Functional medicine and the treatment of Parkinson’s disease
The United States is home to an estimated one million people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), with approximately 60,000 Americans diagnosed each year.
PD impacts people’s everyday lives and can make it difficult to complete ordinary, day-to-day tasks. Currently, the standard treatments for the condition consist of medication and surgical therapy but none are tailored to each individual. All the available treatments address symptoms only. Making things more complicated, it is common to take several different medications throughout the day to manage the debilitating symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.
Neurologist and functional medicine doctor Ken Sharlin has spent years working with patients with Parkinson’s disease. Like them and their families, he was frustrated by the limited existing treatments and believed there was a better way. And there is! He developed Brain Tune Up!, a unique program that has since yielded incredible results – clearer speech, improved balance, reduced tremor, more energy, and ultimately a better quality of life.
We’ll investigate the future of Parkinson’s treatments and Dr. Ken Sharlin’s Brain Tune Up! in more detail below. First, what is Parkinson’s disease?
What is Parkinson’s disease?
A progressive neurological disorder, Parkinson’s disease predominantly affects the nerve cells (neurons) that produce dopamine in a region of the brain known as the substantia nigra. When dopamine levels decrease, abnormal brain activity occurs, which then leads to the signs of Parkinson’s disease.
PD typically begins in middle and later life, with those 60 years and older at higher risk.
There are many causes that contribute to the risk of PD although few neurologists take the time to investigate them. Instead, typically they inform their patients there is no “cure” and inform their patients that while disorder itself is not fatal, it greatly impacts function and quality of life, and the lack of mobility associated with Parkinson’s disease can lead to early death.
What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s disease varies among people and develops slowly over time, often beginning with a subtle tremor in one hand. The tremor, which is most visible when the individual is at rest, is the most well-known symptom, but there are others:
- Stiffness and limb rigidity
- Slow movement
- Balance issues
- Little to no facial expression
- Soft, slurred, or stuttered speech
- Small, difficult-to-read handwriting
- Gait problems, such as shuffling feet
How conventional medicine approaches Parkinson’s disease treatments
In conventional medicine, Parkinson’s is treated with medication that replaces dopamine. Sometimes, drugs that prohibit the breakdown of dopamine are used, too. A surgical approach to minimizing symptoms is also popular. However, in both instances, the disorder continues to progress. At some point, traditional treatments are no longer effective.
Understanding Parkinson’s disease through a functional medicine framework
Dr. Ken Sharlin is one of the only functional medicine doctors that is also a neurologist. With this background, Dr. Sharlin aims to uncover the root cause of diseases and disorders – like Parkinson’s – to help patients improve their quality of life without drugs or surgery.
When examining PD through a functional medicine lens, it’s crucial to understand the concept of Lewy bodies. Composed primarily of the alpha-synuclein, Lewy bodies are aggregates of proteins that accumulate in the brains in those with PD.
Some evidence suggests that PD may start in the gut, where patterns of inflammation trigger the formation of these protein aggregates. These then travel through the vagus nerve to the brain, where they accumulate and destroy the dopamine-producing nerve cells.
This holistic framework for the disease involves other factors, too, such as the minimization of mitochondria (the engines that energize cells), toxin exposure, and hormone imbalances.
The future of Parkinson’s disease treatments
Drugs and surgery are not the only options. Guided by the functional medicine approach, Dr. Ken Sharlin has developed an advanced protocol for Parkinson’s disease called Brain Tune Up!. Over five to eight months, participants are equipped with the tools they need to boost their well-being and re-imagine the trajectory of their health for the rest of their lives.
How does Brain Tune Up! for Parkinson’s disease work?
Functional medicine is common sense. If you want to remove the symptoms, treat the cause. That’s exactly what Dr. Sharlin has set out to achieve with the Brain Tune Up! protocol for those living with PD. The program draws on three core systems:
- Correctly identifying the problem. (Let’s make sure your symptoms are actually due to Parkinson’s disease, and if not, what?)
- The functional medicine timeline and matrix to explore the triggers and mediators responsible for the condition.
- A personalized approach to sleep, movement, nutrition, stress, and relationships to identify where the gaps exist
- Addressing environmental factors
- Fixing imbalances in hormones and offering treatments that can help repair injured brain tissue
Functional medicine is about seeing the patient as a whole person and is based on a science-backed framework called systems biology. The practitioner uncovers the cause of disease by evaluating imbalances at the cellular level. The patient is then empowered to make meaningful changes in their lives.
What are the benefits of Dr. Sharlin’s treatment for Parkinson’s disease?
Everyone is individual, and no two patients experience the same results from Brain Tune Up!. That being said, many previous participants enjoyed the following outcomes during and after the protocol:
- Clearer and louder speech
- Increased energy, vigor, and vitality
- Minimized tremor, resulting in better handwriting
- Less rigidity, improved posture, and movement
- Better balance
- Less stress and fatigue
- Restored vitality
Who is Brain Tune Up! for?
Looking for answers can be frustrating, especially if you get the same ones over and over again. If you are looking for an alternative treatment for Parkinson’s disease, one that’s effective and improves the quality of your life, Brain Tune Up! is for you.
Here are some of the other reasons people join Dr. Sharlin’s program:
- They want a drug-free solution
- They want to work with someone they can trust – an experienced professional with the right qualifications who knows what they are talking about
- They want to find the root cause of their condition, rather than settling for band-aid solutions
- They want personalized care that views each patient as a whole individual
- They believe in the benefit of a functional medicine approach and want to try it for themselves
Improve your quality of life
You don’t have to wait for scientific breakthroughs – the future of Parkinson’s treatments is available today. Dr. Ken Sharlin has many years of experience working with people just like you, and he’s here to give you the answers you deserve.
Combining the best in neurology with a functional medicine framework, Brain Tune Up! offers a truly unique pathway toward confidence, vitality, and well-being. If you or a loved one would like to learn more, please reach out. We’d be more than happy to talk you through the process.