This is 2 years old, I just rediscovered it in my heretical files. Worth reading.
From Dr. Fuhrman's latest e-mail [around Apr 02, 2009] :
Leaders of the Vegan Movement Develop Parkinson's: Case Studies
Herbert Shelton (1895 - 1985) a naturopath and chiropractor and the influential founder of the American Natural Hygiene Society and Nature Cure movement in America and prolific health writer advocated a natural food vegetarian diet of mostly raw fruits, vegetables and nuts. I read all of his highly motivating books, newsletters and writings in my teens. He lived in Texas, was physically fit, grew lots of his own food and ate carefully and fasted periodically. Of course he did not get cancer, he did not get heart disease, but he died of Parkinson's disease and was so severely affected by the age of 78 that even walking was difficult. In 1973 when I met him he was already severely hunched over and had a difficult time walking and caring for himself. Though he lived many years with this significant disability, the quality of his later years was extremely poor.
Prominent Vegetarian and Health Advocate - this leader in the natural health movement and a personal friend to me also suffered from and eventually died from a fall related to his Parkinson's disease. During his young adult life he embarked on the path of healthy living and vegetarianism. A follower of Shelton's works, he operated a large health food store, one of the first to sell organic fruits and vegetables in America; he became a leader in the health food industry. Of course he was not at risk of cancer or heart disease with his excellent diet, but he developed Parkinson's which limited the quality of his later years.
When he was developing his Parkinsonian tremors, I ordered blood tests and was shocked to see his blood results showing almost a zero DHA [*] level on his fatty acid test, in spite of adequate ALA consumption from nuts and seeds eaten daily. I had never seen a DHA level that low before. Since that time I have drawn DHA blood levels on other patients with Parkinson's and also found very low DHA levels.
Was it a coincidence, that these leaders in the natural food, vegetarian movement, who ate a very healthy vegan diet and no junk food would both develop Parkinson's? I thought to myself--could it be that deficiencies in DHA predispose one to Parkinson's? Do men have worse ability to convert short chain omega-3 into long chain DHA? Is that why Parkinson's affects more men than women? Is there evidence to suggest that DHA deficiencies lead to later life neurologic problems? Are there primate studies to show DHA deficiencies in monkeys leads to Parkinson's? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding, yes.
[read further on http://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11105 ]
*) DHA - Docosahexanoic acid, omega-3 type of fat commonly present in animal produce, especially in brain, spinal cord, nerves and egg yolks. This type of fat is generally not present in plant based products, with very few exceptions (some algae).
In addition, a high carb nutrition would probably offer less natural protection against neuro degenerative diseases because of low level of ketone bodies. For example non-ketogenic diet would be less protective against stress-induced neural damage, see: Ketone bodies protect neurons from stress hormone-induced damage
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