Given the significant tremor in his left hand, he said, he could now mix a margarita in less than five seconds.
Despite his humor, Fox knows as well as anyone with Parkinson’s just how sobering this disease can be.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder in which the brain’s production of a critical messenger chemical called dopamine slows down. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects mood, but it is also involved in movement and motor control. As dopamine production falters, the first symptom is usually a slight tremor that worsens over time. This may eventually be accompanied by rigidity, a shuffling gait, and difficulty speaking.
To date, there is no cure for this progressive disorder, and treatment is geared toward delaying the disease’s course. The primary treatment has long been the synthetic drug levodopa (l-dopa), which works by increasing dopamine levels. But while l-dopa temporarily relieves symptoms, its side effects (nausea, dizziness, and potential liver damage) are significant and its effectiveness diminishes over time. In addition, it may actually worsen neurodegeneration by promoting free-radical production in the brain.
Glutathione Yields Dramatic Results
One of the most promising new therapies for Parkinson’s disease is glutathione, a naturally occurring antioxidant that protects against damaging free radicals. Glutathione levels are very low in patients with Parkinson’s, particularly in the area of the brain where dopamine-generating neurons are concentrated. The decline in glutathione levels seems to occur prior to the development of other significant features of Parkinson’s disease, which suggests that its depletion may in fact be a crucial early step in the process of neurodegeneration.
Clinical studies have demonstrated that boosting levels of this potent antioxidant through intravenous administration slows the progress of the disease significantly. In a compelling 1996 study, researchers administered IV glutathione to nine patients with early Parkinson’s disease for 30 days. At the end of the study, all of the patients had improved significantly, with an average 42 percent decline in disability. The effects lasted for two to four months after the therapy was stopped.
Out of the Wheelchair
It’s difficult to believe the dramatic effects of IV glutathione unless you witness them yourself. Hugh, who attended the Back to Health Program at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, is a case in point. Hugh underwent three treatments during the week that he was here, arriving for his first treatment in a wheelchair and exhibiting a significant tremor in his left arm. By his second treatment, the tremor in his left arm had decreased, and his wife reported that he was much more mentally alert.
Hugh’s subsequent progress borders on miraculous. He walked into the clinic for his third treatment without the wheelchair, although his gait was a bit unsteady and he held his arms stiffly at his sides. Twenty minutes afterwards, however, Hugh was walking around the clinic, arms swinging, and the tremor in his left arm was completely gone. Hugh’s mood, mental sharpness and energy level improved so much that he was able to resume his law practice.
- IV glutathione therapy is extremely safe and beneficial even when administered several years after the onset of Parkinson’s disease. To speak to a Patient Services Representative about IV glutathione treatment at the Whitaker Wellness Institute, call (866) 944-8253 or click here.
- To learn more about this therapy, click here.
- Sechi, G et al. Reduced intravenous glutathione in the treatment of early Parkinson’s disease. Prog Neuro-Psychopharmacol & Biol Psychiat. 1996;20:1159-70.
Modified from Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. Copyright 2006. Photocopying, reproduction, or quotation strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. To subscribe to Health & Healing, click here.