Lessons…Learned

I know this is my second post in less than 30 days! I think I have too much free time on my hands while practicing this social distancing routine! Today I will catch up with what’s happening in PD School 2020 and talk a bit about how I have implemented what I’ve learned so far. If you aren’t aware of Dr. Mischley’s PD School 2020 you can read more about it my posts here and here. And check out the coupon offer at the end of this post!

The last lesson I covered was lesson 3 so I will quickly catch you up on lessons 4, 5, 6 & 7 just touching on highlights and things I found interesting. Lessons 4 and 5 cover the topics of food and nutrition. Lesson 4 discusses what to eat and lesson 5 discusses when and how to eat. In lesson 4 Dr Mischley covers foods that are “Good” for PwP and also foods that are “Bad” for PwP. The data to support the designation comes from the ongoing longitudinal research trial she runs at Bastyr University.

The good foods below are listed in order of decreasing impact, that is fresh vegetables had a greater impact than fresh fruit and so on.

  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fish (not fried)
  • Wine (yessssssssssssssss!)
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Fresh herbs

The bad foods below are listed in order of greatest negative impact.

  • Canned fruit
  • Diet soda
  • Fried foods
  • Ice cream (noooooooooooo!)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Beef
  • Pasta
  • Soda

She also discusses how eating can impact medication absorption particularly when you eat protein just before or just after taking your meds.  Various diets are discussed and her recommendation is go as vegan as you can and follow the Mediterranean diet.

Lesson 6 discussed the laboratory tests she requests for her patients. Several of the tests are not normally requested by your neurologist or PCP and some are not covered by insurance or Medicare. She notes at the end of the lesson that she is working on trying to set something up to provide the test to any PwP at a reduced rate (she hopes around $500 instead of $2000).

I was interested in this lesson because she pointed out that most PwP’s are low in both vitamins D and B12. A B12 deficiency can result in neuropathy, cognitive decline and loss of sense of smell. In addition tremor, trouble walking and balance may also be effected. Vitamin D deficiency can result in constipation, falls and balance issues, depression and cognitive decline.

I have been taking both B12 (120mg) and D (2000 iu) supplements for the last several years. My PCP tested me for both vitamins this year and I was within range as far as the lab was concerned. Dr Mischley provides her recommended reference range for the tests and I am below her recommended range in both. I was particularly surprised at the vitamin D result with all the sunshine I get here playing tennis, etc. Looks like I need to increase my supplement amounts of both vitamins.

She covers several other lab tests she conducts and why and I think you will find this lesson very interesting.

Lesson 7 discusses gut and intestinal health. This lesson includes a presentation by Dr Samantha Evans who practices with Dr Mischely in Seattle. Dr Mischely provides the introduction and overview pointing out that 50% of the dopamine neurons are located in your intestinal tract. She also discusses the need for gastric acid to breakdown food and medications. She points out as we get older the gastric juice becomes less acidic and recommended taking our medication with a glass of water mixed with 500 mg powered vitamin C to increase the acid level.

Dr Evans discusses how much of what happens in the intestinal tract impacts PwP’s. She discusses SIBO (Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth) and Leaky Gut and how it impacts PwP, particularly medication absorption issues.

So there are a few highlights from lessons 4,5,6, and 7. The next class is Do I need to take supplements? and will be available on the 28th of the month.

Quick timeout for some fine print! Before I discuss how I have implemented parts of these classes I just want to remind everyone I am not a medical practitioner and you shouldn’t rely on the information below as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on It Is What It Is .

And we are back.

I have enjoyed these classes and have started trying to put some of what I have learned in to practice. In lesson 2, Dr Mischley discusses the success she has had with treating dyskinesia with high doses of DHA fish oil for 30 days and then adding CDP Citicoline twice a day to improve absorption of Levadopa. Since we eat salmon 4-6 days a week, I decided to test taking the CDP Citicoline as she recommended (2 250 mg capsules twice a day).

I began the test on February 2 and tracked the effects daily through April 4. As she mentioned in the lesson, my dyskinesia actually started getting worse because the supplement was improving the uptake of the medication and after 3 weeks I started to slowly reduce the amount of Sinement,Rytary and Mirapex over the next two months. My goal was to reduce my levadopa intake, reduce dyskinesia and not increase off periods.

By April 4 I had reduced the Mirapex from 1.5 mg to .5 mg (67%) and my Sinement from 2.5 tablets 3 times a day to 2 tablets 3 times a day (20% reduction). My dyskinesia is barely noticeable and off episodes are unchanged. I believe I could stop taking the Mirapex completely except the .5 mg helps reduce my restless leg syndrome which I had before my PD diagnoses but went away with the Mirapex which is also prescribed for restless leg.

I have also tried to do a better job of not taking meds too close to mealtime particularly high protein meals. And I have reduced my dairy intake, even ice cream! I’ve ordered some powered vitamin C which should arrive next week and I will test out taking medications with water mixed with vitamin C. Now if I could just figure out how to get Dr Mischely to remove ice cream from the bad food list!!

Just In!! It’s Parkinson’s Awareness Month and Dr Mischley is offering a coupon for $50 off the PC School for this month (All 24 courses for $100). If you haven’t signed up or have friends or relatives that might find this program useful, please send them this link to the course and the coupon code: AWARENESS. http://pd-school.teachable.com/

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

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