Monthly Archives: July 2012

Should I take Coenzyme Q10 for my Parkinson’s?


Coenzyme Q (CoQ10) is and over the counter dietary supplement.  Our body’s cells produce Coenzyme Q 10 but this decreases with age and some diseases like Parkinson’s. CoQ10 plays a key role in our cell’s energy production in a specific part of the cell, referred to as the electron transport chain, in our mitochondria. Portion of this electron transport chain is deficient in people with Parkinson’s;  hence CoQ10 may play a role in maintaining the integrity of this process and cell health.

Recent studies did not support original research suggestion a potential benefit of CoQ10 in patients with early Parkinson’s.  A double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial was stopped in 2011 when it was noted that 1200mg or 2400mg for 16 months did not improve symptoms and so is not routinely recommended for treatment.  The following questions are unanswered and situations that may pertain to you serve as a point of discussion with your provider as to whether you should take CoQ10.
  • Would a longer period of use (over 16 months) yield positive results?
  • Will results differ if taken at different stages of disease?
  • Supplements can have side effects even if they are naturally occurring in the body. CoQ10 side effects are minimal but could include bleeding risk, interaction with the blood thinner warfarin.  CoQ10 may reduce blood pressure and interact with some blood pressure medicines.
  • As with all anti-oxidants, do not take if you have cancer unless it is approved by your doctor.
  • CoQ10 is expensive. Can this money be spent on alternative treatment with noted and proven benefits like weight loss, exercise, stress management, personal trainer or health coach.
  • Do not use in place of recommended medicines.
  • As a supplement, CoQ10 is not regulated by the FDA. Be sure any supplement you take is tested to prove it is pure, has the potency that and absorbability that is claimed oon the label and marketing.  One way to do this is to look for the statement USP verified on the label. USP  is an independent laborary that tests for these qualities.

Learn more about CoEnz Q10 on the Wellness Center.

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Filed under Nutrition, Vitamins and Supplements, Vitamins and Supplements

How do I treat my cough at night? I am interested in any suggestions that would help in regards to controlling a cough while sleeping at night. I have tried 1 & 2 pillows, drinking water, having a mint to keep my mouth moist and nothing works


Cough at night can have many causes so it is first very important to define the cause of your cough.  The following is a partial list of causes of cough at night:

  • Heart disease such as congestive heart failure
  • Primary lung problems
  • Nose and sinus disease
  • Certain medicines
  • Parkinson’s related  swallowing problems such as aspiration (food, drink and saliva entering the air passages rather than the esophagus)
  • Gastric reflux

Treatments vary and include medicine changes, swallowing therapy, breathing treatments.  Be sure to see your primary doctor for a complete evaluation if your cough persists despite the treatments.  In some cases a consultation with a cardiologist, pulmonologist or Ear Nose and Throat specialist may be needed.  Sometimes coughing can be the only sign of aspiration so a swallowing therapist is also an important step for a Parkinson’s patient.  This specialist can recommend additional swallowing tests, therapy to improve safe swallowing, safe foods and liquids to try.  If you are having trouble with too much secretions, your neurologist may recommend certain medicines, botulinum toxin therapies.   Some people find that papaya fruit or juice reduces thick secretions that are hard to clear.

Since there are so many causes of coughing, it is important that you do not treat the symptoms but first find the cause. Your primary doctor and Neurologist together can set you on the right path.

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Filed under Non-movement Symptoms, Self-Care

Parkinson’s fitness programs need to be tailored to the individual to get results


Begin by consulting with your medical exercise team (your healthcare provider, physical therapist and exercise trainer with medical expertise). These specialists will help you design a program that takes into consideration the many factors listed below and hopefully design a program that is balanced, practical and manageable. Ask your personal trainer or physical therapist if your program addresses each of these:
  • General Health– What is the best program to enhance medical conditions such as heart, lung, diabetes risk, weight management, back problems and arthritis?
  • Aging– What exercises will combat the effects of aging such as arthritis, muscle loss and balance.
  • Individual Strengths and Weakness– What muscle groups or exercises should be used to strengthen a person’s weaker areas, tightness or imbalances in movement.
  • Symptoms– What is best for symptoms such as fatigue, pain, memory problems, or depression.
  • Behavior– What program is best tailored for the intense athlete, a nonathletic person, a motivated individual or non-motivated person and other behavioral and/or personal attributes that impact success.
  • Goals– What are the goals of the person? What do they want exercise to help them do?
  • Parkinson’s– What program will target symptoms of Parkinson’s, enhance and normalize neurological control of movement
  • Neuroplasticity– Learning and the impact of the experience are important factors for neuroplasticity. What can be added to optimize the experience and challenge learning?

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Filed under Exercise, Self-Care

Carrying the Olympic Torch for Parkinson’s today


Tom Isaacs age 44 carries the olympic through Welwyn Garden City today. With each step he will raise awareness about Parkinson’s and inspire others with his positive message, humour, inspiration and courage for people living with Parkinson’s disease and other chronic conditions.

I am reminded of so many people with Parkinson’s that I have met along the way as I reflect on the Olympics and the stories of amazing athlete’s pushing their bodies and minds to the limit of human performance.  People with Parkinson’s that meet challenge with strength and courage.  

Marathoners, photographers, mountain climbers, journalists, poets, artists, dancers, quilters, motivational speakers, support group leaders to name a few-  people with Parkinson’s that choose to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.

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Filed under Encouragement, Inspiration and Motivation, Hot Off the Press!