At the intersection of Parkinson’s, Hypotension and Constipation

July 16, 2010 § 2 Comments

A nasty intersection this, with many effects and (unintended) side-effects, a long road in the past that led up to it, and hopefully a better lit future path … I am sharing for many reasons. Any feedback on the questions will be met with our gratitude, and maybe others in a similar situation can also benefit from us sharing what knowledge we have gained so far.

Preamble

Parkinson’s

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is needed to produce smooth movements. In normal individuals there is a balance between acetylcholine and dopamine. In Parkinson’s patients there is not sufficient dopamine to maintain the balance with acetylcholine. This irregular disproportion results in a lack of movement coordination leading to the more overt symptoms of Parkinson’s. And there are several scientific theories regarding Parkinson’s.

Levo dopamine

My uncle has received levo dopamine medication for three to four years now, but the symptoms are much older than that. A certain rigidity for example, mentioned as one of the symptoms seem to have existed his entire life. That may be correlated, and it may not. He gets his pills at 8 am, 12 am, 4 pm and 8 pm.

Hypotension

My uncle’s hypotension has existed for as long as my cousin remembers, and it comes and goes. I’ve been going to Little Brittany (Bretagne) off and on for the last few years, with intent to build a life here in the middle of nowhere. Each time I visited I noticed how my uncle suffers from frilosity.

We measure his blood pressure each day. My uncle’s blood pressure tends to be in the 80-90/40-50 range, and below 80/45 he displays symptoms of hypotension.

Local environmental factors

The move from the Netherlands to Brittany, where a whole household that had three children (now all grown-up), and a sculptor’s entire art collection and tools had to be moved, resulted in a household with still unpacked boxes stacked everywhere. There’s paths to the kitchen, bathroom, etc. But don’t move too wildly, or it will come tumbling down. The eyes get no rest whatsoever, and lots of things are hard to find. Frustration probably plays it’s part too.

Recent events

I arrived here beginning of June, on my uncle’s request. To cook (he can’t do that anymore) and for social connection, as he knows of my shamanic practices (my grandmother was his mother ;)), and he has been very interested in states of mind and shamanic journeying for a long time. In particular in lifting the veils (pdf).

My uncle fell ill with a tummy flu end of June.

Tummy Flu

His stomach was very upset. He could not hold any food. Initially not even water. Let alone his pills.

He was in that state for 24 hours, after that he could hold little bits of water. We used Modopar 125 (100 mg/25 mg Levopoda/Benserazide), a water-soluble, to keep him from cramping. When the worst was over, I started him off on a home made chicken soup:

The home made chicken soup has to be bland and starchy. Ginger, lovage and/or mint can be added. Both sooth the inestinals. Perhaps some carrots and leek for some added nutrients, with a bit of brown rice for some starch. ~ See Upset stomach

Constipation

Initially the chicken soup worked. It worked so well, that he took some of his morning crunchies and bread and drank some buttermilk, two of his habits. And then he got constipated in an extremely painful way. I gave him, on his request, some prune juice, and he took some more prunes himself. He keeps a stack of those.

A total disaster. More brain fog, dizziness, and diarrhea, for three nights and days in a row. He got totally flushed.

I got more of the constipation story. The constipation is around 20 years old, maybe older, but was never talked about, so the date from when these symptoms appeared is hard to tell. Both my cousin and my uncle remember my uncles preference for prunes. My uncle says that that dates back to his childhood even, and that indeed subconscious knowledge about his system may have played a part in that preference. While being so ill, he had not taken any prunes, and a carefully balanced system counteracting some sensitivity, went totally out of whack.

Glad that came out, and with that knowledge we adjusted how to get his minerals replenished effectively. At this point, it was clear that he has a sensitivity to either dairy products, or to wheat products, or both. Not wanting to risk to pick the wrong one, we went for excluding both.

NO dairy and wheat-products like bread, wheat cookies, all crackers (including rice crackers), cakes, pizza (especially the frozen and pre-baked ones), and pasta (pasta is less constipating when eaten with lots of olive oil and without cooked fish or meat). Butter is not constipating for it contains hardly any protein (opioid peptides are contained in protein) and lots of fat.

And NOT any kind of cheese (except the full-fat low-protein cream cheese).

NO proteinaceous prepared foods, in particular, (heated-in-any-way meat, fish ~ especially the tuna and salmon in can), beans, grains, and tofu.

DO eat fruit for breakfast and cook that first. DO get supplements that up your minerals, but not iron, calcium and mercury (the latter speaks for itself I think). DO eat clean fats and carbohydrates (including sugars). DO eat fresh raw animal food. DO eat nuts but not peanuts (but not if you are taking something like Azilect). ~ See Constipation

He started to recover. Not fast enough to his taste though! Meaning, yes, his impatience shows me he really is recovering. That’s my uncle!

Blackouts

And there is always another rutabaga as a story unfolds. The hypotension played up and went below 80/45, accompanied by black-outs, where he freezes with his eyes wide open. Pretty scary, as he can hurt himself falling on whatever.

I use a juicer to juice two beetroot and mix it half/half with juiced blueberry or grape juice to improve its taste, and because of the Parkinson’s. He drinks that mixture twice a day. Improvements were already noticeable on the second day.

Dissolve one to one and half kg of commercial Epsom Salt in a bath of hot water. Immerse in the bath for ten to twenty minutes. ~ See Hypotension

He hasn’t had any blackouts in the last couple of days, but he is still dizzy a lot. We have also ordered essential oil of Indian Spikenard, and vitamin B complex supplement. We feel comfortable adding the Vitamin B complex to his diet, but have a question regarding the Indian Spikenard.

Leg cramps

Not upping the calcium levels to prevent constipation, can cause painful cramps. He got cramps in his calves and asked for a pain killer. One of the most dangerous side effects of paracetamol is liver damage. His prolonged constipation history has been a load on his liver already. One of the possible side effects of ibuprofen is constipation. We already have enough of that going on too. Feverfew is out of the question. Side effects from feverfew can include abdominal pain, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, stop! … that’s enough.

The first aid we applied was a massage, in the length of the calve, and resting his legs on a warm towel held warm by a hot water bottle. With those the symptoms disappeared after a few hours. Up our sleeve, but not used as it was already midnight, was another bath (with magnesium sulphate).

We found upping the calcium a bit by adding some full fat cream cheese (fromage blanc) and some cottage cheese to the diet. Just a few spoonfuls can also help the pills go down, and fromage blanc was in his habits (I try to keep as many in tact as possible for him).

Making room

We are building a double strategy to get the household in a better shape. We have started sorting out areas in the house, creating oases for sore eyes, areas designated for particular items like “music goes here”, “tools go here”, “books go here”, etc.

Timing of the diet

Ingredients for timing are splitting the intake of carbohydrates and proteins, the taking of his levo dopa pills, alignment to healthy peristaltic movement, and his habits of a lifetime (he is used to eating dinner at 12:00 am).

  • 08:00 am cooked fruit (and pills)
  • 09:00 am warm tea
  • 10:00 am beetroot juice
  • 12:00 pm proteins (eggs, raw ham, nuts, … and pills)
  • 04:00 pm fromage blanc (and pills)
  • 06:00 am dinner ~ only carbohydrates
  • 08:00 pm fromage blanc (and pills)
  • 10:00 pm second beetroot juice

All through the day, water, water, water … and a fresh fruit juice if he likes in the evening. Pick which fruits please!

Questions

Feedback for the diet?

As said, it’s a big complex of effects and side-effects, counter effects, and feedback loops. And we have lots of questions. Maybe you are a doctor, or someone that has been in a similar situation, that has knowledge that can help me think through the nutrients and has ideas for the diet to make it more effective?

Indian Spikenard

I am hesitant to adding any herbs that may have additional components that can upset the still fragile balance. Is the Indian Spikenard a good idea?

Relationship Opioid peptides and Parkinson’s?

Most scientists seem to be going for the genetic/free radicals theory. Any other theories around? I have a hunch that there may be a correlation between Parkinson’s and “Opioid peptides“? And what are the side-effects and scientific theories and/or beliefs about levo dopa? Got any links for us?

Focused, preferably natural painkiller?

Anyone know of a painkiller that works against cramps, and does not have dangerous side effects in this situation?

I’m not a doctor at all but my uncle drinks tonic water (it’s known as Indian tonic water here) as it contains quinine which stops cramping. — LadyAoftheshire

For internal use, there is also cramp bark (a.k.a. Guelder Rose). Cramp bark is a remedy I hold in high regard; … it has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties … However, it is equally effective for treating other cramps; it lowers blood pressure as well, since it causes vessel walls to relax; since your uncle suffers from hypotension at some times …, that might be a reason to avoid it – at least when his BP is within hypotensive limits. — Zylah

Blind spots?

We’re not nervous about next rutabagas or onion layers. We stay as relaxed as possible. And if there’s anything that we are overlooking that’s obvious to you, please do not hesitate to give us a response. We are grateful for all and any feedback.

One cautionary note to keep in mind with L-Dopa is that physiological loss of control over the parasympathetic nervous system (dyskinesia), such as involuntary flailing of arms or legs, is a side effect that can occur especially in cases of long-term use, and it is usually not reversible.

I hope I’m not adding to your problems by bringing that up; but in case you had not heard this, I just wanted you to have as much information as possible to make balanced decisions with :hug: — Zylah

More protein sources and recipes?

The proteins fitting the diet that are available in our context is rather limited (eggs and raw ham). And I’d like to make the diet fun, and not just for my uncle. My cousin and me also adhere to the diet. There’s nothing like first-hand verification and validation, and it makes it easier for my uncle. Got any ideas for fun and tasty/adventurous/inspired recipes within the boundaries of the diet?

If you can make or buy some chai tea, and then add fresh ginger, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and local honey as well as whole milk to it, it may have a happy effect. I don’t have proportions for you; I always just make it according to taste. — Zylah

Note: This last suggestion has turned into the creation of “Happy Tea“! 🙂

Thank you very much LadyAoftheshire and Zylah.

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