1. Parkinson's may begin in the gut

    Could your gut be controlling your nervous system?

    Ever since I was diagnosed with Parkinson's, I've found myself "knee deep" in all the latest research on this neurodegenerative disease.

    It's helped me manage my own illness for over a dozen years, and it's allowed me to share all the latest findings with my patients and readers who are also struggling with it.

    Even though scientists haven't yet found a single smoking gun that causes the disease, there's one thing we do know: It manifests in the space between your ears.

    Brain changes linked to Parkinson's affect its ability to be the "command center" of your movement and coordination, leaving you with tremors and rigidity.

    But a new study is turning what we know about the brain and Parkinson's on its "head"!

    According to the study out of Sweden, the origin point of Parkinson's disease may actually be in the gut.

    I like to tell my patients that the gut is like our second "brain." Your "gut brain" can't pay your bills or learn to tango, but the more than 100 million nerve cells lining the gastrointestinal tract from top to bottom control digestion, immunity, and even your mood.

    The new study followed about 10,000 patients who had the main trunk of their vagus nerve -- which extends from the brain stem to the abdomen
    -- surgically removed.

    At the end of five years, the vagotomy patients were 40 PERCENT less likely to develop Parkinson's than people in the general population who didn't have the surgery.

    Translation: Parkinson's may START in the gut and spread to the brain by hitching a ride on your nerves!

    The vagus nerve stimulates your stomach to produce the acid needed for digestion. In people who produce too much acid, vagotomy is a last resort when diet or medication don't reduce it.

    Now, I'm not suggesting you should go get a vagotomy to prevent Parkinson's -- but this is certainly promising evidence that the key to thwarting Parkinson's may lie south of your navel.

    And it's not the first time I've mentioned that the gut may be linked to the development of Parkinson's.

    Another recent study found that having a healthy balance of bacteriain your gut can actually protect your brain cells from Parkinson's damage. Your gut's "good" bacteria can trigger an immune response that discards damaged neurons and preserves healthy ones when brain cells are attacked by Parkinson's.

    The gut is also your first line of defense against toxins that sneak into your body through food and water. An unhealthy, "leaky" gut can allow those toxins into your bloodstream, where they can travel to your brain and play a role in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's.

    Keep your gut in tip-top shape by getting a daily dose of probiotics ("good" bacteria) from fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut and by eating a clean, high-fiber diet like the Paleo diet.

  2. Exercise slows Parkinson's progression

    Do you have 30 minutes for this today?

    Your hands are trembling... your movement is like molasses... and your muscles are stiff as a board.

    When you've got Parkinson's disease, it feels like something out of that 1950's flick Invasion of the Body Snatchers -- like your body is no longer your own!

    As someone who's lived with a Parkinson's diagnosis for a dozen years, I know how "alien" it can be to have a disease that threatens to claim control over your movement.

    With no drug that "cures" Parkinson's, it can feel like there's no hope.

    But according to a new study, you can "snatch" your body back from Parkinson's grip -- because there's a way to slow the disease's progression naturally.

    And it involves regaining your ease of movement... by getting moving!

    The study, published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease, followed 3,400 Parkinson's patients in North America, the Netherlands, and Israel for two years, keeping track of how frequently they exercised.

    It turns out that people with the most advanced Parkinson's saw the GREATEST benefit from exercise.

    At the end of the study, those who maintained an exercise routine of two and a half hours each week -- or the equivalent of a half hour, five days a week -- had the SMALLEST decline in mobility and quality of life, compared to those who didn't exercise as much or at all.

    In fact, non-exercisers actually WORSENED over the course of the study.

    And what's more, it didn't matter what type of exercise the participants did to reap the benefits, as long as they were getting some form of movement under their belts for those two and a half hours per week.

    This may come as a relief, if you find some of the more "unorthodox" physical activities I've shared with you a bit intimidating.

    And whether it's for weight loss, your heart health, detoxifying, or reducing pain and inflammation, it's never too late to start turning things around with some physical activity.

    Just find something you love to do for exercise and stick with it. Even gentle forms of movement like walking, gardening, playing with your grandkids at the park, or taking a senior-friendly yoga class will fit the bill.

    Being active also boosts your mood along with your strength and motor control, which is important because Parkinson's can saddle you with anxiety and depression as it advances.

  3. Parkinson’s? Improve mobility with exercise

    Manage Parkinson's with these "whole body" routines Q: I have been battling Parkinson's Disease for two and a half years now -- without medication, using various holistic approaches. In your own experience of PD, what's the first and foremost thing that I should try to enable my recovery? GR: More than 10 years ago, my life changed forever. That's when...
  4. Exercise benefits Parkinson's patients

    A massive data review of 30 years of Parkinson's research confirms what we already knew about exercise: Doing it regularly can improve a range of physical functions, prevent falls and improve your quality of life.
  5. Statins increase risk of Parkinson's

    Study links use of statins with Parkinson's -- even if you haven't been taking them for very long. And even though PD isn't considered a particularly deadly disease, it is possible to die from its complications. Here's how to keep your cholesterol from getting too low and protect your brain now.
  6. ADHD meds don’t work on Parkinson’s

    If you’ve got Parkinson’s, your treatment options are limited; but if your doc tries to give you ADHD medications to alleviate symptoms, they won’t help.
  7. Blood test could detect Parkinson’s disease early on

    A blood test that would allow for earlier diagnosis and treatment Parkinson’s disease has been developed by Australian scientists and may become available in as little as five years.
  8. Weight loss may be red flag in Parkinson’s

    A new study shows that people with Parkinson’s who lose weight are more likely to have a worse form of the progressive disease.
  9. Soda can cause brain damage

    Soda can damage proteins in the brain, specifically the proteins that play a role in Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, schizophrenia and even cancer.
  10. Depression triples Parkinson's risk

    Chronic depression can triple your risk of Parkinson's disease, according to the latest research.

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