Posted 01 April 2013 - 12:13 PM
I was wondering if you might be able to point me in the direction of a list
or article about alternative medicines, vitamins, supplements and treatments
show to be of help for person's with Parkinson's.
Thanks very much,
Posted 01 April 2013 - 05:40 PM
Fava Beans, Levodopa, and Parkinson's Disease
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD
Beans and Parkinson's disease
In the past few years, I've been increasingly asked for information
about fava beans as a source of levodopa. It's clear that many people
are trying fava beans without fully understanding their properties. This
article is designed to answer questions that have arisen about fava and
Parkinson's disease (PD). I hope this may clear up some of the confusion
about the bean, and encourage people to discuss its use with their
doctors and dietitians.
This bean is a legume called "fava" (fah-vuh), faba, broad bean, and
horse bean. Its botanical name is "Vicia faba." There are many species
of faba; however, the "faba major"is the bean of concern here. It grows
in a long pod, like a giant green bean, with large, flat seeds inside.
It has been eaten for thousands of years throughout the world,
especially in the Mediterranean region.
How are fava beans related to PD?
Fava beans contain levodopa, the same chemical in Sinemet, Madopar,
Dopar, Larodopa, and other levodopa-containing medicines used to treat
PD. In fact, the entire fava plant, including leaves, stems, pods, and
immature beans, contains levodopa.
The amount of levodopa can vary greatly, depending on the species of
fava, the area where it's grown, soil conditions, rainfall, and other
factors. It appears that the young pod and the immature (green) beans
inside the pod contain the greatest amount of levodopa, and the mature,
or dried bean, the least. Three ounces (about 84 grams or ½ cup) of
fresh green fava beans, or three ounces of canned green fava beans,
drained, may contain about 50-100 mg of levodopa. If using the young pod
as well as the beans, the amount of levodopa may be greater than that in
the fresh beans alone.
What effect do fava beans have on PD?
Some small studies have shown that the levodopa in fava beans can help
control the symptoms of PD, just as medications containing levodopa do.
In fact, a few people report that the effects from fava last longer than
the effects from medications. Some researchers believe fava beans may
contain other substances besides levodopa that could be helpful for PD
symptoms. However, although some people report good effects, others find
no antiparkinson effect from fava beans at all; and still others report
adverse effects, such as nausea and dyskinesia. Much more research needs
to be done to determine how effective fava beans may be.
Are there any problems associated with eating fava beans?
Yes, there are a number of concerns to be aware of:
Variable levodopa amounts. Because fava plants have varying amounts of
levodopa, it's possible to get either too much or too little levodopa.
Too little levodopa will not relieve PD symptoms; and too much levodopa
can cause overmedication effects, such as dyskinesia - particularly if
other PD medications are being used at the same time. Also, the levodopa
can cause nausea in some people.
Allergies. Raw fava beans can produce an allergic reaction in some
people, including discomfort, and occasionally, coma. Cooking may
prevent allergic reactions.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) use. Another consideration is the use
of fava for people who take MAOIs. These include: isocarboxazid
(Marplan); phenelzine (Nardil); tranylcypromine (Parnate); rasagiline (Azilect) and
selegiline (deprenyl, Carbex, Eldepryl).
MAOIs taken in combination with pressor agents (foods high in dopamine,
tyramine and phenylethylamine), can bring about a dangerous, and
sometimes fatal, increase in blood pressure. Levodopa in medications or
in fava can convert to dopamine in the bloodstream. It should be noted
that selegiline and rasagiline are a different type of MAOI (MAOI-type , and in the
amount normally used by people with PD, are not thought to pose a risk when used
with dopamine. However, people using any MAOI should discuss foods containing
pressor agents with their physicians and dietitians.
Favism (G6PD deficiency). Favism is an inherited disease in which a
person lacks an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD).
When these people eat fava beans, they develop a condition called
hemolytic anemia. This anemia causes red blood cells to break apart and
block blood vessels. When such blockage occurs in the kidneys, it can
result in kidney failure and even death. Although favism is usually
detected in childhood, adults can be affected as well.
G6PD deficiency is rare, occurring mostly among people of Mediterranean,
African, and Southeast Asian descent, but others can be affected as
well. Your physician can perform a blood test for G6PD to determine
whether you are at risk. If you find you have inherited G6PD deficiency,
your dietitian can help you locate other foods that may be of concern,
and can help you plan safe and healthful menus. For more information on
favism, see "Resources" at the end of this article.
Should you eat fava beans if you have Parkinson's disease?
Many people with PD can benefit from use of fava beans. If you'd like to
try them, discuss it with your physician first. Besides MAOI use and
risk for favism, your doctor may want to adjust the amount and/or timing
of your PD medications.
If your doctor agrees that you should try using fava beans, he or she
will probably ask you to start out with a very small amount at first, to
see what effect, if any, fava has for you. An ounce (about 28 grams, or
two tablespoons of beans) a day is probably right for most people to
begin with. After a week you should notice whether there is any effect,
and if not, your doctor may suggest that you increase the amount. If the
fava beans reduce PD symptoms, your doctor may want to adjust your other
How often should I eat fava beans?
There is too little information available to give an exact answer; also,
each person with PD is different, and has different medication needs.
Some people report a half cup (4 ounces, 112 grams) of fava a day, or
even every other day, gives good results. Begin with a small amount,
increasing gradually under your doctor's supervision, until you find the
combination of fava and/or PD medications that's right for you.
Even if fava beans help, you shouldn't eat too much. If you fill up on
fava, you'll be too full for other foods, and will miss out on the
benefits they offer. A dietitian can help you plan menus that include
fava beans and will best meet your personal needs.
Where can I get fava beans?
Fresh pods and/or green fava beans are available in season at specialty
produce markets and some specialty foods shops. They may also be found
at Middle Eastern markets, some supermarkets, and farmers' markets.
Grocery stores may be willing to special order the fresh pods or beans
in season, frozen pods/beans, or canned green fava beans, such as
produced by Krinos or Cortas. Be sure to specify "green fava beans," not
dried or mature beans. For more information, see "Resources."
Nutrient information for fava beans
Besides levodopa, fava beans are rich in valuable nutrients. Fava pods
with beans are a good source of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc,
copper, selenium, and many vitamins. The beans alone are also good - 3 ½
ounces (98 grams) of cooked fresh beans contain 56 calories, 20 grams
carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, and substantial amounts
of iron, magnesium, and vitamin C.
How do I prepare fava beans?
The pods, including beans, are best eaten when very young, before a
"string" forms along the side. They can be steamed or boiled until
tender. Add some olive oil or butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and
serve as a vegetable side dish, like snow peas.
To use the fresh green fava beans alone, shell the beans from the pods,
like green peas. Then boil or steam them till tender - usually two to 10
minutes, depending on size and age. Add butter, salt and pepper, or your
own favorite seasoning, and serve as a side dish. You can also add the
cooked beans to salads. If the beans seem too chewy, cook for 8-10
minutes, then cool and slip off the outer skins; cook a few more minutes
if needed. Some people like to eat the skins, others find them too tough.
In conclusion, fava beans are an excellent food, as well as a possible
way to help fight the effects of PD. Discuss use of fava with your
doctor and registered dietitian. Here's to your good health!
Sources for fava beans: (Be sure to ask for green, or immature, fava
beans, either the beans themselves or the entire pod. The pods may be
fresh or frozen; the beans may be fresh, frozen, or canned.)
32907 Mesa Drive
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
Will ship fresh (in season), frozen green (immature), or canned green
(immature) fava beans
123 Lexington Ave.
New York 10016
Email : email@example.com
Carries Cortas green broad fava bean
2650 University Blvd.
Wheaton, MD 20902
Maryland: (301) 942-9726
USA: (800) 880-6062
Fax: (240) 337-6468
Carries: KRINOS - Cooked Broad Beans ( also known as Green Fava Beans )
24 OZ .
CORTAS - Cooked Green Fava Beans. To serve: Heat contents and serve with
rice. Ingredients: Broad beans, Water, Salt and citric acid . Imported
from Lebanon. 30 OZ
For more information on fava beans:
The Fava Bean Project
Cornell University Division of Nutritional Services
For information on Favism:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30333
The Favism Website: www.rialto.com/favism/
Burbano C, Cuadrado C, Muzquiz M, Cubero JI. Variation of
favism-inducing factors (vicine, convicine and L-DOPA) during pod
development in Vicia faba L. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1995; 47(3): 265-75.
Rabey JM, Vered Y, Shabtai H, Graff, E; Korczyn, AD. Improvement of
parkinsonian features correlate with high plasma levodopa values after
broad bean (Vicia faba) consumption.
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1992 Aug; 55( : 725-7.
Rabey JM, Vered Y, Shabtai H, Graff E, Harsat A, Korczyn AD. Broad bean
(Vicia faba) consumption and Parkinson's disease. Adv-Neurol. 1993; 60:
Apaydin H, Ertan S, Ozekmekci S. Broad bean (Vicia faba)--a natural
source of L-dopa--prolongs "on" periods in patients with Parkinson's
disease who have "on-off" fluctuations. Mov Disord. 2000; 15(1): 164-6.
Food Fact Finder: nutrient data for Beans, fava, in pod, raw
Fava Bean: The Vegeman Files www.geocities.com/NapaValley/7514/f101.html
Nutritional Anemias (from Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, 2nd ed.,
edited by Frances J. Zeman). Macmillan Publishing Co., NY NY, 1991.
Favism, pp. 698-99.
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency (from Hematology, edited by
W.J. Williams, E. Beutler, A.J. Erslev, and M.A. Lichtman). New York:
McGraw-Hill 1990, p. 591-606.
Mehta A, Mason PJ, Vulliamy TJ. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase
deficiency. Baillieres Best Pract Res Clin Haematol 2000 Mar;13(1):21-38.
The Fava Bean Project
Cornell University Division of Nutritional Services
Beans (Mucuna Pruriens) For Parkinson’s Disease:
An Herbal Alternative
Bala V. Manyam, M.D., NPF Center of Excellence Plummer Movement Disorders
Center Department of Neurology
Glenn R. Cryer, Scientific Publications and Biomedical Communications
Scott & White Clinic and Texas A&M University Health Science System
College of Medicine Temple, Texas
Parkinson’s disease drugs like most other drugs used today, are chemicals
synthesised in the laboratory and then manufactured. Making drugs in the
laboratory is a slow, expensive and tedious process. This is one reason
why drugs are expensive. Large numbers of chemicals exist
in plants and other natural sources but only five percent of them have
been explored to-date. Plant based drugs for Parkinson’s disease, include
L-DOPA containing sources such as the seeds of Mucuna pruriens (Figure 1 :
Mucuna pruriens plant showing pods) and Vincia faba, the same chemical
compound that has been used for Parkinson’s disease in the last 30 years.
Seeds of Datura stramonium have an anticholinergic effect, similar to
Artane and Cogentin. Banisterine from Banisteria caapi and Nicotiana
tabacum has monoamine oxidase inhibitor that is similar to selegiline
(deprenyl). In this article, we will discuss more about Mucuna pruriens.
Before explaining how the powder from the Mucuna pruriens plant is being
used as an alternative therapy, it should be noted that Parkinson’s
disease affects more than one million people in the U.S. alone, and new
and effective treatments for this particular disease are goals of many
researchers. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological disease
that primarily impacts the part of the brain that produces dopamine, a
chemical substance that allows neurologic impulses to be sent from one
terminal end of a nerve cell to the beginning of another nerve cell
terminal. In Parkinson’s disease, however, there is not enough dopamine
produced by the brain for its needs. The simple act of walking may not be
so simple. The disease can effect the body in many ways. The most common
symptoms of the disease include trembling (shaking), stooped posture,
muscular stiffness, short shuffling steps, speaking softly and rapidly,
poor balance, poor handwriting, and of course, slowness of body movements.
The cause of the disease is not known, however, a variety of medications
can control the symptoms.
Physicians in ancient India first used Mucuna seeds in the treatment of
Parkinson’s disease over 4500 years ago. The Indian medical system is
called Ayurveda, which is the world’s oldest system of medicine based on
scientific principles. Ayurveda is founded on scientific principles. It
has a long history of use of herbal remedies and has documented data on
mechanism of action, specific action, short-term and long-term toxic
effects, drug-drug and drug-diet interaction with a long history of use in humans. As per historical evidence, Parkinson’s disease existed in ancient India and was called
Kampavata. This was over 4500 years ago even though the disease acquired
its present name from James Parkinson who redescribed the disease in 1817
A.D. In the Ayurvedic system, powder of Mucuna is used for treating
Parkinson’s disease and is subjected to special processing. The English
name "cowage" plant (Mucuna pruriens) is derived from Hindi Kiwach. In
Sanskrit, it is called Atmagupta. Mucuna is a twiner with trifoliate
leaves, purple flowers, and turgid S-shaped pods covered with hairs that
cause intense itching on contact with the skin. The plant belongs to the
family Leguminosae, which is indigenous to India and has long been used in
Ayurveda since ancient times. Overdose effects of Mucuna were also
recognized in Ayurveda. These included headache, dystonia, fatigue,
tremor, syncope, and thirst. Many of these could also occur from synthetic
L-DOPA. In the modern times, two Indian scientists isolated L-DOPA from
Mucuna in 1936 and published their results. However, at that time the role
of L-DOPA in Parkinson’s was not known, hence not much attention was given
to the discovery. Subsequently, when dopamine deficiency was linked to
Parkinson’s disease in the 1960’s, scientists got interested in finding a
source of L-DOPA for treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Because, the
presence of L-DOPA was known to be present in the legume, initial
attention was paid to extract levodopa from various Mucuna seeds and in
fact, over a thousand plants were screened for the high content of L-DOPA.
As L-DOPA was synthesized, further work on extraction of L-DOPA from beans
The amount of Mucuna powder used by Ayurvedic physicians was small
compared to the amount of synthetic L-DOPA used to produce the same
benefit; if one looks at the amount of L-DOPA alone. This is what led to
one of the authors (BVM) to further study how such a small quantity of
levodopa in Mucuna could have helped and thought possibly that there could
be other undiscovered drugs in Mucuna that may enhance either the activity
of L-DOPA such as carbidopa as seen in Sinemet or there may be an
independent compound in Mucuna that may have a direct effect on symptoms
of Parkinson’s disease. This idea led to collaboration between Drs. Manyam
with Dr. K. M. Parikh, President of the Zandu Pharmaceutical Works, a
leading Ayurvedic manufacturing company located in Bombay, India. Their team
conducted a series of experiments to establish and to develop a drug for
Parkinson’s disease from Mucuna (Figure 2 : Mucuna beans with skin (left),
beans with skin removed (right) and powder). The initial work required
making the drug from Mucuna palatable. They developed a preparation and
named it HP200, which is a powder form and has to be mixed with water just
before administration. This is the first "liquid levodopa" preparation
ever made. They also established that when mixed with water the
preparation remained stable for several hours. The powder was also tested
so that there was no loss of active compounds during storage.
Despite the fact Mucuna was used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease
in ancient times, it is still important today to establish that the drug
dose not have adverse effects on various vital organs. This was
accomplished by administering low to very high doses of the drug in rats
and rabbits and testing the effect of Mucuna on blood chemistry and blood
count (such as the one that many physicians perform in their offices and
the hospitals) and various organs. Some of the tests were done for as long
as one year and the results indicated no adverse effects were present from
To establish how Mucuna would compare to synthetic L-DOPA, experiments
were undertaken in animal models of Parkinson’s disease. Two different
doses of synthetic L-DOPA and two different doses of Mucuna were
administered making sure that the amount of L-DOPA present is the same in
Mucuna as was the doses of synthetic L-DOPA. The effects of the drugs were
tested using a specially designed instrument called "Rotometer." Dose for
dose, Mucuna was two to three times more effective than equivalent amounts
of synthetic L-DOPA. This suggests that Mucuna may contain compounds that
make L-DOPA function better such as carbidopa, tolcapone (Tasmar), or
entacapone (COMTan). It may also suggest that Mucuna independently improve
symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Although quite encouraging, more research
is needed to confirm these findings. This work was done at the time when
the United States Congress established the Office of Alternative Medicine
in the National Institute of Health and the work was one of the first to
receive funding for alternative medicine.
Additional studies in India were undertaken to establish the benefit of
HP200 in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Four medical centers were
selected involving sixty patients and several neurologists. The studies
were conducted for three months. During that time, the patients received
HP200 while no concomitant L-DOPA preparations were administered. Trained
neurologists monitored changes in the degree of patent’s symptoms and any
side effects. At the end of the study, it was determined that the HP200
was highly beneficial in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The side
effects were minimal. HP200 was approved by the Indian Food and Drug
Administration and is available in India under the brand name Zandopa.
Further, the cost of the drug was much cheaper compared to the synthetic
drugs; thus it became more affordable to the patients. The United States
Food and Drug Administration approve the drug for clinical studies,
however, it is not available from the pharmacist.
Work on the Mucuna for Parkinson’s disease is being continued. The
importance of this particular study is not that Mucuna is an alternative
to L-DOPA, rather it is that compounds occurring naturally in plants for
example, may contain biologically active components that can be isolated,
tested, and used to provide safer and better treatments for Parkinson’s
The Parkinson's Recovery Project
I have no personal knowledge of this treatment or project; anecdotally, some people have reported benefit from the program. Kathrynne
The Parkinson's Recovery Project
Dedicated to dissemination of information regarding Parkinson's Disease treatments which use techniques of Asian Medicine
Natural Therapies for Parkinson's Disease (Paperback)
~ Dr. Laurie Mischley (Author)
5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
Additionally, if you care to search this forum, using "turmeric" "fish oil" "omega-3 fatty acids" "green tea" "CoQ10" "Creatine" you should turn up more information. I also recommend you check with your local PD support group or public library for a lending copy of "Cook Well, Stay Well with Parkinson's Disease," in which I have recipes that include green tea, ginger, and turmeric.
Let me know if this is helpful, or if you have other questions.
Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:08 AM
called "DopaBoost" .... my husband actually is trying it for Parkinson's symptoms.
So far he has had quite a boost using this product.
Thank you so much for posting all the wonderful information...
all is deeply appreciated!!
Posted 03 April 2013 - 05:12 PM
Posted 03 April 2013 - 06:14 PM
Posted 03 April 2013 - 06:52 PM
Posted 05 April 2013 - 06:10 PM
Posted 06 April 2013 - 11:51 AM
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004 December; 75(12): 1672–1677.
Mucuna pruriens in Parkinson's disease: a double blind clinical and pharmacological study
R Katzenschlager, A Evans, A Manson, P Patsalos, N Ratnaraj, H Watt, L Timmermann, R Van der Giessen, and A Lees
Author information ► Copyright and License information ►
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
Background: The seed powder of the leguminous plant, Mucuna pruriens has long been used in traditional Ayurvedic Indian medicine for diseases including parkinsonism. We have assessed the clinical effects and levodopa (L-dopa) pharmacokinetics following two different doses of mucuna preparation and compared them with standard L-dopa/carbidopa (LD/CD).
Methods: Eight Parkinson's disease patients with a short duration L-dopa response and on period dyskinesias completed a randomised, controlled, double blind crossover trial. Patients were challenged with single doses of 200/50 mg LD/CD, and 15 and 30 g of mucuna preparation in randomised order at weekly intervals. L-Dopa pharmacokinetics were determined, and Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale and tapping speed were obtained at baseline and repeatedly during the 4 h following drug ingestion. Dyskinesias were assessed using modified AIMS and Goetz scales.
Results: Compared with standard LD/CD, the 30 g mucuna preparation led to a considerably faster onset of effect (34.6 v 68.5 min; p = 0.021), reflected in shorter latencies to peak L-dopa plasma concentrations. Mean on time was 21.9% (37 min) longer with 30 g mucuna than with LD/CD (p = 0.021); peak L-dopa plasma concentrations were 110% higher and the area under the plasma concentration v time curve (area under curve) was 165.3% larger (p = 0.012). No significant differences in dyskinesias or tolerability occurred.
Conclusions: The rapid onset of action and longer on time without concomitant increase in dyskinesias on mucuna seed powder formulation suggest that this natural source of L-dopa might possess advantages over conventional L-dopa preparations in the long term management of PD. Assessment of long term efficacy and tolerability in a randomised, controlled study is warranted.
The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (115K).
However, I do not know what preparation of mucuna was used in the study, thus have no way to compare it to the products listed at iherb. I would address your question to Dr. Okun who may have more information. -Kathrynne
Edited by Kathrynne Holden, MS, 06 April 2013 - 05:08 PM.
Posted 06 April 2013 - 04:41 PM
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