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    it takes animal sources to get DHA
    jc3737 responded:
    Herbert Shelton (1895 - 1985), a naturopath and chiropractor and the influential founder of the American Natural Hygiene Society and Nature Cure movement in America and prolific health writer advocated a natural food vegetarian diet of mostly raw fruits, vegetables and nuts. I read all of his highly motivating books, newsletters and writings in my teens. He lived in Texas, was physically fit, grew lots of his own food and ate carefully and fasted periodically. Of course he did not get cancer, he did not get heart disease, but he died of Parkinson's disease and was so severely affected by the age of 78 that even walking was difficult. In 1973 when I met him he was already severely hunched over and had a difficult time walking and caring for himself. Though he lived many years with this significant disability, the quality of his later years was extremely poor.
    Prominent Vegetarian and Health Advocate, this leader in the natural health movement and a personal friend to me also suffered from and eventually died from a fall related to his Parkinson's disease. During his young adult life he embarked on the path of healthy living and vegetarianism. A follower of Shelton's works, he operated a large health food store, one of the first to sell organic fruits and vegetables in America; he became a leader in the health food industry. Of course he was not at risk of cancer or heart disease with his excellent diet, but he developed Parkinson's which limited the quality of his later years.
    When he was developing his Parkinsonian tremors, I ordered blood tests and was shocked to see his blood results showing almost a zero DHA level on his fatty acid test, in spite of adequate ALA consumption from nuts and seeds eaten daily. I had never seen a DHA level that low before. Since that time I have drawn DHA blood levels on other patients with Parkinson's and also found very low DHA levels.
    Was it a coincidence, that these leaders in the natural food, vegetarian movement, who ate a very healthy vegan diet and no junk food would both develop Parkinson's? I thought to myself--could it be that deficiencies in DHA predispose one to Parkinson's? Do men have worse ability to convert short chain omega-3 into long chain DHA? Is that why Parkinson's affects more men than women? Is there evidence to suggest that DHA deficiencies lead to later life neurologic problems? Are there primate studies to show DHA deficiencies in monkeys leads to Parkinson's? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding, yes.
    More than 1 million Americans suffer from Parkinson's Disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease that is clinically characterized by resting tremor, muscular rigidity, gait problems and impaired ability to initiate movements. Recent scientific findings show diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have a protective effect on this type of neurodegenerative disease. Studies in animals clearly show that supplementation of DHA can alter brain DHA concentrations and thereby modify brain functions leading to reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.1
    DoloresTeresa replied to jc3737's response:
    This could very well be the case. However, just as low cholesterol in cancer patients does not mean that having a low cholesterol causes cancer, it could be possible that the low DHA levels are a result of the Parkinson's and not the cause of it.

    My grandmother had parkinson's. She got it as a result of encephalitis as did many in the beginning of the last century. Remember the movie Awakenings?

    jc3737 replied to DoloresTeresa's response:
    I remember the movie and you make a good may be that the Parkinsons caused the low DHA.That should be easy to test....does increasing DHA level improve the Parkinsons?...or do a large group of people who supplement DHA have less Parkinsons.
    engineerguy replied to jc3737's response:
    Hi folks,

    Dr. Fuhrman emailed his recommendations in February. He clearly advocates DHA supplementation. I is very concerned that long term very low fat diets, such as McDougall and Pritikin, Esselstyn, promote essential palsey, Parkinsons, etc.

    Here is his email:

    Preventing Parkinson's Disease
    Each year, about 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD), which is second only to Alzheimer's as the most common neurodegenerative condition. Alzheimer's disease primarily affects memory, and PD primarily affects movement. There is a devastating loss of independence as slow and impaired physical movement interferes with daily activities.2-3 Fortunately, risk for PD is primarily environmental and can be greatly reduced with excellent nutrition and lifestyle habits.
    Avoid pesticide exposure
    A large number of epidemiological studies have concluded that pesticide exposure is a major risk factor for PD.1,2 To limit your exposure, buy organic produce when possible, avoid household insecticide products, do not drink well water, and minimize your consumption of dairy, meat, and fish (since agricultural pesticides accumulate in the fatty tissues of animals).
    Supplement with DHA and Vitamin D
    Maintaining adequate levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA in the brain is an important measure for preventing neurodegeneration in later life. In my experience with patients, I have observed a significant, severe deficiency of DHA in elderly vegan males, and a number of these elderly vegan males developed Parkinson's disease. Plus, studies in animals clearly show that supplementation of DHA can alter brain DHA concentrations and produce protective effects in the brain that can reduce the risk of PD.3,4

    Vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis are prevalent in patients with PD.5 Researchers have not yet studied whether vitamin D deficiency is a contributor to or a consequence of PD, but vitamin D adequacy has many vital functions in the human body, and careful attention should be paid to maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels.
    Base your diet on high-nutrient plant foods
    In a recent large prospective study, subjects whose diets included the greatest amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains had a 22% decreased risk of PD over the 16-year follow-up period.6 Natural plant foods provide countless beneficial phytochemicals that work together to support the health of the entire body, including the brain. Plus, oxidative damage plays a significant role in the progression of PD, so eating plenty of high antioxidant, nutrient-dense foods like berries and leafy greens is another important preventive measure.7,8,9
    Minimize animal foods
    In addition to pesticide exposure, animal products are also a concern because individuals with high intakes of total fat, total calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, and iron have been found to be at increased risk of PD.7,10 Dairy consumption in particular is associated PD - men who eat large amounts of dairy products have an 80% increase in risk of PD.11 To protect your brain, keep meat and dairy consumption to a minimum.
    Physical activity has favorable effects on the brain, and high levels of physical activity are associated with a significant reduction in risk for PD.12
    For more information about preventing Parkinson's disease, read Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times Newsletter #41.

    engineerguy replied to engineerguy's response:
    1. Brown TP, Rumsby PC, Capleton AC, et al: Pesticides and Parkinson's disease--is there a link? Environ Health Perspect 2006;114:156-164.
    2. Priyadarshi A, Khuder SA, Schaub EA, et al: A meta-analysis of Parkinson's disease and exposure to pesticides. Neurotoxicology 2000;21:435-440.
    3. Calon F, Cole G: Neuroprotective action of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids against neurodegenerative diseases: evidence from animal studies. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2007;77:287-293.
    4. Bousquet M, Saint-Pierre M, Julien C, et al: Beneficial effects of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid on toxin-induced neuronal degeneration in an animal model of Parkinson's disease. FASEB J 2008;22:1213-1225.
    5. Sato Y, Kikuyama M, Oizumi K: High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and reduced bone mass in Parkinson's disease. Neur ology 1997;49:1273-1278.
    6. Gao X, Chen H, Fung TT, et al: Prospective study of dietary pattern and risk of Parkinson disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:1486-1494.
    7. Kidd PM: Parkinson's disease as multifactorial oxidative neurodegeneration: implications for integrative management. Altern Med Rev 2000;5:502-529.
    8. Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Willis LM: Grape juice, berries, and walnuts affect brain aging and behavior. J Nutr 2009;139:1813S-1817S.
    9. Joseph J, Cole G, Head E, et al: Nutrition, brain aging, and neurodegeneration. J Neurosci 2009;29:12795-12801.
    10. Johnson CC, Gorell JM, Rybicki BA, et al: Adult nutrient intake as a risk factor for Parkinson's disease. Int J Epidemiol 1999;28:1102-1109.
    11. Chen H, O'Reilly E, McCullough ML, et al: Consumption of dairy products and risk of Parkinson's disease. Am J Epidemiol 2007;165:998-1006.
    12. Hamer M, Chida Y: Physical activity and risk of neurodegenerative disease: a systematic rev iew of prospective evidence. Psychol Med 2009;39:3-11.
    jc3737 replied to engineerguy's response:
    I agree with Dr Fuhrman and supplement with his fish oil and flax seed.I also agree with his call on sodium and salt,the need for raw greens and lots of vegetables but........

    ....I wish I knew why he is against starches like white potatoes.They are a pure food,totally unprocessed,and loaded with more potassium than any other food,and lots of vitamin C.
    The potassium is the key to keeping blood pressure down and we all know the value of vit C.

    It does not raise my FBG and my 1 hr postprandial only goes to 125 at most.

    I would like to see Dr McDougall address the concerns Dr Fuhrman has with his low fat recommendation.
    DoloresTeresa replied to jc3737's response:
    Jeff Novick just did a DVD on nuts and seeds. Of course they are not saying what is in it so they can sell the dvds However, a glance through dr. McDougalls cookbook shows some recipes with nuts. On page 69 of the cook book he says---tofu, nuts, seeds, nut butters, seed spreads, avocados and olives are very high in fat..Don't buy nuts cooked in oils. Nut butters should contain only nuts. Seed spreads should be made only with pure seeds. You can dilute the spreads with water.

    I believe there might be some nuts in a few recipes among the hundreds on his website.

    I think the consensus is that if you are at your normal weight it is ok to have a few nuts or seeds.

    I think the question is how many nuts or seeds is sufficient? While no one knows what the optimal diet is, hunter gatherers would find nuts and seeds in season--to be shared among a clan and maybe stored. And game animals are only about four per cent fat by weight as are most insects and I believe even breast milk for infants. So it is unlikely we would need very large amounts.

    I might even question the need for fish oils because although humans may have fished, the very oily fish are only found in certain waters at certain times of year so they could not have been a regular part of the diet of many people. On the other hand, maybe yummy insects fulfilled the requirement for certain fatty acids.


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