|At its current rate, Parkinson's disease strikes one in every 100 people over the age of 65. Almost every human suffers Parkinson's-like symptoms as they age. Methylcobalamin may help to prevent Parkinson's disease and slow the progression in those who already have it. Here's how: |
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls motor functions. Dopamine transmits messages through different regions of the brain and along nerve pathways in order to coordinate muscle movement.
Proper dopamine metabolism also is required to maintain a state of psychological well-being. Aging humans suffer a progressive disruption of dopamine metabolism that can cause muscle weakness, loss of coordination, and depression. Parkinson's disease is caused by the premature destruction of specialized brain cells that produce dopamine.
When 80 percent of dopamine-producing brain cells have died, Parkinson's disease is usually diagnosed. It is therefore desirable to protect dopamine-producing brain cells and maintain youthful dopamine metabolism throughout life.
Dopamine is formed from the amino acid L-dopa. The more L-dopa that enters the brain, the more dopamine is produced, but the problem is that L-dopa itself is toxic to brain cells and is a direct cause of cell death.
The mechanism of L-dopa toxicity is excessive release of glutamate from neurons (Brain Research 1997 Oct 10; 771: 159-162), which injures and kills brain cells. This could be why the drug Sinemet, which provides significant amounts of L-dopa to the brain, only works for several years before its effects wear off and the Parkinson's patient deteriorates rapidly.
The types of brain cells that are most vulnerable to glutamate-induced toxicity are the very cells involved in dopamine metabolism and neural-motor control. Methylcobalamin has been shown specifically to protect against glutamate- induced neural toxicity caused by L-dopa.
This means that supplementation with methylcobalamin could protect thos patients with Parkinson's disease from glutamate-induced toxicity caused by the high amount of L-dopa they are putting into their brains by taking Sinemet. If brain cells that control motor function were protected against L-dopa-induced glutamate toxicity, it could mean that Parkinson's patients who take methylcobalamin could continue benefitting from the dopamine-enhancing effects of Sinemet for a much longer period of time.
Late-stage Parkinson's patients for whom Sinemet therapy no longer works may have already suffered too much glutamate-induced brain cell damage to benefit from methylcobalamin. The Parkinson's patients who are still benefitting from Sinemet may be able to protect their striatal neurons by taking 5 to 20 mg a day of methylcobalamin sublingually (under the tongue), along with Sinemet.
(Additional therapies are outlined in the Foundation's Parkinson's Disease Protocol. Call the Foundation at 1-800-544-4440 for a free copy, or refer to the Foundation's book, Disease Prevention and Treatment Protocols.
The combination of methylcobalamin and Sinemet therapy could be a medical breakthrough, but this can only be proven by controlled studies. Today's Parkinson's patients cannot wait for the completion of clinical studies and may want to start sublingual intake of 5 to 20 mg a day of methylcobalamin immediately.
For Parkinson's disease prevention, 1 to 5 mg a day of sublingually administered methylcobalamin may be sufficient.