Many are now using natural alternative treatments to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. And for prevention of the progression of Parkinson’s.
In this article, we will explore some of the best supplements for treating Parkinson’s Disease, based on scientific research and anecdotal evidence from those who use them.
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a debilitating and progressive brain disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s include a variety of problems with movement such as tremors, rigidity, and difficulty with every day things like walking, eating, speaking and sleep.[i]
Other symptoms include cognitive impairment, depression, and anxiety.[ii]
Table of Contents
What Parkinson’s looks like in the brain
Decades of imaging studies have shown what happens in the brain of those with Parkinson’s Disease.
The main problem common to all forms of Parkinson’s is damage to the substantia nigra area of the brain. Showing substantial decreases in the concentration of dopamine neurons.
A large part of the problem with Parkinson’s is it is often not diagnosed until 70 – 80% of the brain’s dopamine neurons are lost.[iii]
Studies show that the aggregation and misfolding of α-Synuclein plays a critical role in the development of Parkinson’s Disease. And regulation and reduction of α-Synuclein levels may slow its progression.[iv]
Causes of Parkinson’s Disease
The loss of dopamine neurons in Parkinson’s is well known. But more recent research has shown what may be causing this cell death.
Parkinson’s Disease can be caused by exposure to metals, carbon monoxide, solvents, and agricultural and gardening chemicals.[v]
Working with the herbicide paraquat has been shown to increase the chances of developing Parkinson’s by three-fold.
The insecticide rotenone, which is toxic to mitochondria, increases reactive oxygen species (ROS), and reduces the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Contributing to the development Parkinson’s.[vi]
More recently a genetic cause has been discovered that may account for 3 – 5% of all Parkinson’s patients.[vii]
The use of certain drugs, and even other neurodegenerative diseases can lead to Parkinson’s-like symptoms.
Studies have shown the traumatic brain injury (TBI) can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. Mild TBI (concussion) increases your risk by 1.5-times, and severe TBI increases your risk by 1.8-times.[viii]
Natural Remedies for Parkinson’s Disease
The following are a list of natural nootropic supplements for Parkinson’s with a brief description for each that have been shown to help either avoid, slow down the progression, or to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
I do not suggest using all of the supplements on this list. Instead, click on the link and read the full review for each of the supplements that resonate with you.
Follow dosage recommendations and make sure you read the side effects section for each to ensure that supplement is not contraindicated with any med you are currently using.
L-DOPA (Mucuna Pruriens)
L-DOPA (Mucuna Pruriens extract) – 500 – 1000 mg 3-times per day – is as a natural alternative to Carbidopa (Lodosyn, Sinemet, Atamet) to increase brain dopamine levels – this is a natural precursor to the synthesis of dopamine – I recommend: Cur EASE® L-DOPA 99% (Amazon)
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR)
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) – 500 mg twice per day – helps transport of fatty acids into mitochondria to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – a required cofactor for acetylcholine synthesis – boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) needed for brain cell repair and neurogenesis – a study conducted at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found that ALCAR has potential in treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.[ix] By directly affecting mitochondrial respiration and assisting dopamine neurons and the use of dopamine in the brain. – I use and recommend: Superior Labs – Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) (Amazon) or Performance Lab® Energy
Ashwagandha – 250 – 500 mg per day – helps prevent, and repair damage caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s[x] – reduces cortisol – helps regenerate axons and dendrites and reconstruct synapses by increasing BDNF – lowers blood sugar – reduces LDL cholesterol – I recommend: Nutricost Ashwagandha Root Extract (as KSM-66®) (Amazon)
Black Seed Oil
Black Seed Oil – 1 teaspoon 3-times per day – studies show Black Seed Oil helps with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s,[xi] depression, brain inflammation, epilepsy, reduced blood flow, glial tumors, and traumatic brain injury (TBI)[xii] – I recommend: Amazing Herbs – Black Seed Oil (Amazon) (NOTE: Black Seed Oil tastes particularly nasty. It reminds me of turpentine).
CDP-Choline (Citicoline) – 750 – 1500 mg per day – contributes to the synthesis of phospholipids, which are essential for the assembly and repair of brain cell and mitochondrial membranes – studies have shown using CDP-Choline can help reduce the dose of L-DOPA by 50% without any reduction in symptom control[xiii] – likely because it helps the reuptake of dopamine in synapses and activates the enzyme needed for increased dopamine production – I recommend: Mind Lab Pro® or Zazzee CDP Choline (Citicoline) (Amazon)
CoQ10 – 1200 mg per day – a study at University of California, San Diego showed that CoQ10 can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.[xiv] I recommend: Pure Encapsulations CoQ10 (Amazon)
Creatine – up to 5 grams per day – used to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesized within mitochondria and is critical for maintaining cellular energy levels – has been proven for neuroprotection in a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases. Including Parkinson’s, ALS, Alzheimer’s, and stroke[xv] – I recommend: Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate (Amazon)
Curcumin – recent research has demonstrated that Curcumin helps prevent the aggregation of α-Synuclein that plays a role in Parkinson’s Disease[xvi] – I use and recommend: Health Thru Nutrition – Curcumin (as BCM-95®) with Carlyle BioPerine (Amazon) to improve absorption
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s Mane Mushroom extract – 1,000 mg twice per day – prevents and treats nerve damage in the brain. Once past the blood-brain barrier, Lion’s Mane stimulates enzyme production that releases Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Nerve regeneration helps relieve neurodegenerative disease symptoms such as Parkinson’s Disease. – I use and recommend: Real Mushrooms – Lion’s Mane (use my discount code for 10% off: Nootropics10)
N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)
N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) – 500 mg 3-times per day – NAC has the unique ability to enable dopamine neurons to recover their function including in those dealing with Parkinson’s[xvii] – I use and recommend: Life Extension – NAC
Passionflower extract 250 mg per day – helps with panic attacks, seizures, headaches, menstrual pain, and Parkinson’s Disease[xviii] – I recommend: Puritans Pride Passionflower extract (Amazon)
Pine Bark Extract
Pine Bark Extract – 350 mg twice per day – increases cerebral blood flow and reduces oxidative stress and inflammation helping to prevent Parkinson’s Disease and its progression[xix] – I recommend: Zazzee French Maritime Pine Bark Extract (Amazon)
Polygala Tenuifolia – boosts the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) – has also been found to increase dopamine neurons and improve motor impairment in Parkinson’s Disease[xx] – I recommend: Polygala tenuifolia 20:1 Extract Capsules
PQQ – 20 mg 3-times per day – prevents the formation of a-synuclein proteins that contribute to the development of Parkinson’s Disease[xxi] – I recommend: Performance Lab® Energy or Doctor’s Best PQQ (with BioPQQ®) (Amazon)
Saffron – 88.25 mg per day – some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease originate from under-utilization of dopamine in the substantia nigra area of the brain. Studies show Saffron helps protect the substantia nigra dopamine neurons associated with Parkinson’s[xxii] – I recommend: Double Wood Supplements Saffron
St. John’s wort
St. John’s wort – 300 mg 3-times per day – several studies show that the main active ingredient in this herb lowered substantia nigra DNA fragmentation, and prevented damage of substantia nigra dopamine neurons – and conclude “these findings reveal the beneficial effect of H. perforatum via attenuation of DNA fragmentation, astrogliosis, inflammation, and oxidative stress”[xxiii] – I recommend: Nature’s Way – St. John’s wort (Perika®) (Amazon)
Sulforaphane – 35 mg per day – protects against cell degeneration that causes diseases like Parkinson’s and may help reduce its progression. By acting as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic (healthy brain cell cycle)[xxiv] – I use and recommend: AVMACOL® (Sulforaphane with Myrosinase) (Amazon)
Taurine – 1.000 mg twice per day – is particularly effective for those using levodopa to treat Parkinson’s Disease because the drug depletes natural taurine levels in your body[xxv] – I recommend: Life Extension – Taurine
Valerian – 200 – 600 mg before bed – stacked with Lemon Balm for sleep – Valerian is a very potent supplement so be careful with dosage – some say Valerian helps calm the symptoms of Parkinson’s and clinical studies back this up[xxvi] – I recommend: American Standard – Valerian (Amazon)
Vinpocetine – 10 mg 3-times per day – please click through to my review of Vinpocetine and scroll down to the section called “Vinpocetine is an anti-inflammatory” because it is too detailed to explain here but is very much worth reading if you are dealing with Parkinson’s Disease[xxvii] – I use and recommend: Life Extension – Vinpocetine
Tips and Takeaways
Parkinson’s Disease is often not diagnosed until the disease is well established. By then the substantia nigra region of the brain has lost 70 – 80% of its dopamine neurons which by then are very difficult to recover.
You may slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease by using some of the natural nootropic supplements detailed above. I highly recommend reading the full linked review for each supplement including how it works, dosage recommendations, side effects, and timing during the day before you begin using the supplement.
But there are no guarantees that they will work. Success depends on many factors including the progression of the disease, how your body and brain react to these supplements, genetics and more.
However, many with Parkinson’s have experienced a better quality of life when using these supplements.
Get started by choosing from the list of supplements above, do your research including Nootropics Expert®, follow dosage recommendations and timing during the day, and get started.
There is hope for a better life. We know because of the science, and many have reported their own experience that these nootropic supplements can work. Don’t wait and get started today.
[i] Hoehn MM, Yahr MD. Parkinsonism: onset, progression, and mortality. Neurology 1967;17:427–42 (source)
[ii] Uwishema, O., Onyeaka, H., Badri, R., Yücel, A. N., Korkusuz, A. K., Ajagbe, A. O., Abuleil, A., Chaaya, C., Alhendawi, B. H. M., & Chalhoub, E. (2022). “The understanding of Parkinson's disease through genetics and new therapies”. Brain and behavior, 12(5), e2577 (source)
[iii] Bernheimer H, Birkmayer W, Hornykiewicz O, Jellinger K, Seitelberg F. “Brain dopamine and the syndromes of Parkinson and Huntington.” Journal of Neurological Science. 1973 Dec;20(4):415-55. (source)
[iv] Kim, C., & Lee, S. J. (2008). “Controlling the mass action of alpha-synuclein in Parkinson's disease”. Journal of neurochemistry, 107(2), 303–316 (source)
[v] Dinis‐Oliveira, R. J. , Remião, F. , Carmo, H. , Duarte, J. A. , Sánchez Navarro, A. , Bastos, M. L. , & Carvalho, F. (2006). “Paraquat exposure as an etiological factor of Parkinson's disease”. Neurotoxicology, 27(6), 1110–1122 (source)
[vi] Pang, S. Y.‐Y. , Ho, P. W.‐L. , Liu, H.‐F. , Leung, C.‐T. , Li, L. , Chang, E. E. S. , Ramsden, D. B. , & Ho, S.‐L. (2019). “The interplay of ageing, genetics and environmental factors in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease.” Translational Neurodegeneration, 8(1), N.PAG–N. 10.1186/s40035-019-0165-9 (source)
[vii] van der Vegt JP, van Nuenen BF, Bloem BR, et al.. “Imaging the impact of genes on Parkinson's disease.” Neuroscience 2009;164:191–204 (source)
[viii] Raquel C. Gardner, Amy L. Byers, Deborah Barnes, Yixia Li, John Boscardin, Kristine Yaffe “Mild TBI and risk of Parkinson disease” Neurology May 2018, 90 (20) e1771-e1779 (source)
[ix] I. Bodis-Wollner M.D., E. Chung, M. F. Ghilardi, A. Glover, M. Onofrj, P. Pasik & Y. Samson “Acetyl-levo-carnitine protects against MPTP-induced parkinsonism in primates” Journal of Neural Transmission - Parkinson's Disease and Dementia Section volume 3, pages63–72 (1991) (source)
[x] Singh N, Rai SN, Singh D, Singh SP (2015) “Withania somnifera shows ability to counter Parkinson's Disease” An Update. SOJ Neurol 2(2), 1-4 (source)
[xi] Khazdair M. R. (2015). “The Protective Effects of Nigella sativa and Its Constituents on Induced Neurotoxicity.” Journal of toxicology, 2015, 841823 (source)
[xii] Elmaci I., Altinoz M.A. “Thymoquinone: An edible redox-active quinone for the pharmacotherapy of neurodegenerative conditions and glial brain tumors. A short review.” Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy. 2016 Oct;83:635-640 (source)
[xiii] Simmons A.D. “Chapter 15 - Parkinson’s Disease” Integrative Medicine (Fourth Edition) 2018, Pages 143-151.e3 (source)
[xiv] Shults, C. W., Oakes, D., Kieburtz, K., Beal, M. F., Haas, R., Plumb, S., Juncos, J. L., Nutt, J., Shoulson, I., Carter, J., Kompoliti, K., Perlmutter, J. S., Reich, S., Stern, M., Watts, R. L., Kurlan, R., Molho, E., Harrison, M., Lew, M., & Parkinson Study Group (2002). "Effects of coenzyme Q10 in early Parkinson disease: evidence of slowing of the functional decline." Archives of neurology, 59(10), 1541–1550. (source)
[xv] Klein A.M., Ferrante R.J. “The neuroprotective role of creatine.” Sub-cellular Biochemistry. 2007;46:205-43. (source)
[xvi] Singh, P. K., Kotia, V., Ghosh, D., Mohite, G. M., Kumar, A., & Maji, S. K. (2013). Curcumin modulates α-synuclein aggregation and toxicity. ACS chemical neuroscience, 4(3), 393–407 (source)
[xvii] Monti D.A., Zabrecky G., Kremens D., Lian T.W., Wintering N.A., Cai J., Wei X., Bazzan A.J., Zhong L., Bowen B., Intenzo C.M., Iacovitti L., Newberg A.B. “N-Acetyl Cysteine May Support Dopamine Neurons in Parkinson’s Disease: Preliminary Clinical and Cell Line Data.” PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (6): e0157602 (source)
[xviii] Ingale, S. P., & Kasture, S. B. (2017). Protective Effect of Standardized Extract of Passiflora incarnata Flower in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease. Ancient science of life, 36(4), 200–206. (source)
[xix] Voss P., Horakova L., Jakstadt M., Kiekebusch D., Grune T. “Ferritin oxidation and proteasomal degradation: protection by antioxidants.” Free Radical Research. 2006 Jul;40(7):673-83. (source)
[xx] Jiang N., Wei S., Zhang Y., He W., Pei H., Huang H., Wang Q., Liu X “Protective Effects and Mechanism of Radix Polygalae Against Neurological Diseases as Well as Effective Substance” Frontiers in Psychiatry 17 December 2021 (source)
[xxi] Qin J., Wu M., Yu S1, Gao X., Zhang J., Dong X., Ji J., Zhang Y., Zhou L., Zhang Q., Ding F. “Pyrroloquinoline quinone-conferred neuroprotection in rotenone models of Parkinson’s disease.” Toxicology Letters. 2015 Nov 4;238(3):70-82 (source)
[xxii] Purushothuman S., Nandasena C., Peoples C.L., El Massri N., Johnstone D.M., Mitrofanis J., Stone J. “Saffron pre-treatment offers neuroprotection to Nigral and retinal dopaminergic cells of MPTP-Treated mice.” Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. 2013; 3(1):77-83. (source)
[xxiii] Kiasalari, Z., Baluchnejadmojarad, T. & Roghani, M. Hypericum Perforatum Hydroalcoholic Extract Mitigates Motor Dysfunction and is Neuroprotective in Intrastriatal 6-Hydroxydopamine Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease. Cell Mol Neurobiol 36, 521–530 (2016) (source)
[xxiv] Schepici, G., Bramanti, P., & Mazzon, E. (2020). Efficacy of Sulforaphane in Neurodegenerative Diseases. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(22), 8637. (source)
[xxv] Zhang L., Yuan Y., Tong Q., Jiang S., Xu Q., Ding J., Zhang L1, Zhang R., Zhang K. “Reduced plasma taurine level in Parkinson's disease: association with motor severity and levodopa treatment.” International Journal of Neuroscience. 2016;126(7):630-6 (source)
[xxvi] Santos G., Giraldez-Alvarez L.D., Ávila-Rodriguez M., Capani G., Galembeck E., Gôes Neto A., Andrade B. “SUR1 Receptor Interaction with Hesperidin and Linarin Predicts Possible Mechanisms of Action of Valeriana officinalis in Parkinson” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience Volume 8 – 2016 (source)
[xxvii] Medina A. “Vinpocetine as a potent antiinflammatory agent”Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U S A. 2010 Jun 1; 107(22): 9921–9922. (source)
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Thank you I just now discovered your articles – my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s ( tremors )2020 and he is on 25/100 levadopa. We don’t think it’s doing anything to slow down the progression – What is your suggestion ? Add these supplements – or cut out the levadopa ?thank you so much Paula
David Tomen says
Paula, I cannot tell you to cut out the levodopa because I am NOT a doctor. Haven’t played one on TV either.
That said, I have several in our community who traded levodopa for these supplements with good success. If you read the details of each supplement above you’ll understand more clearly which are a levodopa alternative, which help avoid Parkinson’s altogether, and which supplements slow the progression of Parkinson’s.
Thanks. I was looking for the article like this.
I take quite a few supplements from the list.
Beside science, it does wonders for my self-confidence that I’m actively doing something to slow down the desease.
Carlo Gambucci says
I’m impressed by the quality of your work. My wife was diagnoses with Parkinsons 5 years ago. We switched to Keto and stopped « hopefully » the progression and improved her health situation. I noticed that we take 9 of your indicated supplements more or less frequently. Your article will help us to have a more methodical approach to the problem.
Thanks for your work
David Tomen says
Carlo, thanks for your feedback. It is deeply appreciated and verification for the motivation to publish this article.
Thanks for the article, I was waiting for an article about this, a lot of people are predisposed to this disease unfortunately, and it is difficult to detect it in the early stages, it is very easy to confuse it with other diseases.
David Tomen says
Henry you are very welcome. All the other articles out there on supplements for Parkinson’s. I figured we needed something better.