Why Some Dairy Products are More Closely Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Each year in the United States, approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed, bringing the total number of current cases up to about a million, with tens of thousands of people dying from the disease every year. The dietary component most often implicated is milk, as I discuss in my video Could Lactose Explain the Milk and Parkinson’s Disease Link?, and contamination of milk by neurotoxins has been considered the “only possible explanation.” High levels of organochlorine pesticide residues have been found in milk, as well as in the most affected areas in the brains of Parkinson’s victims on autopsy. Pesticides in milk have been found around the world, so perhaps the dairy industry should require toxin screenings of milk. In fact, inexpensive, sensitive, portable tests are now available with no false positives and no false negatives, providing rapid detection of highly toxic pesticides in milk. Now, we just have to convince the dairy industry to actually do it.

Others are not as convinced of the pesticide link. “Despite clear-cut associations between milk intake and PD [Parkinson’s disease] incidence, there is no rational explanation for milk being a risk factor for PD.” If it were the pesticides present in milk that could accumulate in the brain, we would assume that the pesticides would build up in the fat. However, the link between skimmed milk and Parkinson’s is just as strong. So, researchers have suggested reverse causation: The milk didn’t cause Parkinson’s; the Parkinson’s caused the milk. Parkinson’s makes some people depressed, they reasoned, and depressed people may drink more milk. As such, they suggested we shouldn’t limit dairy intake for people with Parkinson’s, especially because they are so susceptible to hip fractures. But we now know that milk doesn’t appear to protect against hip fractures after all and may actually increase the risk of both bone fractures and death. (For more on this, see my video Is Milk Good for Our Bones?.) Ironically, this may offer a clue as to what’s going on in Parkinson’s, but first, let’s look at this reverse causation argument: Did milk lead to Parkinson’s, or did Parkinson’s lead to milk?

What are needed are prospective cohort studies in which milk consumption is measured first and people are followed over time, and such studies still found a significant increase in risk associated with dairy intake. The risk increased by 17 percent for every small glass of milk a day and 13 percent for every daily half slice of cheese. Again, the standard explanation is that the risk is from all the pesticides and other neurotoxins in dairy, but that doesn’t explain why there’s more risk attached to some dairy products than others. Pesticide residues are found in all dairy products, so why should milk be associated with Parkinson’s more than cheese is? Besides the pesticides themselves, there are other neurotoxic contaminants in milk, like tetrahydroisoquinolines, found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease, but there are higher levels of these in cheese than in milk, though people may drink more milk than eat cheese.

The relationship between dairy and Huntington’s disease appears similar. Huntington’s is a horrible degenerative brain disease that runs in families and whose early onset may be doubled by dairy consumption, but again, this may be more milk consumption than cheese consumption, which brings us back to the clue in the more-milk-more-mortality study.

Anytime we hear disease risks associated with more milk than cheese—more oxidative stress and inflammation—we should think galactose, the milk sugar rather than the milk fat, protein, or pesticides. That’s why we think milk drinkers specifically appeared to have a higher risk of bone fractures and death, which may explain the neurodegeneration findings, too. Not only do rare individuals with an inability to detoxify the galactose found in milk suffer damage to their bones, but they also exhibit damage to their brains.


Other than avoiding dairy products, what can we do to reduce our risk of Parkinson’s? See Is Something in Tobacco Protective Against Parkinson’s Disease?and Peppers and Parkinson’s: The Benefits of Smoking Without the Risks?.

You may also be interested in my videos Treating Parkinson’s Disease with Dietand Parkinson’s Disease and the Uric Acid Sweet Spot.

For the effect of foods on another neurodegenerative disease that affects our ability to move normally, see ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease): Fishing for Answersand Diet and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Written By 

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

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Healthy Start to Your Day

Quick oats!

What do you start your day off with? For me it’s sometimes a green smoothie, an almond butter toast with flaxseeds and chia seed toppings. Today, it’s my oatmeal. Midway through devouring my breakfast, I just had to snap a picture and blog about it. This was so simple to make. It didn’t require any frying. I literally just added hot water and waited 10 minutes. Then I topped it with cinnamon, ground up flaxseeds, blueberries, blackberries and half of a banana. This is what a healthy breakfast should look like. People often say, “oatmeal is boring!” I could see that, but then you should jazz it up. Be creative! Add cocoa nibs, which are cocoa bean pieces with nothing added to them. This would be for those chocolate lovers. Shredded coconuts and raisins are delicious too, or even some nuts. I added bananas for some sweetness because I don’t use sugars.

I think oatmeal is one of the healthiest most nutritious meal you can start your day off with. It’s packed with so many vitamins, fiber, and minerals. It’s also cheap, and easy to prepare. If you were to have a cup of basic quick oats everyday, it would cost you $.043. Can’t beat that!

Tell me what you think!

Enjoy & Eat Organic for Life!

Government Shutdown Curtails F.D.A. Food Inspections

Government Shutdown Curtails F.D.A. Food Inspections

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has stopped routine food safety inspections of seafood, fruits, vegetables and many other foods at high risk of contamination because of the federal government’s shutdown, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the agency’s commissioner, said on Wednesday.

— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/health/shutdown-fda-food-inspections.amp.html

Cranberries for Urinary and Prostate Health

Did you know that urinary tract infections or diseases affect both women and men? UTI’s can put men at risk for prostate illness as well. The British Journal of Nutrition recently published a study where research followed 42 men with lower urinary tract disease. They found that the men also had elevated PSA and non-bacterial prostatitis. The researchers assigned the men to take either a supplement with 1,500 mg per day of dried powdered cranberries or a placebo.

The researchers tracked the men for six months while they took either a powdered cranberry supplement of 1,500 mg a day or a placebo, and then evaluated them with the International Prostate Symptom Score. This test evaluates urination, average flow, total volume, and post-void residual volume. The men taking cranberry showed significant improvement. There was no improvement in the control group. It makes common sense that if cranberries help wipe out UTI’s, it’s responsible that they would also help your prostate as well. Also, the men who took the cranberry supplement experienced lower PSA levels. It is likely that one will have to take 1,500 mg of dried cranberry powder in order to have effective results as did the men in this study, a dose that is easily obtainable both in health stores and online.

There are many ways to incorporate cranberries into your diet. It’s not just an American traditional Thanksgiving side dish. Cranberries can be added at any time throughout the year. Dried cranberries especially are delicious in salads and baked goods. Swap out your usual raisins for cranberries. Another way to incorporate cranberries into your daily diet is by adding them to smoothies. Frozen cranberries are available all year round. both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. It’s also worth noting that cranberries are a very good source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin E, two pivotal antioxidant nutrients. And in addition, they are a very good source of the mineral manganese, which is needed for proper function of some forms of the enzyme superoxide dismutase.

How do you incorporate cranberries in your diet? Please share…

Source: “The effectiveness of dried cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) in men with lower urinary tract symptoms,” Vidlar A, Simanek V, et al, Br J Nutr, 2010; 104(8): 1181-9.

Reasons to Eat More Walnuts

The simple walnut offers a wide list of benefits. For starters, a new study shows that eating whole walnuts or walnut oil can slow prostate cancer growth.  But if you need more reasons than this, maybe the following reasons may persuade you to add these delicious nuts into your diet.

A large study at Harvard found that people who ate a handful of nuts every day were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause in a thirty-year period.

• English walnuts decrease cardiovascular risk by decreasing LDL and total cholesterol.

• Walnuts help control weight.

• They help control insulin in diabetics.

• Eating walnuts increases male fertility.

• Walnuts enhance cognitive function and improve thinking ability.

• Eating walnuts has been shown to suppress breast cancer tumors, perhaps from their omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols.

• They have also been shown to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer by decreasing angiogenesis.

• Walnuts are a source of highly potent, high-quality antioxidants.

• Ellagic acid, a major polyphenol found in walnuts, has remarkable bone-building activity at the cellular level.

• Eating walnuts and walnut oil can reduce the stress response and lower the resulting blood pressure.

Just a quarter cup of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of omega-3 fats as well as providing copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin. It’s better to buy walnuts raw and organic to avoid those that are irradiated and pasteurized.

—Adapted from “13 Healthy Reasons to Eat More Walnuts” by Margie King, at http://greenmedinfo.com

Summer Tomatoes

Growing your own food is such a rewarding feeling because I’m in charge of the whole process. My food is healthy, fresh, and pesticide free. I have full control over everything, especially on the kind of fertilizers and lest control I use. Everything is done organically. There’s nothing like fresh picked vegetables. Food that ripens in my garden have more nutrients than many store-bought vegetables that must be picked early for shipping. The process has been quite easy with some minor bumps in the road. I do research and watch some ‘How to Videos’, because I’m not an expert and I want to get it right hopefully the first time.

I’m so proud of my tomato crop this year. I made sure I planted just the right mixture of just what I need. OMG! Last year I planted too many cherry tomatoes. They were over producing and I wasn’t pruning. It was a little disaster in the garden, and I was overwhelmed by cherry tomatoes. I ended up giving most of them away. This year I have all sorts of varieties for various different needs. Since the cherry tomatoes are my daughters favorite, I only planted one. As they ripen, she picks them and eats them like gum balls. Usually there’s none left for anyone else. That reminds me, I still have cherry tomatoes in the freezer from last year.

The picture above are my The Jersey Beefsteak. This variety is one of my favorite tomato’s to grow because they grow pretty large and the flavor is sweet with a little tart. I make a really nice tomato and onion salad with them. I also make my own apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing. The juices from the tomatoes makes the dressing taste so fresh and sweet. I have three of these Jersey babies in the garden this year. I also use them for making my homemade marinara sauce. Recipe here.

These Early Girl variety grows quickly (hence ‘Early’) and they have high yields. They’re pretty common amongst home growers for that reason. I do believe it takes about 50-55 days after planting to maturity. You can easily grow these in containers too.

Check these green beauties out. I bought the sucker (baby plant) from the farmers market. The tag read, Organic Roma Tomatoes. These are obviously not because they are much longer. After some internet research, I stumbled upon a lookalike, they’re actually called, Long Tom. They can grow up to 9″. According to the website, they’re also known for bearing huge amounts of meaty red paste tomatoes with very few seeds in them. I can’t wait to taste them. Thanks for stopping by and reading about my organic tomato lifestyle. I hope I was able to inspire you a little to eat organically and grow your own organic garden.

Tomato Salad Recipe

  • 2 Beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • Parsley
  • 1 Garlic
  • Small Red onion
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Simple dish that requires 10 minutes of preparation. Cut tomatoes in big chunks and set aside in a bowl. Peel, cut and discard cucumber seeds. Rough chop parsley place in bowl with tomatoes and cucumbers. Dice garlic and onions and place in bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and gently toss everything together and enjoy.
  • Homemade Tomato Sauce

         When August and September rolls around and you have a sea of freshly picked tomatoes, there’s only one thing I could think of, pasta sauce. After I’ve shared and eaten and picked, it’s time to preserve for the winter. As if I live in the wilderness. I don’t obviously, but it’s cost effective to preserve for later uses.  My tomatoes were at its ripest and that’s what you want. The reddest, sweetest and densest tomatoes. 


    INGREDIENTS

    • 10 pounds fresh tomatoes 
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 3 garlic clove, halved
    • 2 basil springs 
    • 3 bay leaf

    PREPARATION

    Step 1:  Cut tomatoes in half horizontally. Squeeze out the seeds and discard, if you wish. Press the cut side of tomato against the large holes of a box grater and grate tomato flesh into a bowl. Discard skins. You should have about 8-9 cups.

    Step 2:  Put tomato pulp in a low wide saucepan over high heat. Add salt, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a brisk simmer.

    Step 3:  Reduce the sauce by almost half, stirring occasionally, to produce about 4 1/2 cups medium-thick sauce, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. It will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or may be frozen.

    I freeze mines. Let it cool completely and insert desired amount in ziplock freezer bags. I like the quart sizes. Enjoy!!

    Eat Eggplants to Protect Your Brain 

    Growing up, my mother never cooked or grew eggplants.  I’ve heard stories of my late grandfather growing it, which he referred to them as Garden Eggs. In my adult life, I’ve grown to love the taste.  I grow and cook them, and I even got my mother to enjoy growing and cooking with them too.  Eggplants are extremely healthy and versatile to cook with.  It is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate and vitamin K.  Eggplants also contains phytonutrients; such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.  The nasunin is the antioxidant responsible for providing your brain with food.

    In animal studies, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell from free radicals, letting nutrients in and wastes out, and receiving instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell which activities it should perform. Nasunin is located in the purple skin of the eggplant so don’t peel it.  It’s job is to search and defeat free radicals.

    According to Rice University, free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like a dominoe effect. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane.  Free radicals are basically bad for you and they are everywhere.  They can break down healthy cells and multiply.

    What are free radicals?

    Free radicals are highly unstable and reactive molecules that damage living cells. These can come from everyday pollution and other common stressors, like the ones listed below:

    • Everyday air pollutants
    • Smog / UV rays
    • Up to 80% of free radical damage is caused by the sun (1). Always wear a broad spectrum SPF!
    • Lack of sleep and exercise
    • Stress
    • Illness
    • Fried foods
    • Alcohol & Tobacco
    • Pesticides

    Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many free radicals running amuck.  It leads to stressed out cells that are broken down and weakened. Then, diseases like cancers, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ulcers and a boatload of other inflammatory diseases can developed.

    Free radicals are also associated with aging skin.  That’s right!  Sunblock isn’t the only defense for aging.  What you feed your body/cells is extremely important too. Eating dark leafy greens and high pigmented fruits that are rich in vitamin C helps to protect your cells and support fighting off free radicals.  Don’t forget to eat up your eggplant too because it will protect your skin from aging prematurely.

    Did you know?

    The high purple skin pigment on eggplants is also a form of protection for the plants. Researchers at the US Agricultural Service in Beltsville, Maryland, have found that eggplants are rich sources of phenolic compounds that function as antioxidants. Plants form such compounds to protect themselves against oxidative stress from exposure to the elements, as well as from infection by bacteria and fungi. If we eat the eggplant, these antioxidants protects us. Can you name a fast food chain that can do that? I think, NOT!

    Resources:  
    Protective effects of dietary nasunin on paraquat-induced oxidative stress in rats.

    Eggplant: Medical News Today

    TIP of the Day! 

    Eat Foods That Support Glutathione Production. 

    What Does Glutathione Do? It helps your immune system fight off infections and diseases. Our bodies produce glutathione, but as we age, it declines. Free radicals in the environment like pesticides and herbicides in the foods you eat, infections, and diseases are detrimental to our bodies. Glutathione steps in and carries these toxins out of the body through your bile and stool. Without glutathione, sickness takes over. The correlation here is, eat foods rich in glutathione to support your bodies defend mechanism. Why do you think old people get sick often with colds and diseases? Glutathione is extremely low in older people and for people who don’t eat a healthy plant enriched diet. 

    Where To Get Glutathione? Sulfur-rich foods like Brussels Sprouts, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, etc. Incorporating a plant-based enriched diet with these foods and whole grains, legumes, fruits and an array of vegetables will boost your glutathione levels. 

    Kale – Is rich in glutathione.

    Why Eat Raw Foods?  Fruits and vegetables contains natural enzymes our bodies depend on to aid in digestion. Heathing these foods to high temperatures kills these enzymes.  It’s not easy to eat everything raw, but lightly sautéed foods may hold on to some enzymes.  For insurance, I do smoothies, juicing greens and raw salads. There’s no boundaries as to what you can add to them.  Incorporating raw foods into your diet by drinking smoothies, fresh juices and salads is the best antidote. Kale, cabbages, asparagus, watercress and onions are sulfur rich glutathione vegetables that works great for any of these options. Don’t be afraid to try new ingredients. Find what works for you. 


    Resources: 

    What is Glutathione? 

    Reap the Benefits of Glutathione

    Beet This Fact


         Beets are incredibly delicious, easy to grow, and extremely healthy for you.  Did you know that beet roots has cancer fighting properties?   Beets have long been know as a healthy source of nutrients, but scientific evidence also validates their significance as a defense against cancer. Some research even shows cases of remission in cancer patients who were given high concentrations of beet root. I grew my own this year.  There’s nothing better than picking fresh beets and preparing them as you like. 


         This root vegetable is a good source of iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulfur  magnesium, iodine, and a number of trace minerals. However, it is the synergy between certain elements found only in specific combinations and concentrations within the beet that give it its cancer-fighting power.  The leaves are also eatable and holds valuable nutrients. While other foods contain iron, the human body is able to assimilate it from the beet root more readily than from almost any other food.  Researchers suspect that there is a catalyst in the beet root that helps the body more easily use the available iron. 

         Beet juice powder is one of the most concentrated forms of the root, with a typical serving size being a teaspoon or two added to 8 ounces of water plus 8 ounces of fresh vegetable juice. Larger dosages may be necessary for those with a cancer diagnosis.  I’ve always enjoyed juicing, eating and cooking with all varieties of beets.  After researching beet powder, I am interested in trying it out. The benefits outweighs the taste, especially if you’re looking for healthy alternatives. I grew up seeing my mother with this red vegetable that made a huge mess. I loved handeling it, but I was one of the haters as a young child.  In my family, there were no excuses, I had to eat it.  Now I’m a mom and I’ve included beets in our diets of course, just more creatively. Beets have an earthy taste. Some people like it or hate it. My advise for the non-likers, smoothies and fresh juices are the best ways to consume vegetables. I juice it and blend it in smoothies for my children. Knowing how to combine the different vegetables to off-set the tastes helps tremendously. 

    Here are my favorite beet juice recipes. 

    Beet Juice – Granny Dearest 

    • 1 Green Granny Smith Apple
    • 1 Inch piece peeled fresh ginger
    • 3 Medium Carrots 
    • 1 Large beet, peeled
    • 1 Medium orange peeled 

     Beet Juice – Energizer 

    • 1 Large beetroot
    • 1 Medium Gala Apple 
    • 1/2 Piece fresh ginger
    • 2 Cucumbers 
    • 1 bunch of parsley 

    Smoothie – Beet Powerhouse 

    • 1 Large beetroot (Juiced) 
    • 2 Ripe bananas 
    • 1 Cup strawberries 
    • 1/2 bunch of fresh/frozen kale
    • 1 Cup ice
    • 1 Cup of coconut milk 
    • 1 tsp of raw honey

    I hope you enjoy my recipes, and try to come up with your own combinations. Be adventurous and don’t be intimidated to try new things. 

    Resources:  Adapted from “Benefits of beets documented to defeat cancer,” by Johnathan Landsman, at http://naturalhealth365.com