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Fish for Parkinson's

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Protein in fish prevents buildup of Parkinson's protein

One million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system that slowly results in tremors, balance problems and limb rigidity. While it’s not life threatening, the advanced stages may be debilitating. According to Parkinson.org, men are 1.5 times more likely to have the disease than women.

Though the cause remains unknown, a study published in Scientific Reports, suggests that eating fish could actually prevent Parkinson’s disease. Researchers learned that parvalbumin, a protein found to be in many fish species, helps to reduce the buildup of protein amyloids that cause the disease. What are amyloids?  They are protein structures that form when amino acids fold up and tangle with other proteins in the body.  As a result they can damage neurons in the brain, resulting in a variety of conditions.  In the case of Parkinson’s, parvalbumin binds with the specific alpha-synuclein proteins, aka “Parkinson’s proteins” and prevents them from building up and causing damage.

Many of the fish found at your local fish counter are high in parvalbumin. Think herring, cod, carp, and redfish, including sockeye salmon and red snapper, but it is common in many other fish species too.  PhD student and lead researcher Tony Werner shared that “Among those who follow a Mediterranean diet, with more fish, one sees lower rates of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s”.

Other dietary and lifestyle changes have been associated with lower risk of Parkinson’s too, such as drinking black tea and exercising, as well as enjoying certain juices to reduce inflammation.

Published August 1, 2018

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