I have been diagnosed with Parkinsons during the 2020 covid restrictions and during the phone call consultation was advised to look at Intermittent Fasting. How should I interpret this please? There seem to be several types on the web. Any advice would be welcome. Thank you.
Hi Clive, and welcome to our Forum community. Before our lovely group of PWP, family and carers weigh in with their invaluable experiences, we wanted to make sure you are aware that you can search our website at Parkinsons.org.uk for all sorts of information on diet, including fasting. And of course you can call us free and confidentially at 0808 800 0303. We’re happy to have you here, so please fee comfortable and welcome.
Clive…just my advice. Ask for the science that backed up that suggestion before action is taken. Pure periodic fasting has no specific benefit that I’ve read about…yes I see info on balanced, fibre/ veggie/Mediterranean type rich diets, and regulated,low protein…but simply fasting…well I’d like to have the science first
Thank you for your advice. I found the telephone consultation (at the early stage of my diagnosis) left me wondering how to tackle the suggestions made without the ability to then think things through properly, and get questions answered. I feel as though I am trapped in a maze knowing there was a way in but then unsure how to proceed.
We live in difficult times for everyone.
Please don’t feel pressured into making swift decisions unless you are happy with what you are choosing to do. You don’t say exactly when you got your diagnosis but since you say during the covid restrictions even if in the early days it is not overlong. What you are finding or beginning to understsnd is something of a hallmark in Parkinson’s ie there doesn’t seem to be a simple answer to anything and there is a lot of truth in that. It is a complex condition which affects everyone differently so we can only recount our experiences for others to take on board or not as they will. For most too it is slow moving so that buys you a bit of time to find out what you want to know to enable you to make an informed decision that is right for you. With regard to your question on diet the logical place to start it seems to me is to go back to whoever originally suggested it and ask them why this is being suggested, what evidence supports it (if that’s what you want to know) how to introduce it and so on. From that starting point you should be able to search more if you need. Although there is progress being made in understanding Parkinson’s as things stand today there is no definitive test to diagnose the condition and treatment in simple terms is symptom control which gives rise to a whole raft of suggestions, theories and 101other things out forward by all sorts. That in itself is not an issue but you are right to question what you don’t understand and I would apply that across the board. At the end of the day it is you who has the Parkinson’s and you who lives with it, it is therefore important that you understand any suggestions made and are comfortable with your decisions. Take a bit of time to sort out what you think and feel about intermittent diets and how to introduce it if you so wish. Good luck. I wish you well.
Thanks for your comments.
I think the problem arose because I had initially sought help for ongoing Sciatica and Osteoarthritis, which had become worse following a slight accident in the garden. This saw me seeing a consultant at Benenden Hospital which is private. They suspected something else was going on and I went on to see their Neurology consultant who quickly diagnosed me as having the symptoms of the early stages of Parkinsons (impaired movement, thought etc) - early September last year. After being put on Sinemet and having an MRI brain scan I was also put on Rasagaline and told that I needed to transfer back into the NHS system for future support and monitoring and access to a Parkinson’s nurse.
This was achieved after some dialog with our surgery, and I received the telephone appointment with our local Neurology department. I had prepared for this but was quickly taken ‘off piste’ with questions about why did I have an appointment, and why hadn’t I forwarded them my letters from Benenden (didn’t know I had to). This was followed by an insistence that I answer the questions they had for me which caused me to become confused and loose where I was and wanted to ask. There was then a quick sum up listing the points I needed to take account of ;- amount of daily exercise, try to avoid caffeine, don’t drink teas and coffees after 6.0p.m, try Tai Chi and investigate Intermittent Fasting. My next appointment would be in 9 months and the Parkinson’s nurse would contact me in some weeks time. This would all be put in a letter to me, but it would take some weeks for it to arrive, so look into those things in the meantime!
Sorry I have summarised as best I can.
Parkinson’s is, as you know, trial and error game; everywhere exceptions that just confirm the rules… hence I agree with you: observing, questioning and double-checking is absolutely the right thing to do. There were so many things related to my Parkinson’s so far that I’ve been told to do or take, many of those didn’t do me any good, on the contrary.
Now to your question: I tried different kinds of fasting: full fasting for 7 days, intermittent fasting 8/16 (8 hours per day eating, 16 hours fasting - every day) and 1 day (24 hrs) fasting per week. All of them worked for me i.e. I felt better - more energized and dynamic, less stiff, and my sleep got better. Although I don’t know the exact science behind it, from what I understand, any kind of break or purification for our vital organs and our body in general helps our body to regenerate. It did help me.
Having said that, there is always an issue with the practicability. Daily intermittent fasting worked best for me, but not for my family and friends (yes, the social pressure was too stressful for me!), so I switched to a once-per-week scheme. Good thing though is you can always try it for a few days or weeks, and if it doesn’t work or you don’t like it you can just stop; your condition will not worsen.
Thank you Koru for your helpful comments and suggestions. I will give it a go. As you say what have I got to loose.