IMG_3031APRIL  2013  Just put our hands on some gold —Dr. Melanie Brandabur’s slides from her presentation on exercise and diet at Avenidas recently. There’s so much good stuff in her slides, we’re sharing these pearls of wisdom with you. For starters, let’s talk about our excuses on why we don’t exercise. Might as well address them. Fear of falling, low expectations of benefit and lack of time. There, we said it. So don’t be going there, alrightly? And no “I don’t feel like it,” either! There are more of these gems than days in Parkinson’s Awareness month, so hopefully, you can stay the course to become strong and resolute!

The four ‘pillars’ of PD exercise
according to Dr. Melanie Brandabur, Clinic Director at the Parkinson’s Institute are:
• Aerobic (walkin, rowing, biking, hiking, swimming)
• Balance (Pilates, Tai Chi, Yoga)
• Muscle strengthening (Weights, bands, machines)
• Stretching

EDITOR’S NOTE:  So right now, just so you can live with yourself, jump up and do at least one! A minute in motion is better than a stagnant stump. Muscles, meet Dr. Brandabur!

The benefit of intensive exercise on PD
• Promotes cell proliferation
• Promotes neuronal differentiation
• May be releated to a variet of neurotrophic factors
• Importance in Neuroplasticity

EDITOR’S NOTE: Huh? Ok, an interpretation with the help of Wikipedia by your simple-minded friend, your’s truly: Differentiation is the process by which a common cell becomes a more specialized cell type. Differentiation is what happens when cells dramatically change in size, shape, and responsiveness to signals. Neurotrophic factors are a family of proteins that are responsible for the growth and survival of developing neurons and the maintenance of mature neurons. Neuroplasticity refers to the ways the brain changes in life. Even if you don’t understand the scientific part, suffice to say that moving your body helps your brain.

Ten possible benefits of exercise for PD patients
• Prevention of cardiovascular complications
• Arrest of osteoporosis
• Improved cognitive function
• Prevention of depression
• Improved sleep
• Decreased constipation
• Decreased fatigue
• Improved functional motor performance
• Improved drug efficacy
• Optimization of the dopaminergic system

EDITOR’S NOTE:  PD peeps in the balcony respond — Oh yes! Any one or combination of these coveted gifts would make our day. Whatever it takes, just point us in the direction! We’re game!

How would you like to feel super guilty? Why not!? That’s what we thought. Rats have suffered on your behalf, so you might as well learn that the feeble bit of exercise you’re doing isn’t quite enough. Even though doing your bit to stay healthy weighs heavy on your mind, the poor rats had to take it on the tail. Whoa! Read on to learn why!
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/ask-well-exercises-to-prevent-dementia/?src=recg  Since our conversation has gone ratty,

Read Dr. Brandabur’s Rat Report
• In rats, voluntary or forced exercise leads to the preservation of neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and to the attenuation of terminal loss in striatal and nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons.
• Intensive treadmill exercise facilitates brain recovery in MPTP-treated mice, even when exercise commenced after neurotoxin-induced cell death was complete.

Dr. Brandabur points to the importance of nutrition in PD
• Digestive tract is affected in PD
• Risk of malnutrition
• Medication absorption issues
• Good nutrition promotes overall health: improves conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes
• Good nutrition promotes brain health

Psyched Up to be Sunday’s sleuth? Try researching
Dr. Brandabur’s list of factors that MAY decrease risk of PD
• Caffeine
• Exercise
• Mediterranean Diet
• Smoking
• Anti-inflammatory drugs
• Cholesterol?
• Uric acid?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Test the first 3: Walk to your favorite Greek restaurant for salad and hummus followed by espresso. Feeling good? Can’t bear to add the smoke, and the rest of the list is at your peril.

High in uric acid
That would be what beef, pork and seafood, bacon, alcohol and bread have in common. Are they the how-to-get-fat diet? Not this time! Dr. Brandabur says, “There is no research proving that this diet is of benefit in PD!”

EDITOR’S NOTE #2: In case you are embarassed that you haven’t the foggiest as to what uric acid is: (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003476.htm) Uric acid is a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Purines are found in some foods and drinks, such as liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans and peas, beer, and wine. Purines are also a part of normal body substances, such as DNA. Most uric acid dissolves in blood and travels to the kidneys, where it passes out in urine. If your body produces too much uric acid or doesn’t remove enough of it, you may get sick.

Factors that MAY increase risk of PD
• Excessive carbohydrates
• Pesticides
• Rural dwelling
• Lipids
• Dairy products

EDITOR’S COMMENT: Boo hoo! Sorry to see yummy carbs and dairy on the list?! Say it isn’t so!

Its time for dinner and Dr. Brandabur’s list for The Mediterranean Diet looks very tasty indeed. Some say is a factor in decreasing the risk of PD. No matter what the reports say, there’s a lot of delicious enjoyment in this list!

The Mediterranean Diet
• Olive oil
• Legumes
• Fruits and vegetables
• Fish
• Red wine
• Cereals

EDITOR’S NOTE: You might find this link useful (not part of Dr. Brandabur’s notes) because it compares the USDA pyramid to the Mediterranean pyramid. The big difference is olive oil, more fruits and veg, less red meat in the Med diet. http://suzyeats.com/food-pyramids-mediterranean-vs-usda-what-are-the-differences/ Thanks to Parkinson’s Wellness with Holly Bonasera for sharing this link with us. A Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk and delay the onset of Parkinson’s.  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/CL00011

• Vitamin C
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin E
• Selenium
• Lycopene
• Polyphenols

EDITOR’S NOTES: You may load up your pill box with some of them but what do they do? Definition from Medline Plus: Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells, and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Would the Doc think these supplements are possibly good, or possibly not necessary? Not being the doc, we suggest M O D E R A T I O N until you are advised by your physician.

Dr. B adds: Just to add some context, these notes are from a lecture on nutrition, so I was discussing food sources of various nutrients NOT recommending supplements here.

Foods you think you hate but may not
• Beets
• Brussel’s sprouts
• Cabbage
• Spinach

EDITOR’S NOTE: Aside from brussels and cabbage being companion plants for beets and spinach in the garden, all four veg are known as cruciferous. The term cruciferous means “cross-bearing” since the four petals of their leaves resemble a cross. Cruciferous vegetables are known as “green leafy vegetables,” and some people think they have anti-cancer properties. They are known as “super foods,” because they have benefits beyond basic nutrition. For instance, these vegetables are rich in compounds that have been shown to fight cancer and other diseases. The chuckle behind this is what’s at the top of the list. We’ve observed that when it comes to veggies, Dr. B and beets’ are buddies.

Who doesn’t like “C”?
Vitamin C—very beneficial for most healthy people
Green leafy vegetables
Raw cabbage
Green peppers

EDITOR’S NOTE: A reason to eat potatoes- “C”!
Looking for brain power? Recite your childhood jingle “Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers.” Brain food!
If you want an alternative, this article explains that peppers and tobacco both belong to a family of plants called Solanaceae. As a result, peppers contain tiny amounts of nicotine. Previous research has suggested that the nicotine in cigarettes and secondhand smoke may protect certain brain cells, or neurons, from the damage associated with Parkinson’s. Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/09/eating-peppers-may-lower-parkinson-risk-1893054045/#ixzz2SrcFi1Tl

Important for the maintenance of the immune system and good vision:
Foods containing Vitamin A
Sweet potatoes
Collard greens

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you don’t like any of these, there is always cod liver oil….just sayin…

Some experts have suggested that 800 IU to 1,200 IU per day of vitamin E can help alleviate some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. While Dr. Melanie Brandabur isn’t making any kind of recommendation like that in this post, we found this little list in her nutrition presentation notes so it is a nice reference when you research nutrients.

Foods containing Vitamin E
Wheat germ
Whole grains
Vegetable oil
Fish-liver oil
Green leafy vegetables

EDITOR’S NOTE: This seems like a no-fudge kinda group. The kind that give you the instant “I feel good” feeling when you eat them. That is before you eat dessert.

Feel like some fresh fish at the beach? It is a winning way to sup on selenium! Because of its antioxidant role, selenium has been studied for its potential to protect the body from many degenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Again we turned to a list for a nutrition presentation that Dr. B drew up so that at least we’d know what foods have selenium. She’s not pushing selenium studies here, but her list is handy for your picnic menu.

Foods containing Selenium
Red meat

Foods containing lycopene
Lycopene provides the familiar red color to tomato products and is one of the major antioxidants thought to have a number of health benefits in our diet.

Pink grapefruit

EDITOR’S NOTE: We found this interesting unusual fact—not in Dr. B’s list—on several web sources: orange tomatoes have over 200 times more lycopene than the standard red variety. Cooking them helps increase the release of lycopene by the cell membrane. “While red tomatoes contain far more lycopene than orange tomatoes, most of it is in a form that the body doesn’t absorb well,” said Dr. Steven Schwartz, a professor of food science and technology at Ohio State.http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/03/07/us-orange-tomatoes-idUSCOL77047620070307

Just when you thought Dr. Brandabur’s nutrition notes were done, now they are back, and look what surfaces.

Foods containing Polyphenols
Sesame seeds

EDITOR’S NOTE: For those of you who have not heard of polyphenols [us included]: Polyphenols are antioxidants from plant foods. If you do a little research, you find that reports tie polyphenols to the prevention of degenerative diseases. We found online research that includes plant-derived beverages such as fruit juices, tea, coffee, and red wine as foods containing polyphenols. One report suggest that you drink red wine and beer instead of other alcoholic beverages. Hard liquor is distilled so essentially does not contain polyphenols. Eat dark chocolate and cocoa powder. l’chaim!

Fish: Why? How much? What kind? These are the kinds of questions that Dr. Brandabur asks in her nutrition notes. After all, those slippery things with fins are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which lower BP and prevent blood clots. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease stroke risk and inflammation. May improve mood. 3-4 oz. two to three times per week. Salmon, tuna and other cold-water fish, included.

One thought on “Dr. Melanie Brandabur’s E-Nutrition Notes

  1. I LOVE all this information! We need a book on PD and nutrition for optimal brain/body FUNction! And some sample recipes and a cocking retreat in Italy to go with it! Yeah Dr. B!!!!

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