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Vicia Faba and Parkinson’s Disease 3

Vicia Faba and Parkinson’s Disease


Parkinson’s disease is an idiopathic disease characterized by abnormalities in posture, movement, speech and gait due to the degeneration of the central nervous system. People with Parkinson’s disease often experience tremors, stiffness, unstable gait, slow movement and speech problems. It also affects cognitive and behavioral aspects as the disease progresses over a long period of time. As the nerves degenerate, more and more bodily functions are affected and the effects of the disease become more profound to both the patient and the family.


Although the real cause of the disease is unknown, scientists have long found out that the cause of most of the symptoms is low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. In Parkinson’s disease, the activity of the cells that secrete dopamine are reduced. These cells are connected to the neurons in the brain that regulate movement and the decrease in their activity greatly affects the patient’s motor skills.


There is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease but levodopa or L-Dopa is the most prescribed medicine for the disease. One of the best natural sources of L-Dopa is a bean plant known as Vicia faba or fava beans. The extracts of the beans are popular among those who want the more natural approach to increasing dopamine levels to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.


L-dopa works by being able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which dopamine cannot do. L-Dopa is then converted into dopamine in the brain, increasing its levels. While very effective, fava bean extracts come with risks. Severe reactions have been reported especially by those who suffer from G6PD or glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and those taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors as antidepressants. In this light, it is very important to consult with the physician any desire to try fava bean extracts to be sure that it is safe for you and no adverse reactions will occur.


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