Relaxation Tips for Those With Essential Tremor
In some people, too much stress simply results in irritability. In other people, too much stress can cause or worsen health problems, including Essential Tremor. Learning to relax is the key to reducing stress.
Below are a few relaxation exercises. Be sure that you have a quiet location that is free of distractions. Make sure that you are in a comfortable body position and a good state of mind. Try to block out worries and distracting thoughts.
WebMD Medical Reference
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Essential Tremor."
International Essential Tremor Foundation: "Support Group Leader Training Guide."
Pal, P. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, July 2011.
Medscape: "Essential Tremor: A Clinical Review: Approaches to Treatment."
Reviewed by Neil Lava, MD on September 20, 2014
Exercise can benefit Essential Tremor, Dystonia & Parkinson's.
Every Victory Counts: Exercise and Parkinson's (Part 2 of 12)
Davis Phinney Foundation
Uploaded on Mar 23, 2011
What are the benefits of exercise for people with Parkinson's disease?
This is an article by Deane Alban on brain supplements. I do agree with talking Vitamin B12, not sure about all the rest. Let me know what you think.
Top 10 Brain Supplements for a Mental Edge
By Deane Alban
These brain supplements help improve memory, mood, clarity and focus and protect against mental decline, depression, anxiety and dementia.
There are literally thousands of supplements marketed as “brain supplements.”
And research has shown that taking the right supplements can help your brain now and protect against mental decline in the future.
But which ones haven been proven to work and which are a waste of money?
The top three supplements on our list are fundamental nutritional building blocks — often missing in even a healthy diet — that every brain needs.
Deficiency of any of these can cause both major cognitive problems and significant health issues. And experts agree that deficiencies of all three are rampant.
After that, the list gets a little more subjective … and a lot more interesting. After all, there are hundreds of individual nutrients — vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and phytonutrients — to choose from.
After spending hundreds of hours of research and years of personal experience in the natural health industry, we’ve come up with this list of the best brain supplements.
#1 DHADocosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is an omega-3 essential fatty acid that is the major building block of the brain. It is crucial to brain function and the nervous system.
Deficiency has been linked to many brain problems and psychiatric disorders. The Harvard School of Public Health states that 99% of the population is omega-3 deficient and that there is an unrecognized deficiency of epidemic proportions.
It’s widely agreed that taking an essential fatty acid supplement, specifically DHA, is one of the best things you can do for your brain. Memory loss, depression, mood swings, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and attention deficit disorder have all been found to improve with DHA supplementation.
►BioTrust OmegaKrill 5X | Combination of fish and krill oil omega-3 fatty acids for brain health
►Omega-3 Supplements on Amazon
It’s almost impossible to get enough DHA through diet alone (it’s found mainly in wild salmon and some seed oils), so you should definitely consider taking a supplement.
If I was going to a desert island and could only take one supplement with me, this would be it!
A Tufts University study found that elderly people with higher levels of DHA are 47% less likely to develop dementia and 39% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s as people with low levels of DHA.
#2 Vitamin DAlong with DHA, vitamin D is close to being nature’s cure-all. It can lift your mood, banish depression,improve memory, and increase problem-solving ability. (3)
Having adequate levels has been found to be protective against certain kinds of cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. It is essential to maintaining bone density and thus preventing osteoporosis and life-threatening hip fractures.
If you think you get enough of this vitamin, don’t be so certain! It is estimated that anywhere from 40% to 90% of US adults are vitamin D-deficient and that over 1 billion people are deficient worldwide.
Even though it’s known as one of the essential brain vitamins, Vitamin D actually isn’t a vitamin at all — it’s a hormone. Sun exposure is the best source, but few people who live in North America can realistically get the sun they need year round. Most people need to supplement.
#3 Vitamin B12
If your memory isn’t what it used to be or you’re in a constant state of brain fog, you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
This is the most common vitamin deficiency in the US, particularly among seniors who often have poor absorption. People who eat little or no meat are particularly at risk, since animal foods are the only dependable sources of B12.
If you suspect you are deficient, have your level checked. If it’s low, vitamin B12 supplements can bring your levels back to normal quickly.
You want to get this under control now. There is a strong correlation between dementia and Alzheimer’s and vitamin B12 deficiency.
An Oxford University study found that three B vitamins — folic acid, B6 and B12 — when taken together prevent mental decline, dementia, and may even be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s by reducing levels of homocysteine.
►Wellness Resources Super Coenzyme B-Complex | B-complex vitamins work together to support brain health
Proper balance between the various B vitamins is important so we recommended you take a B complex supplement for the long term instead of taking B vitamins separately.
#4 AntioxidantsYour brain uses a disproportionate amount of oxygen — about 20% of the body’s total. This makes it highly susceptible to free radical damage.
This makes antioxidants critical brain boosters. They protect brain cells by neutralizing free radical damage and preventing premature brain cell aging.
Antioxidants are almost exclusively found in plant foods with various berries being at the top of the list. Unless you’re eating the recommended 9 servings of fruit and vegetables daily, you almost certainly aren’t getting enough antioxidants to support brain health.
There are two excellent reasons to take an antioxidant supplement instead of relying on diet alone.
First, the best antioxidant sources aren’t foods that most people eat on a daily basis.
Next, supplements contain highly concentrated extracts to give you more antioxidant power than you could possibly get from diet alone.
Anthocyanins, the antioxidants found in berries, have been found to be particularly protective for the brain.
#5 VinpocetineVinpocetine, derived from the periwinkle plant, improves memory, reaction time, and overall mental well-being.
It works by increasing blood flow to the brain, enhancing the brain’s use of oxygen, and protecting the brain from free radical damage. It is these qualities that make vinpocetine promising as a treatment for Alzheimer’s.
►Wellness Resources Super Brain Booster | Supports better memory, focus and mood with acetyl-l-tyrosine, alpha GPC, vinpocetine and bacopa
Vinpocetine has only recently become available in the US. It is very popular in Europe and Japan where it’s available only by prescription.
Doctors in Europe believe it is far more effective than ginkgo biloba, which is widely promoted as one of the best brain supplements.
#6 Alpha GPCL-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, commonly called alpha GPC, is a more bioavailable form of choline, a B complex-related nutrient vital to brain development and necessary for healthy brain cell membranes. One big benefit of alpha GPC over choline is that it more easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.
Alpha GPC shows promise as a potential Alzheimer’s treatment and is used to enhance memory and cognition. It helps form acetylcholine, the primary neurotransmitter involved with memory and learning.
#7 Bacopa MonnieriBacopa monnieri is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal brain supplement that has been used for thousands of years to enhance memory, learning, andconcentration.
It also has a calming effect and has been used to treat anxiety, deal with stress, and promote better sleep.
It promotes formation of the anti-stress neurotransmitter GABA.
There haven’t been a lot of studies done on this herb, so many of the purported benefits are more a matter of herbalist tradition than modern science.
#8 Huperzine AScientists have isolated a compound in Chinese club moss that helps with dementia, depression, memory loss, and anxiety.
This alkaloid, huperzine A, works by blocking a brain enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is important for learning, memory and other brain functions.
It contains an active ingredient very similar to the popular Alzheimer’s drug, Aricept.
#9 Acetyl-l-Carnitine (ALC)ALC is an amino acid that acts as another powerful antioxidant. Research has found that it can improve mental clarity, focus, mood, and memory and has a strong anti-aging effect on the brain.
►Wellness Resources Acetyl-l-Carnitine | Helps boost mental energy, memory and stress tolerance
It also has been shown to boost the brain’s processing speed. This brain health supplement has been shown to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease by protecting brain cells from toxins and oxygen deprivation.
#10 Ginkgo bilobaGinkgo is one of the most widely used herbals remedies in the world. It is used for a variety of brain-related problems — poor concentration, forgetfulness, headaches, fatigue, mental confusion, depression, and anxiety. Many multi-ingredient supplements for brain health contain ginkgo biloba.
►Native Remedies MemoRise | Herbal supplement helps improve memory and cognitive function
The reason I saved this supplement for last is because there is now some controversy about its effectiveness. This popular supplement was proven to not help with memory, language, attention, visuo-spatial judgment or executive function in a large, six-year study.
What About Nootropics and “Smart Drugs”?If you do much research into brain and memory supplements, you’ll eventually come across the terms nootropic and neutraceutical. These words sound impressive, but what do they really mean?
Nootropic is a word originally coined to refer to memory enhancing drugs, but the term is now commonly used in the description of brain tonics to give the impression of enhanced benefits.
Nutraceutical is a term used to imply that a supplement has medical benefits.
There is no regulation of the use of these terms, so when you see them realize it is amarketing ploy that has no real meaning.
Manufacturers who promote their products as such are hoping you don’t know this!
►Native Remedies Focus Formula | Herbal supplement aids concentration, attention and mental focus in all ages
You can expect to pay more for a nootropic than for a comparable supplement with the same ingredients.
“Smart drugs” are brain boosters that supposedly are available only by prescription. But the truly motivated can find ways around this — usually by buying online. They are popular among college students and “brain hackers.”
Read our discussion about the pros and cons of brain enhancing drugs.
Finding the Right Brain SupplementNow that you’ve learned about the best brain supplement ingredients, you probably want to get started.
But buyer beware! We’ve found that the many supplement manufacturers spend a lot more money on marketing than they do on research.
We were surprised to learn how few of these companies have any expertise in brain health.
The specific brands we mention are companies that meet our standards for a good supplement.
Nutrition and Parkinson’s Disease
One of the most common questions is what the best diet is for patients with PD. There is no simple right answer to this question. However, nutrition may be an important factor to improve the health and well being of patients with PD. Many publications support this important issue. Timing your protein intake, diet supplements, are common strategies tried by patients in order to improve their well being. Parkinson’s disease can affect the motility (movement) of the gastrointestinal system. High fiber diet and adequate hydration can help avoiding constipation.
Protein intake can decrease the absorption of Carbidopa/Levodopa. Taking your Carbidopa/Levodopa one hour prior or two hours after protein intake facilitates the absorption of the medication. High protein content is found in meat, chicken, absorption dairy products, fish, pork, tofu, eggs, soymilk, nuts and seeds. High fat intake can also affect the absorption of medications by slowing stomach emptying. With so many restrictions, it can be complicated to ingest the proper amounts of nutrients and caloric intake, to avoid undesired weight loss and nutritional deficiencies. A common nutritional deficiency seen is calcium and vitamin D deficiencies. This can occur because of protein intake is limited; therefore dairy products ingestion is compromised. Calcium and vitamin-fortified cereals, juices or smoothies may facilitate getting the proper amounts. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants that can protect the brain from free radicals. Free radicals are atoms or molecules produced by our body as byproducts, which are linked to cell aging. Vitamin C is a know antioxidant that protects our bodies from free radicals. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a very potent antioxidant produced in the human body. The concentration of CoQ10 decreases with age. Many investigators believe it is low in patients with cancer, heart disease, muscle disease, and PD. Daily use of 400-1200 mg/day of CoQ10 supplements have been studied, and is associated with possible improvement of motor function.
A topic of debate is a gluten free diet. Gluten intolerance can cause GI inflammation, malabsorption and digestive upset. This is the result of an immune system disorder that affects the small intestines known as Celiac disease. This autoimmune disorder can affect the nervous system, causing neuropathy, ataxia (poor coordination), dizziness, and migraine headaches. Some researchers think that gluten sensitivity (even in patients without Celiac disease) could be linked to PD. Although there is no way of knowing with certainty if PD is linked to gluten intolerance, eliminating gluten products from your diet may be a risk-free approach to understand whether you have this problem. Gluten free diet means avoiding wheat, rye, and barley products. Anti gliadin antibody test is a blood test that can help identify this condition. Talk to your doctor about any nutritional concerns that you or your caregiver may have. God bless.
Dr. Baez-Torres is a Movement Disorder Specialist with Florida Hospital. If you would like to make an appointment to see her, contact her office at 407-303-6729
Complementary and Alternative Parkinson's Treatments
While those with Parkinson's disease shouldn't abandon medication for yoga or acupuncture, evidence is mounting that complementary therapies can make the disease more manageable.
People exhibiting Parkinson’s disease symptoms may benefit from complementary and alternative medicine. It's important to keep in mind, however, that unlike some conditions for which it is possible to use complementary and alternative treatments as a substitute
for traditional therapies, Parkinson's disease patients should focus on the “complementary” rather than the “alternative” portion.
Parkinson’s Treatment: Complementary Therapies
“There is pretty much no getting around that Parkinson’s disease patients will need traditional medication eventually,” explains Melanie Brandabur, MD, clinical director of the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center in Sunnyvale, Calif. “A lot of people start off with the idea that they want to avoid pharmaceuticals but that isn’t possible in the long term.”
The reason it’s not possible to eliminate traditional Parkinson’s treatment is because a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease means that an important chemical, dopamine, is missing in the brain. The only long-term solution to manage Parkinson’s disease symptoms is to replace the lost dopamine levels through the administration of the drug levodopa (Dopar, Larodopa), also known as L-Dopa.
For people who are looking to complement their levodopa regimens, there are a variety of complementary therapies that can help with the management of Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
Parkinson’s Treatment: Acupuncture and Massage Therapy
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical treatment that is used to promote good health by stimulating certain points on the body. Although there haven’t yet been any major breakthroughs regarding acupuncture and Parkinson’s, acupuncture has been shown to help offset some Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Dr. Brandabur notes that she's talked to patients who say acupuncture helps with the involuntary movements common to Parkinson's and relieves tremors and muscle stiffness.
Another form of bodywork that has brought relief to patients in Brandabur’s clinic is massage therapy. She says it can be very helpful in alleviating Parkinson’s disease symptoms like muscle rigidity and soreness.
Nutraceuticals and Supplements as Part of Parkinson’s Treatment
Current studies are examining the potential benefits of Coenzyme Q10 and creatine in Parkinson’s disease. Coenzyme Q10 and creatine are substances that are important to energy, metabolism, and muscle function. They are called nutraceuticals — food or supplement products made up of nutritional extracts.
Though not everyone with Parkinson’s will see an improvement in symptoms, "when people want to take these supplements, I tell them that there is at least safety data and some science that suggests that they might work,” says Brandabur. Still, studies are in the early stages and it’s not yet known whether these supplements can actually modify the disease.
Vitamin B-12 is another supplement that has been looked at more extensively. Many older people have B-12 deficiencies because their stomachs don’t make enough acid to absorb it, explains Brandabur. Since vitamin B-12 has been shown to play an important role in brain and spinal cord health, many patients may benefit from taking a B-12 supplement in addition to their Parkinson’s medication.
Diet as a Part of Parkinson’s Treatment
Another method of increasing vitamin B-12 levels is through diet. Since animal protein is the main source of B-12, vegetarians need to be especially diligent about incorporating foods that are rich in B-12, such as fortified cereal, into their diets. Fruits and vegetables, full of antioxidants, and fish (such as herring, salmon, and mackerel) rich in omega-3 fatty acids, are also important for the Parkinson’s disease patient. “We don’t completely understand the mechanism of disease in Parkinson’s, but it seems reasonable to assume that things that are helpful to the brain, like antioxidants and omega-3s, will be beneficial,” observes Brandabur.
Parkinson’s Treatment: Yoga, Tai Chi, and Meditation
Much attention has been paid to the effects of physical activity on Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Brandabur feels that exercise, including yoga and tai chi, is highly beneficial. “In my practice, exercise is the cornerstone of therapy,” notes Brandabur. “Patients who exercise do much better than those who don’t.”
Parkinson’s disease symptoms, like those of other chronic diseases, are aggravated by stress. One stress reliever, meditation — involving deep, focused breathing — can be very helpful.
Traditional medication is still the gold standard in Parkinson’s treatment, but complementary therapies are being recognized for their role in enhancing overall quality of life for people dealing with Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Just be sure that you discuss these therapies with your Parkinson's care team before you try them.
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