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    • CommentAuthorSunshyne
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2008
    Lori2 asked me whether MCT oil might be helpful for Parkinson's. I knew I'd seen lots of references to Parkinson's while looking into Alzheimer's, but hadn't paid much attention ... so I went back and searched specifically for Parkinson's.

    I have not been able to find any studies involving MCT oil itself, but I have found a number of studies on ketone body infusion, and on raising the serum levels of ketones via calorie restriction or a ketogenic diet. Dr Henderson (Accera) has talked about the potential for using Axona for Parkinson's, but I don't believe they've done any studies yet.

    Now, I sent an email to an author of an interesting review, and he suggested that I contact Jong Rho. He implied that Dr Rho may have some MCT oil data. I have tracked down Dr Rho's email address and sent a plea for help, but he may not be around right now, given the holidays. Also, I suspect that Dr Rho's experience is with a modified version of the ketogenic diet, in which they substitute MCT oil for the saturated fats typically used in the ketogenic diet ... so I don't think the results would be comparable to what we're doing.

    Anyway, while I'm waiting to see if I hear back from him, this is what I found:

    There are many dozens of papers that mention the idea of using dietary protocols that increase serum levels of ketones (such as calorie restriction or the ketogenic diet) to prevent or treat Parkinson's. Growing evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced bioenergetic efficiency occur in brains of patients with Parkinson's (and Alzheimer's). Ketones are efficiently used by mitochondria for ATP generation and may also help protect vulnerable neurons from free radical damage. Certain regions of the Parkinson's brain have a reduced ability to metabolize glucose, whether or not the patients exhibit symptoms of dementia; and ketone bodies can be used by the brain as an alternate source of energy. (The brains of Alzheimer's patients also have defective glucose metabolism.) Therefore, many scientists are beginning to believe that hyperketogenic diets should be evaluated for treating Parkinson's.

    Many studies have been done to elucidate the biological mechanisms that might be involved in Parkinson's pathology and that would respond to ketone body therapy. The vast majority of research in this area has been done on cells, tissue cultures, and animal models, not on human beings.

    These studies have been consistently promising. Following a rise in ketone bodies (due to infusion, calorie restriction, or a ketogenic diet), there is notable improvement in mitochondrial function, a decrease in the expression of apoptotic and inflammatory mediators, and an increase in the activity of neurotrophic factors. However, it is not yet clear which of these mechanisms account for the observed beneficial effects.

    Most of the studies have looked at neuroprotection (preventing Parkinson's) by raising the ketone levels in the presence of a toxin that can produce a Parkinson's syndrome in animals that is indistinguishable from the disease in humans. (One of these toxins actually caused Parkinson's in several people.) A number of animal studies (mice, rats, rhesus monkeys) showed that raised levels of ketone bodies can protect the animals against developing Parkinson's when given simultaneously with the toxin. Similar studies have been done with isolated mitochondrial preparations and cell or tissue culture models, and have had similar results.
    • CommentAuthorSunshyne
    • CommentTimeDec 29th 2008
    stupid site just does NOT like my posts ...

    I found only one study that looked at the effects of treating an animal model (mice) *after* the Parkinson's syndrome had been induced. In this study, an increase in ketone bodies caused by caloric restriction was reported to have beneficial effects:
    Holmer HK, Keyghobadi M, Moore C, Menashe RA, Meshul CK. 2005. Dietary restriction affects striatal glutamate in the MPTP-induced mouse model of nigrostriatal degeneration. Synapse 57(2):100-12.

    There has only been one study on humans, in 2005, and that was very small (5 patients with Parkinson's) and very short (28 days), there were no control (placebo) patients, and the study looked at the ketogenic diet, not MCT oil. Nevertheless, I think the results were very promising. All participating patients reported moderate to very good improvement in symptoms. On average, the patients experienced a mean of 43% reduction in Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale scores after the 28 days on the diet. See:
    Vanitallie TB, Nonas C, Di Rocco A, Boyar K, Hyams K, Heymsfield SB. Treatment of Parkinson disease with diet-induced hyperketonemia: a feasibility study. Neurology 2005;64:728 –730.

    Since there weren't any controls, it is possible that at least some of the improvement was due to "placebo effect." I tend to think that the improvement was strong enough, though, that placebo effects could not account for everything that was seen.

    In theory, MCT oil would mimic the ketogenic diet to some extent, in terms of raising the level of ketone bodies in the blood. However, it should be remembered that the ketogenic diet causes numerous significant changes in the body, so there might be other mechanisms causing the response seen with the ketogenic diet that may not be seen with MCT oil.

    Still ... why not try it? MCT oil appears very safe, from everything that has been reported about it.

    I do want to emphasize something that turned up in my recent reading: Some of the changes that are caused by increased ketone body levels are apparently due to altered gene expression. Ergo, the benefits may take time (weeks, perhaps months) to develop.

    Other items of interest:

    There is growing evidence that ketogenic diets (including, presumably, MCT oil) may be helpful in reducing the frequency and severity of myoclonic jerks. The ketogenic diet was originally developed for treating recalcitrant epilepsy. As above, it appears that the anticonvulsant effect of the ketogenic diet (MCT oil) will develop gradually, and can require weeks to get to the maximum benefit.

    Three papers I found had nothing to do with Parkinson's or seizures ... they showed that a ketogenic diet may be useful in treating malignant brain cancers! Many current therapies work by "poisoning" all cells. They tend to kill more cancerous cells than healthy cells because they are active during cell growth/division, and cancers grow much more rapidly than normal cells. Nevertheless, they do damage healthy cells as well. Brain tumor cells lack metabolic flexibility, and are largely dependent on glucose for growth and survival. Normal brain cells, on the other hand, can metabolize both glucose and ketone bodies for energy. (1) In two of the papers, mice were implanted with a malignant mouse astrocytoma (CT-2A) or a human malignant glioma (U87-MG). They were then fed a ketogenic diet. The diet significantly decreased the intracerebral growth of the tumors (by as much as 80%), and significantly enhanced health and survival relative to that of the control groups receiving the standard low fat/high carbohydrate diet. (2) In the third paper, a ketogenic diet was reported to have decreased the tumor size in 2 patients with astrocytomas.
    (1) Seyfried TN, Sanderson TM, El-Abbadi MM, McGowan R, Mukherjee P. 2003. Role of glucose and ketone bodies in the metabolic control of experimental brain cancer. Br J Cancer 89 :1375 –1382. Zhou W, Mukherjee P, Kiebish MA, Markis WT, Mantis JG, Seyfried TN. 2007. The calorically restricted ketogenic diet, an effective alternative therapy for malignant brain cancer. Nutr Metab (Lond) 4:5.
    (2) Nebeling LC, Miraldi F, Shurin SB, Lerner E. 1995. Effects of a ketogenic diet on tumor metabolism and nutritional status in pediatric oncology patients: two case reports. J Am Coll Nutr 14 :202 –208
    Sunshyne, Thank you so much for the effort you have put into this. I will take a bottle of MCT oil over to my friend tomorrow along with some info for them to read. Since her Parkinson meds aren't working well anymore, they are open to trying alternative things. Nothing has helped so far, but they keep trying. You never know what might help and it doesn't hurt to try.

    • CommentAuthordivvi*
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2008
    Thanks Sunshyne, the info on Mjerks is hopeful. iwas debating of getting the MCT oil from the website you listed but now will definately order some! if nothing else to test the Mjerks situation.. Divvi
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2008
    Are you saying that a high protein diet is beneficial such as Dr. Ackins diet?
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2008
    I'm sorry Dr. Adkins?
    • CommentAuthorSunshyne
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2008 edited
    Nancy, ketogenic diets such as the Atkins diet are low-carbohydrate diets. In theory, since the body doesn't get enough carbohydrates to produce glucose, it has to start utilizing fats to produce ketone bodies. So most of the calories in the diet come from fats, and some from protein. And yes, the Atkin diet induces a mild ketosis, which generates ketone bodies an alternative energy source for the brain. The "modified" Atkins diet has been successfully used with epilepsy patients. It allows more carbohydrates -- 15 grams -- and protein, doesn't limit fluids and calories, and has no fasting period. See:

    I have seen recommendations to use MCTs along with the Atkins' program for epilepsy patients, so that they can "more rapidly obtain benefits and more easily adhere to the program."

    A ketogenic diet, including the Atkins diet, can be difficult to adhere to. There are also concerns over the health effects from long-term use. The body needs carbohydrates, just as it needs fats and protein, for efficient and healthy functioning. Also, fruits and veggies contain many other nutrients that are not readily available from other sources.

    Moreover, the body is coerced into producing ketone bodies by removing the usual sources for the production of glucose. Glucose is a normal energy source for the brain. I do wonder what it might do, in the long run, to starve the brain for glucose, even if you do provide ketone bodies. Those are two entirely different metabolic pathways. And there have, after all, been recent studies that indicated glucose starvation can trigger AD.

    So if you can induce the production of enough ketone bodies to control seizures by adding MCT oil to a balanced, healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, I would think you'd be in much better shape.
    • CommentAuthordivvi*
    • CommentTimeApr 11th 2009
    Regarding input @MCT OIL..-Sunshyne has offered countless articles about how MCT oil based products may be helpful for AD and other diseases. you can also go to Coconut Oil topic and it has hundreds of posts about this topic as well. many of the members here are using MCT oil/ and or virgen coconut oil already for our loved ones with success at sunshynes suggestion after reading mr mary newport's reports. Divvi
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2010
    Has anyone tried MCT oil for control of myoclonic jerks. Dosage? My DH has been experiencing strong jerks lately. They really make him mad!
    • CommentAuthorAdmin
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2010

    I brought to the top for you the discussion on myoclonic jerks - "jerkening/stiffening". Keppra and neurontin were two of the drugs used.

    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2010
    My husband does it during the night. He says he doesn't know he does, but I have to sleep with my back to him. Once getting hit in the face was 'shame on him'. Twice was 'shame on me'. So far there has been none during the daytime. Seems to be the first couple hours after going to sleep.
    • CommentAuthordivvi*
    • CommentTimeApr 16th 2010
    for audrey.
    • CommentAuthordeb42657
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2010
    My DH has the myoclonus and when I told the dr. that he is having these symptoms he said that he might have Parkinson's I have just started to research Parkinson's so I don't know that much about it but what I have found is that Parkinson's and dementia are more closely related than I thought.
    My wife has whole body jerks
    at night sometimes, and often in the morning, violent enough that she can fall. I get her to sit at the table in the morning and loosely tie her in her chair, this let's me go about my morning routine, if she trys to get up I will notice and can then encourage her to stay. To minimize spills, I give her a half and half mixture of orange juice and water in a 1/2 pint plastic liquor bottle. I can get her to drink 2 sometimes 3.

    For now, (about 4 months) it has basically stopped the jerks, I encourage her to drink all day.

    My theory is that at night she gets hot and does not know to remove covers and she sweats, sometimes a lot! Thus she needs to replenish fluid. She will not drink water, thus the juice, is it the fluid or sugar in the juice, who knows!
    Larry ........... Has your wife been diagnosed with a dementia type ailment ?
    I've never heard of whole body jerks. Tell us more and maybe we can offer
    some suggestions.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2018
    Glad the fluids are helping. Many of us won't drink water or at least unless it is flavored.

    For chair, I would consider getting a wheel chair that is less apt to tip and also would be easier to strap her in. They have a harness you can put on them that you tie around the back of the chair. The ones I used in the 70s when I worked in a hospital looked like they were wearing an apron.