New Hope for Parkinson’s Disease
Julian Whitaker, MD
A poignant image from the 1996 summer Olympics was Muhammad Ali laboriously and with trembling hands lighting the Olympic torch. This former world heavyweight boxing champion and 1960 gold medal winner was struck at an early age with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative brain disorder that affects over one million Americans. In addition to rhythmic trembling, advanced Parkinson’s is characterized by stiff, jerky movements, difficulty maintaining balance, a fixed facial expression, appetite loss, and voice impairment.
Parkinson’s disease is triggered by a decrease in brain levels of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter that stimulates the brain and affects movement. This decrease is caused by the destruction of neurons, or brain cells, in the area of the brain where dopamine is produced. This area is known as the substantia nigra, because these neurons have a dark color. Dopamine is released into the adjacent striatum, which relays messages to the areas of the cortex that control movement.
What Causes It?
The exact cause of Parkinson’s is unknown. Genetics may play a role, and environmental toxins such as pesticides and herbicides have the potential to increase risk. Repeated head trauma, as is the case with boxing great Muhammad Ali, can also trigger Parkinson’s disease.
Inflammation and oxidative damage, which often go hand in hand, are also underlying factors. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have discovered that people with allergies are nearly three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than their allergy-free counterparts. This is likely because allergies provoke a long-term attack on the immune system that leads to excess inflammation. According to lead researcher Dr. James Bower, “The inflammation produced may release certain chemicals in the brain and inadvertently kill brain cells, as we see in Parkinson’s.”
But whatever the cause, safe, natural approaches to slowing this disease do exist.
IV Glutathione Works Wonders
Because excessive free radicals are a likely culprit in Parkinson’s disease, it makes sense that antioxidants could help mop up some of the damage. That’s where glutathione comes in. Patients with Parkinson’s often have very low levels of this antioxidant in the dopamine-producing areas of the brain. Increasing levels with intravenous (IV) glutathione improves symptoms and slows progression of the disease.
We’ve had amazing success with this therapy at the clinic. Just two days after her first treatment, Georgia noticed a return of sensation and strength in her feet, which improved her balance and mobility. The shaking in her hands subsided and she started sleeping better than she had in years.
Hugh came to his first treatment in a wheelchair with a severe tremor in his left arm. When he arrived for his third infusion of IV glutathione, he walked—albeit a bit unsteadily—into the treatment area. His mental clarity, mood, and energy levels were restored to the point he was able to go back to work.
Lasting Benefits of HBOT
Another therapy that provides enduring benefits is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), which delivers massive amounts of healing oxygen to the brain and mobilizes regenerative stem cells.
Gerald Beers was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1998. When he came to see us in 2004, he was exhibiting typical symptoms of the disease: an unsteady shuffle, difficulty speaking clearly, and the characteristic expressionless “Parkinson’s mask” caused by facial rigidity. Gerald was treated with IV glutathione and vitamin C, but according to his wife, Phyllis, what helped the most was HBOT.
“Gerald came out of the HBOT chamber on the third day without his Parkinson’s mask. I was just thrilled. I was first attracted to him by his beautiful, sparkling brown eyes, so I was elated to see them dancing back at me again. I feel that his hyperbaric treatments are what kept him going. In fact, the beneficial results of his initial clinic visit lasted 19–20 months.”
“Today, though Gerald’s physical manifestations of the disease have progressed, he’s as alert as he can be, and I attribute that to HBOT. I really feel that my husband’s disease would be much worse had he not had these treatments. I feel that God has been so gracious to both Gerald and me, and we cherish each day that we have together. You gave us more precious years to live together.”
- To learn more about the Whitaker Wellness Institute’s treatment programs for Parkinson’s disease, contact a Patient Services Representative at (866) 944-8253 or click here.
- Bower JH, et al. Immunologic diseases, anti-inflammatory drugs, and Parkinson disease: A case-control study. Neurology. 2006;67:494–496.
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.