Lifestyle Modifications

Vitamins and supplements, diet, and exercising are lifestyle modifications that are often considered by individuals diagnosed with PD. Many people are compelled to take commercially-driven vitamins and/or supplements to improve the symptoms of PD. The literature has not shown significant value in taking Megavitamims, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, NADH, glutathione, melatonin, or coenzyme. Mega doses of Vitamin B6 should be avoided when patients are taking levodopa because vitamin B interferes with levodopa converting to dopamine in the brain.1

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is the most cost effective way for individuals to consume the nutrients they need.1 In some circumstances patients may need to regulate the amount of protein they eat because it can interfere with levodopa absorption. Modifying the amount of protein that is ingested and consuming protein in the evening can help manage this.1 Patients experiencing dysphagia may need to modify when and how they consume food. The best time for consumption is when the levodopa is effective.1 Taking smaller bites, chewing well, and eating slower can also help manage dysphagia. As the disease progresses, it may be necessary for people to eat soft or pureed food or use thickeners for fluids when swallowing function is compromised.

Exercise shows great promise at improving motor action, balance, and gait in patients diagnosed with PD.1,56,57 A recent study revealed exercise reduced the number of falls in people with less severe PD and improved their overall mood and quality of life.57 To minimize stiffness it is important for individuals to maximize the amount of time they spend standing or walking and limit the amount of time they spend sitting, reclining, or laying down. As a general rule, for every hour of sitting, individuals should move around or walk for 5-10 minutes.58