The milk proteins enriched with leucine and vitamin D associated with a specific diet improve the quality of life of Parkinson's patients: the study
In patients suffering from Parkinson's disease or Parkinson's disease, whey proteins enriched with leucine (an essential amino acid) and vitamin D, combined with an intensive multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment, greatly improve the function of the lower limbs and preserve muscle mass .
This is what emerged from the study published in the prestigious journal Neurology by Dr. Michela Barichella, Head of Clinical Nutrition of ASST Gaetano Pini-CTO, and by other specialists, including prof. Gianni Pezzoli, President of the Grigioni Foundation and former Director of the Parkinson and Parkinsonism Center based at the CTO.
The specialists started the pragmatic, bicentric, randomized (1: 1) study in April 2017 and chose 150 patients, admitted for 30 days, subjected to MIRT, an intensive multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment. This method combines the intervention of physiotherapists with personalized activities to be performed using devices such as the treadmill, virtual reality and external visual and auditory stimuli.
According to Dr. Barichella: "It was important that the patients were hospitalized, not only because the methodology provided for it, but for the purposes of the study, as we needed all the subjects to have the same type of diet".
The diet of some patients was enriched with a food supplement, based on whey protein enriched with leucine, calcium and vitamin D, administered twice a day.
The improvements recorded are significant for patients undergoing treatment: in a 6-minute journey the parkinsonians who had taken the supplement traveled 18 meters more, about 25% more distance. Not only that, there was an improvement in strength and muscle tone.
The supplement used, as explained by the Director of Clinical Nutrition of ASST Gaetano Pini-CTO, is already prescribed to patients suffering from sarcopenic diseases, ie the gradual decrease in muscle mass and muscle performance during the aging process, to improve the muscle tone and function. The nutritional supplement, enriched with vitamin D, has been added to the diet of Parkinson's patients who are advised to follow a specific diet:
Patients with this condition take levodopa which has a competitive absorption with meal proteins. To make it effective it is necessary that the protein content is shifted in the evening. Then, for lunch, carbohydrates and vegetables, for dinner a second course such as meat, fish, eggs, cheese and legumes. Moreover, those with Parkinson's often suffer from problems with constipation or difficulty swallowing, so the diet prescribed must also take into account these factors, as well as the natural weight loss due to advancing age.
As demonstrated by the study published by Neurology, entitled "Specific muscle nutritional supplement for the rehabilitation of Parkinson's and Parkinson's disease patients", supplementation to the diet described above is based on a nutritional formula based on whey protein, enriched with leucine which acts on muscle tone and vitamin D, combined with an intensive multidisciplinary rehabilitation treatment can improve the quality of life of patients.