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Is There Any Truth in Claims that a Gluten-Free Diet Can Help Seniors with Parkinson’s Disease?

Comfort Keepers In-Home Care in Westport, Connecticut.

Is There Any Truth in Claims that a Gluten-Free Diet Can Help Parkinson’s Patients?

November 9, 2017    by Dennis Patouhas

When someone you love is diagnosed with a serious condition like Parkinson’s disease (PD), it’s natural to want to search for ways to make them better. You might be tempted to try almost anything you hear. In the case of PD, one of the things you may hear is that a gluten-free diet could help reduce symptoms. But, will a gluten-free diet work?

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a kind of protein that is found in certain grains, like wheat, barley, and rye. As the name suggests, gluten acts a bit like glue, helping foods to maintain their shape. Because grains are so commonly used in food production, it can be hard to avoid gluten. In fact, gluten is often in foods you might not expect, such as:

  • Salad dressing.
  • Food coloring.
  • Soups.
  • Beer.
  • Roux.

Parkinson's Disease and Celiac Disease

Recently, researchers at the Mayo Clinic have discovered that there may be a link between celiac disease, a condition in which a person’s digestive system cannot tolerate gluten, and conditions that involve cognitive decline, like PD. The researchers have theorized that the connection between the two may be because of:

  • A deficiency in nutrition.
  • Inflammatory cytokines, which send messages about inflammation and could harm the brain.
  • An attack by the immune system on the brain.

Despite this new research, the information surrounding PD and gluten is still controversial. Much more research is needed before doctors can be certain. 

Should Parkinson's Disease Patients Go Gluten-Free?

As of now, experts say there is no definitive proof that a gluten-free diet can help with PD symptoms. However, some people claim that their loved ones with PD have shown improvement by cutting out diet. The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research states that people with PD who are considering a gluten-free diet should consider the pros and cons of the diet. The diet can be tough to follow because of the prevalence of grains. But, they say that if the PD patient feels better when they eat a gluten-free diet, there’s no reason they shouldn’t continue to do so.

Regardless of the diet, your family member with PD chooses to follow, hiring a home care provider can help. Not only can a home care provider cook for the patient, but they can also assist them with moving safely about the house. Home care providers can drive the individual to medical appointments and remind them to take their PD medications. Having a home care provider can allow a person with PD to remain safely in their home for longer.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering in-homecare in Greenwich, CT, please contact the caring staff at Comfort Keepers of Greenwich, CT. Call today: (203) 924-4949