Let thy food be thy medicine…


Now I know when you’re suffering akathisia it’s almost impossible to eat, as nausea is generally the norm and there’s just no appetite to be found. But you do need to continue eating, so using food as yet another healing modality is a great idea.

It seems a lot of people, when suffering akathisia, react poorly to sugar and many processed foods and drinks. It makes sense because these things aren’t good for us in the first place, but sensitivity to less than ideal substances seems to be commonly at an all time high when one is in the throws of akathisia.

  • Try to drink a lot of water, it’ll help cleanse, detox, balance the body and mind
  • Avoid sugar and sugary foods and drinks, starchy foods that turn right to sugar
  • Eat as much clean, organic produce as you can tolerate
  • Drink a green drink in any form you can tolerate it whenever you can

Check out the article below – (When I read this today it made me wonder…since akathisia and tardive dyskinesia are affected by the dopamine/serotonin balance and Parkinson’s is also an issue very influenced by the dopamine/serotonin balance, if things that help prevent Parkinson’s disease may also help one overcome akathisia and td more quickly?

It’s just a thought, but after reading this article I think it just may be worth adding peppers to your diet.

In my humble opinion Dr. Mercola is a leading authority on “alternative” health topics. I read his newsletter daily and have found a wealth of helpful information on many topics through the years.

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Peppers to Help Prevent Parkinson’s

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

  • January 10, 2019

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Story at-a-glance

  • Parkinson’s disease, characterized by inflammation, stiff muscles, tremors and progressively more difficulty walking, ranks second among the most common neurodegenerative disease in older people
  • Recent studies show that some foods can help reduce Parkinson’s symptoms, while other foods may change the factors that cause neurodegeneration and disease progression
  • Eating Solanaceae, aka nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, eggplant and especially peppers, has protective potential; one of the phytochemicals such vegetables contain is nicotine, which appears to be the agent imparting the neuroprotective effects
  • The amount of dietary nicotine you’d get from eating healthy vegetables is significantly less than what you’d ingest from smoking one cigarette but may be enough to offset your Parkinson’s risk
  • Eating Solanaceae vegetables, particularly peppers, two to four times per week is recommended for increased neuroprotection

One of the most compelling statements in a 2014 study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience is that in regard to Parkinson’s disease, “[A] growing body of evidence suggests that nutrition may play an important role.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that usually develops in older people, with such symptoms as inflammation, stiff muscles and tremors, all signs of decreased mitochondrial function. The disease is called idiopathic, which refers to conditions that occur spontaneously and with no known cause. It currently has no cure,1 one reason why prevention is key.

In Parkinson’s disease, movements like walking or turning corners slowly become more like shuffling, an indicator known as bradykinesia that occurs when brain signaling to specific body parts slows down, even suppressing facial expression. A host of other symptoms emerge gradually over time, including loss of smell, difficulty swallowing or chewing and memory problems.2

The study3 describes aspects of Parkinson’s as suppression of the autosomal-lysomal autophagy system, which is systematic degradation of your body’s functional components due to cell destruction, characterized by the loss of dopamine-transmitting neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (a section of the midbrain).4

The Michael J. Fox Foundation5 describes Parkinson’s as a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that impacts 1 percent of the population. These individuals usually average 60 years of age, but some have been diagnosed at 40 and even younger.

Parkinson’s ranks as the second-most common neurodegenerative disease in older people, so it’s crucial to grasp the role food plays, the study emphasizes. More specifically:

“Recent epidemiological studies have revealed the promise of some nutrients in reducing the risk of PD [Parkinson’s disease]. In contrast, other nutrients may be involved with the etiology of neurodegeneration or exacerbate disease progression.”6

What Do Nicotine and Peppers Have to Do With Parkinson’s?

Another study at the University of Washington’s department of environmental and occupational health sciences in Seattle reported interesting findings regarding the association between Parkinson’s disease and peppers: Eating Solanaceae, aka nightshade vegetables, especially peppers, had protective potential, especially if study subjects had never smoked, or smoked less than 10 years. Here’s why that’s significant:

“Nicotine is the addictive phytochemical in tobacco, which is derived from plants in the Nicotiana species of the Solanaceae family. Other species in this family include Capsicum and Solanum, whose edible fruits and tubers include peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants. All contain nicotine.”7

So nicotine is a compound found in the plant family that contains tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers. It’s important to note that the amount of nicotine in these foods is negligible compared to that in cigarettes, the study stresses; probably even less than the amount in secondhand tobacco smoke.8

Dr. Michael Greger writes in Nutrition Facts that the amount of nicotine you get in your diet is hundreds of times less than what you’d ingest from smoking a single cigarette. But it depends on the nightshade vegetable and how ripe they are.9 Greger says what can be ingested via dietary nicotine just from eating some healthy vegetables may be significant, and explains:

[The researchers] … found none in eggplant, only a little in potatoes, some in tomatoes, but the most in bell peppers. When that was taken into account, a much stronger picture emerged. The researchers found that more peppers meant more protection.

And, as we might expect, the effects of eating nicotine-containing foods were mainly evident in nonsmokers, as the nicotine from smoke would presumably blot out any dietary effect.”10

To thoroughly analyze what factors led to the neuroprotectivity of peppers, the researchers used around 500 newly diagnosed Parkinson’s patients along with another 650 individuals who didn’t have the disorder, in the Seattle area.

The scientists factored in the amounts of (or absence of) tobacco use (including pipes, cigars and chewing tobacco), a wide array of other foods (such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, peas, squash and onions), cooking methods and the amount consumed, as well as race/ethnicity, other diseases, sex and age.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers wrote that eating lots of vegetables in the Solanaceae family was inversely related to Parkinson’s risk. No other foods had a higher positive relation, and peppers won the gold star for having the highest association. They could only suggest that eating these veggies two to four times per week could provide protective effects.

Are There any Other Factors or Foods That May Help?

An alkyloid known as anatabine, found in both nicotine and peppers, was identified in the featured study as another compound that may be neuroprotective because of its anti-inflammatory properties.11

Capsaisin, the active ingredient in hot chili peppers (which also puts the burn on when you bite into them), not only has been shown to play a potential role against Parkinson’s symptoms,12 but also has been shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.13 Capsinoids in peppers and capsaicinoids, the study notes, also activate, by a circuitous path, receptors in the substantia nigra and may affect the survival of brain neurons.14

Coffee lovers will also love the fact that caffeine consumption also has an association with a lower Parkinson’s risk, according to a trial published in Neurology. At least four cups per day (per measurement) was what scientists in the 2018 study recommended as the amount to help alleviate symptoms. Further:

“Decaffeinated coffee afforded no protection, pointing to caffeine rather than other substances in coffee or tea as the underlying pharmacologic agent … Thus, exploring the mechanisms by which caffeine may protect against PD is a worthwhile endeavor.”15

There’s also conjecture that your microbiome is a hotbed issue in the debate regarding Parkinson’s disease causes and potential ways to address it through improved gut health. Dr. George Tetz and his colleagues examined16 the bacteriophages (viruses that live in your gut) in Parkinson’s disease, as well as the role the microbiome may play in its pathogenesis, or the way it develops. According to Parkinson.org:

“This has sparked the idea that we might be able to improve the symptoms if we change the microbiome through diet or other ways … People with Parkinson’s have less of a specific type of bacteria that produces lactic acid.

These bacteria play a role in the processes that produce dopamine and affect the intestine’s ability to absorb. According to the study, people with PD did not have less bacteriophages than people without PD, but people with Parkinson’s were found to have an increased number of a specific kind of bacteriophage called the lytic-phase bacteriophage.”17

Is Dairy Consumption Linked to Parkinson’s Disease Risk?

Tetz and his associates hypothesize that dairy may impact bacteriophages, specifically Lactococcus, a type of bacteria in lactic acid. Additionally, another recent study18 reported that dairy consumption is linked to developing Parkinson’s later in life.

But interestingly, the featured study draws on the findings of a study from 199619 that asserts drinking milk is associated with increasing your Parkinson’s risk, especially in men. Further, dopaminergic neurotoxins, including pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in dairy products, may also increase the risk, according to a 2002 study at Harvard School of Public Health.20 In addition, the featured study cited several other studies in reporting:

“Numerous studies have reported a decrease in peroxidase, glutathion-peroxidase activities and glutathione in the SN [substantia nigra] (indicating the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta) of PD patients post-mortem; suggesting metabolic failure in antioxidant mechanisms and chemical processes can lead to lipid peroxidation and parkinsonian characteristics.”21

Another study showed that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) seem to be protective against several neurodegenerative diseases,22 and in another trial, researchers found patients’ motor skills improved with supplementation of riboflavin for six months — and eliminating red meat from their diets.23

What Changes Can Be Made to Offset Your Parkinson’s Risk?

Kelly Changizi, codirector of the Center for Neuromodulation at Mount Sinai Parkinson and Movement Disorders Center in New York City, said she often has patients ask if what they eat has any role in their disease, and acknowledges both that “It’s very interesting that nicotine in vegetables such as peppers may be neuroprotective,” and the study “provides further evidence of how diet can influence our susceptibility to neurological disease, specifically Parkinson’s disease.”24

She wasn’t the only medical professional to find the study about peppers being a link to alleviate symptoms and lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s an “intriguing” concept (although some still deny a “cause-and-effect relationship”). With any luck, the study may open the door to initiate changes in what had once been an assumption that nothing on the patient’s part could change their diagnosis.

It’s clear that diet has much more to do in the prevention of disease than many, including members of both the medical community and the general public, realized. Whether it’s eating vegetables for the nutrients they provide or working toward improving your gut biome, Greger’s conclusion is pithy and on point:

“Researchers conclude that their findings will need to be reproduced to help establish cause and effect before considering dietary interventions to prevent Parkinson’s disease, but when the dietary intervention is to eat more delicious, healthy dishes like stuffed peppers with tomato sauce, I don’t see the reason we have to wait.”25

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35 thoughts on “Let thy food be thy medicine…

  1. My story…..

    It started on Nov. 21st 2021. I went to the ER with some pretty severe pressure behind my left eye and had a hard time seeing. The ER doctor told me it was a migraine and they would give me a migraine “cocktail”. This cocktail included a drug called compazine (he said this was for nausea) but I didn’t feel sick. As soon as it went into my IV I knew something was horribly wrong. The nurse walked out and shut off the lights. My lip started curling up without me doing so and I couldn’t sit still. I started calling for help and it wasn’t until 10 min later the doctor walked in and said it can be a side effect and ordered benadryl. Once the benadryl hit I felt so drugged I couldn’t move and I felt trapped in my own body. The nurse came in and had to basically help me sign my discharge papers. I somehow managed to text my husband as I stumbled and crawled my way to the waiting room and passed out in a chair. My incredibly husband picked me up and we went home and I slept until basically the next day.

    36 hrs later my troubles really began. I felt anxious and couldn’t sit still. I started to have muscle twitches all over my body, and terrible burning pain in my shoulder. With every passing day it got worse. I slept in 20-40 min increments for the next 7 weeks. It didn’t even register that it was the medication. So I started consulting DR. Google and of course that was terrifying as that always led to ALS. I consulted my family doctor. She simply told me “it’s just anxiety” and prescribed me Cymbalta. I took another trip to the ER because the pain was unbearable. They prescribed me prednisone and valium…. Isn’t it crazy (the answer was always more drugs!) I was getting desperate and felt the only way out was death and that whatever this was going to kill me.

    My husband and I were talking and going over everything that happened up to when I started having these issues. Then it registered “the ER visit” . I started googling the medications they gave me. COMPAZINE is ANTIPSYCHOTIC!! They injected me with an antipsychotic. I started reading reviews and side effects and my horror grew. The words EXTRAPYRAMIDAL EFFECTS came up and the word AKATHISIA. I started to dig and the horror kept coming. This is what was happening to me and I had no control over any of it. I started reading that these things could be permanent. My brain went to suicide and “I can’t live like this”.

    I took the cymbalta (a total of 4 30mg pills) . They made me feel worse. I was taking the prednisone and valium at this time as well because the valium was my only relief. Taking these compounded the problems. I truly feel they drug my symptoms out even farther. The only thing that is helping is time and eating a good balanced diet. Another side effect was a total lack of appetite. I lost 17lbs throughout all of this.

    I started seeing a neurologist, because I had moments of thinking this couldn’t possibly be from one injection and I must have had some neurological disease. I had a brain MRI and an EMG/NCS. They all came back normal. After 3 months I was finally given some truth. The neurologist specialist that did my EMG said “this can absolutely be from the compazine and yes the other medication made things worse”. For the first time in over 3 months I could take a breath. I do still have some twitching and residual anxiety, but it is improving. I do still struggle with the pain in my shoulder as well, but am also having some improvement.

    HOLD ON! This does go away and YOU are NOT CRAZY. You will be ok. Keep fighting. I know it’s rough, but our bodies are amazing and they do want to heal. These drugs mess with brain chemistry and it takes time to return to normal. You have to allow your body to balance itself out. If I would have known sooner I can tell you I wouldn’t have touched the other pharmaceuticals they kept giving me. It only made matters worse. Feed your body right and get outside and walk (don’t over do it). Making sure I got enough protein and Kefir (probiotics) every day are what helps me most.

    The doctors fail so many people. Most will never admit that their precious DRUGS hurt people. These side effects are real and they destroy good people.

    HOLD ON! YOU WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THIS! ♡︎♡︎♡︎

    1. Thank you for this Katie. I’m SOOOO glad you ended up seeing a dr. with some integrity enough to tell you the truth!!! Thank you for offering this info to others. ❤

    2. Hi Danielle,

      Can you give us an idea of how things are going? This will help myself and anyone else that may have suggestions help you more effectively.

      I’m really sorry you’re going through this. Just know and keep in mind ALL THE TIME that this WILL pass and you WILL heal.

      All my best,
      Angie

    3. I also talked to some people who got compazine two years ago and arent better, i cant let this be permanent

    4. I’ve heard of it taking up to a couple years for things to get totally balanced again, but I’ve not heard of anyone having it permanently. Keep doing all the positive steps to heal and keep your mind in a positive headspace. The more optimistic you can be, the quicker your body will get back into balance. Don’t read too much on the internet, there can be a lot of dark posts out there. Also, some people may think they have akathisia, but they may be dealing with something else. It’s hard to use a story like that as a barometer of how it goes or will go for you. You WILL HEAL. 100%.

    5. Im trying so hard to break the cycle of fear and negativity. Im also suffering from severe dpdr did u have this? I cant drive

    6. Yes and I couldn’t drive either.. the stimulation was way too overwhelming and caused me extreme vertigo. It just takes time and you can’t push yourself. It’s not like regular anxiety, you can’t push through it. Your body and brain need time to get calmed and balanced again.

    7. Thank you so much the fear that this is permanent is so much to handle. These drugs are criminal i cannot believe the damage and the migraine was nothing compared to this misery. Did u have bloodwork done or any urinary symptoms? My kidney function is high but no infection or stones

    8. I was too freaked out to go anywhere..I didn’t have any blood work. I know, I feel the same way. There are a lot of drugs that can cause this, it’s scary as hell!

    9. I know its been awhile for you but your fully healed at this point right now long term damage

    10. Thank you so much and has anyone you talked to had urinary issues? Bc i have them and started same time!

    11. Don’t recall hearing about that, but with all the terror that’s involved with akathisia, I’m guessing if someone had that going on it wouldn’t be noteworthy in comparison to the greater issue..so probably why I haven’t heard of it. Just a guess. I’m really not sure. If someone on here did have that trouble I’m sure they’ll reply to that question though.

    12. Yes and I think if you read through all the comments other people have left on the various pages, you’ll find other people had the same issue. Common.

    13. Okay thanks, im at 3 months and losing all hope ill ever be normal all from one dose …

    14. You WILL heal. This was a shot or IV? As opposed to pill? If so, it’s a harder recovery. But you WILL recover. So don’t lose heart…it’s just a matter of time and you will be back to normal.

    15. Did you have moments where you completely would lose it and wanna give up? I have good days but the bad days are severe!

    16. Really even beyond that, I was in stricken terror 24/7 for many months. Giving up seemed the only way out. That’s the way it FELT. But through time it started getting a bit easier here and there and then I made a couple of big steps up and then I was finally back to normal. It’s the strangest process, but you will get through it too!

    17. Okay because i feel like i could give up. I was sleeping for 2 months really well and healing. Suddenly the deep fear panic hoeplessness came back and not sleeping again panic all night. I havent changed anything along the way. I cant live this way with the anxiety

    18. I know it feels that way, but you can endure it. It’s absolutely miserable, there’s no doubt about that. But you have to keep in mind your mind and body are trying to get back into balance every minute of every day and it will work through this. The only thing you need to do is have patience and take the best possible care of yourself. I promise you are going to get through this and heal. 100%.

    19. I feel like my entire life was ruined by one dr and one medicine i was doing well for awhile and this is a huge setback and nothing changed food wise or anything! I feel like healing is impossible. And had to start doxycycline today and scared shitless its going to get worse but its the only antibiotic i can take for my infection…..

    20. Everyone who goes through this feels the same way : ( I’m not absolutely certain, but I don’t think doxy affects your mind really. Have faith in your body and mind. Do your best to have an optimistic outlook, you know, in the fake it till you make it sort of way. It will help. Keep re-reading all the posts from people who have healed.. stay steeped in positivity. All this will help immensely.

    21. Hoping someone will respond! Its been 8 weeks since the compazine for a migraine. Still having anxiety/panic, light sensitivity and depersonalization. Im eating well like i always have working out or walking daily, meditating, and its better than 8 weeks ago but i feel like i will never return to normal im a mother of two young kids, i cant drive bc of my vision.

    22. I got compazine 6 weeks ago for a migraine but wasnt even nausea. My life changed in a blink of an eye! My brain is fried panic attacks galore, brain fog, light sensitivity, dizziness, crying spells. I have two young kids i cant drive. I am following alot of advice on your site, eating super clean but i did this anyways, im managing to jog everyday be out in the cali sun, taking probiotics. I had three days were i felt functional then last three back to hell. It feels so permanent and my kids lost their mother and my husband a wife. It feels like permanent damage all from one dose. I dont take any other meds. But did get a uti prob from this damn stress and need to take antibiotics but im terrified its gonna make it worse. How can one dose make you so insane and why is this drug still being used. Can this be permanent for some?

    23. Hi Danielle,

      I’m really sorry you’re going through this. No it won’t be permanent, it just feels that way. I don’t really know how antibiotics affect someone who’s dealing with akathisia. I’m not a doctor so I can’t give any medical advice. Only thing I can tell you (friend to friend) as far as that goes is,, there’s something called UT Answer, it’s a natural syrup (over the counter). It’s the only thing I’ve ever found that works as well, or better than antibiotics for a bladder infection. I know they sell it at some nutrition stores and Sprouts and of course online.

      I’m really sorry for the late reply. I just noticed how old this post is. I had a major computer issue and lost most of everything in my PC and just catching up on emails and all that. Please keep us posted with how you’re doing.

      All my best,
      Angie

    24. I don’t even remember exactly now.. I think I told in my story. Did you read that page? Anyway, I know it was pretty awful for a good 6 months and I was still having weird body symptoms and some lingering anxiety to about the year mark.

  2. I was given Benadryl in the ER to help but they ended up having to sedate me bc it made it so much worse. Is this common? Also my knees have now started to ach and get mottled and blue on the top. Is this part of akathisia?

    1. Sarah,

      I’ve never heard of Benadryl making it worse. Are you sure it was just Benadryl and not some cocktail? Never heard of the knee issue, but the body goes so haywire with akathisia, I figure anything is possible.

      Keep us posted…
      If anyone else has any idea on either topic please feel free to chime in..

      All my best,
      Angie

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