April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease and the need to find a way of preventing it, slowing it down or curing it. A recent Swedish study showed a higher risk for Parkinson’s disease among milk drinkers, but not among consumers of yogurt and sour milk. Results of this study were delivered at the 14th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases and Related Neurological Disorders, March 26-31, in Lisbon, Portugal.
Participants in the study were 81,889 Swedish seniors (36,618 women and 45, 271 men) aged 45-83, who did not have Parkinson’s disease at the beginning of the study in 1997. The participants had to complete a 96-item food frequency questionnaire that included questions about consumption of milk, sour milk and yogurt.
Results of the Study
During a follow-up period of 13.9 years, 1251 cases of Parkinson’s disease were diagnosed. Milk consumption was associated with an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease. Yogurt and sour milk were not associated with an increased risk for Parkinson’s. There were no differences between the results for men or women.
Previous research has also shown a higher risk for Parkinson’s among people who eat milk and in some cases cheese. A Chinese meta-analysis published June 4, 2014 in the European Journal of Epidemiology about 304,193 people included 1083 with Parkinson’s disease. The researchers found that the risk for Parkinson’s increased by 17% for every 200 grams a day of milk and by 13% for a daily consumption of 10 grams of cheese.
Reasons for Increased Risk for Parkinson’s with Milk Consumption
Milk May Contain Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals
Some researchers believe that milk contains residues of pesticides and toxic chemicals that have been shown to be a risk for Parkinson’s.
Milk Lowers Levels of Uric Acid in the Body
According to some research, it is believed that consuming milk can lower the blood levels of uric acid in the body. Uric acid has been shown to protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Multiple sclerosis and possibly cancer. However, if uric acid is too low, then the risk for developing Parkinson’s disease is raised. Too little uric acid can also raise the risk for having a stroke. Too much uric acid, however, can lead to kidney stones or gout with its painful arthritis and heart disease. A study published January, 2013 in the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences shows that high blood levels of urate (uric acid plus something like sodium) have an anti-oxidant effect and lower the risk for Parkinson’s, especially in men. So it is very important that uric acid is in balance in your body – not too high or too low. Uric acid levels of 10 or more increase the risk for gout. If you get dehydrated or do not drink enough, then your uric acid level goes up.
Ranges for Uric Acid in the Blood
More than 6 is too high for women.
More than 7 is too high for men.
New Study Shows Association of Urate (Uric Acid) and Homocystein with Parkinson’s
A new study published by researchers from Newcastle University March 21, 2019 in the IOS Press confirms that low uric acid is associated with motor decline in Parkinson’s disease, and high homocystein is associated with cognitive decline and dementia in Parkinson’s disease. The researchers suggest that both urate (uric acid) and homocystein may be factors in regulating oxidative stress in Parkinson’s disease and are potential ways for marking the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s is the Fastest Growing Neurodegenerative Disease
Parkinson’s disease is the fastest growing neurodegenerative disease and it is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. Parkinson’s is a progressive incurable disease that primarily affects mobility and motor function. Signs of Parkinson’s are tremors (usually on one side of the body), rigid muscles, difficulties speaking, chewing and swallowing, problems with writing, difficulty with walking and balance problems that lead to many unintentional falls. People with Parkinson’s may also suffer from constipation, muscle spasms, urinary problems, an inability to smell things and sleep disorders. People afflicted with Parkinson’s disease have a peculiar shuffling kind of walk called the Parkinsonian gait.
Parkinson’s Strikes Mainly at Seniors
It is estimated that about a million Americans will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease by 2020. About 60,000 Americans are diagnosed every year with Parkinson’s. More than 10 million people worldwide are afflicted with PD. Most people with PD are seniors over the age of 65, but about 4% of Parkinson’s cases are early onset Parkinson’s disease that strikes people before the age of 50.
Hallmark of Parkinson’s
The hallmark of Parkinson’s disease is a buildup in the brain of a protein called alfa synuclein, which causes the death of brain nerve cells (neurons) and this leads to the onset of Parkinson’s disease. In some cases this alfa synuclein forms into Lewy bodies in the brains of people with Parkinson’s and this can lead to dementia. Some people get a different disease called Lewy body disease, which begins with dementia and only later has motor problems.
The Need for short or Long-term Rehabilitation
People suffering with PD need all kinds of therapeutic treatments, as the disease causes considerable disabling motor and movement problems. Advanced Parkinson’s may need long-term skilled nursing care. If you are looking for a rehab place for yourself or your loved one, make certain that they have all the skilled therapists necessary for PD like speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy. The Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in scenic Galloway Township offers expert rehabilitation and long-term skilled nursing care.
If you or your loved one show signs of early Parkinson’s or if there is a family history, you could try eating yogurt or drinking sour milk instead of regular milk. You should also discuss with your doctor about the need to have a simple blood test for uric acid levels in the body.