Study: Dietary Agent Prevents Neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s Disease

According to Parkinson’s News Today, researchers have created a silicon-based antioxidant agent that can be supplemented into the diet to prevent neurodegeneration and issues with coordination and motor skills associated with Parkinson’s disease. Using animal models, researchers were able to see that this agent can stop the progression of the disease.

About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It is characterized by its effect on movement through five different stages. As the disease progresses, severity increases. Stage one is characterized by subtle tremors on one side of the body. In stage two symptoms are more noticeable, with tremors and rigidity on both sides of the body. Stage three brings loss of balance and slow movement, while stage four makes it impossible for one to live independently. Stage five is the most severe, as patients cannot stand or walk. Hallucinations and delusions are common symptoms of this stage.

Parkinson’s disease occurs due to the death of motor neurons, some of which produce dopamine. Dopamine is important in the transmittance of messages to the muscles from the brain, so the loss of dopamine results in the loss of motor functions. Abnormal brain activity occurs when these neurons are lost. Doctors do not know why these motor neurons die, but they do suspect a few factors that play a role, such as genetics, environmental factors like toxins, and Lewy bodies. There are no FDA approved therapies for Parkinson’s, and treatment is symptomatic. Treatment options include dopamine substitutes, carbidopa-levodopa, MAO-B inhibitors, catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors, anticholinergics, and amantadine.

About the Dietary Agent

This agent is meant to combat oxidative stress, which occurs when reactive oxygen species (ROS) are being produced at a level that is too high for them to be cleared by antioxidants. Oxidative stress plays a role in Parkinson’s, as well as other conditions like diabetes, kidney failure, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. This information makes researchers hopeful that this treatment will be effective for those conditions as well.

Knowing that oxidative stress contributes to the death of the neurons that produce dopamine, researchers wanted to create a treatment that would eliminate the most damaging ROS, specifically hydroxyl. They found that hydrogen reacts with the dangerous hydroxyl, forcing it to diffuse. This knowledge led them to create various forms of treatments that utilize hydrogen, such as inhalants, liquids, or injections. Unfortunately, they all showed limited results.

Their newest effort, a dietary silicon-based antioxidant agent, has shown to be successful in animal models. A mouse model of Parkinson’s was given the dietary agent, and saw less death of dopaminergic neurons, better coordination, and less impairments of motor functions.

A rat model of chronic kidney disease was also given the dietary agent, which saw positive results as well. This information is very exciting to researchers, as this treatment may be able to better the lives of those with a variety of conditions.

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