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A Nutritional Supplement of Whey, Leucine and Vitamin D Improved Motor Function in Parkinson’s Patients

Whey Powder

A study was presented at the World Congress on Parkinson’s Disease and Related Disorders (IAPRD), held in Lyon, France, August 19-22, 2018. The study showed that a nutritional supplement called FortiFit (developed by Nutricia) designed to target muscles that was composed of 20 grams of whey protein (found in dairy products), 800 IU vitamin D, 3 g total leucine (an essential amino acid, that cannot be naturally produced by the human body), 9 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, and a mixture of vitamins, minerals and fibers helped improve motor function in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Parkinsonism, who were enrolled in a multidisciplinary intensive rehabilitation treatment (MIRT).

 Muscle-Targeting Supplements Increased Muscle Mass and Improved Performance in Seniors

Research had previously shown that foods or supplements that targeted muscles led to an increase in muscle mass and an improvement in physical performance in seniors. However, no study had ever been undertaken to test a nutritional supplement designed to improve muscle performance on patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonism.

Study Undertaken in Milan, Italy

The 150 patients consisting of children, adults and the elderly, who had either Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonism were divided into two groups. One group received only the hospital food, while the other group received hospital food plus the nutritional supplement twice a day for 30 days.

Following the 30 days, the participants in the study were subjected to a battery of tests to measure walking distance and gait. The group who had received the whey, protein and Vitamin D supplement showed marked improvement in the six-minute walking test for both distance and speed as compared to those who had not been given the supplement.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. Estimates are that about a million Americans and 10 million people worldwide are afflicted with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s leads to a disruption and depletion of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Dopamine controls movement and norepinephrine is a chemical that controls many automatic functions in the body like heartbeat, blood pressure and digestion. However, attempts to replace these with medical supplementation are not really successful. Parkinson’s causes a wide array of symptoms including:

  • Tremors at rest
  • Rigid muscles
  • Problems with chewing, swallowing and speaking
  • Difficulty in smelling
  • Problems with walking with a typical shuffling kind of gait
  • Problems with balance and coordination.
  • Urinary problems
  • Constipation
  • Sleep Disorder
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Fatigue and muscle weakness
  • Many unintentional falls
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Jerking movements during sleep
  • A soft or low voice
  • A mask like expression on the face
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Stooped or hunched over posture
  • Stiffness or pain in shoulders or hips
  • Handwriting is very small and hard to read.
  • Some develop Lewy bodies in their brains and may also develop dementia.

Assisted Living and Long-term Care

At some point there may come a time when a move to assisted living or a skilled nursing and rehab may be necessary.

Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center, Brooklyn, New York

Ditmas Park Rehab and Care in Brooklyn, New York offers all the kinds of therapies that a person with Parkinson’s would need including music therapy. See our blog how music can prevent unintentional falls in those afflicted with Parkinson’s disease from August 1, 2018.

Brooklyn Hospitals Near Ditmas Park Rehab and Care Center:

New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital

NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn (formerly named NYU Lutheran Medical Center)

SUNY Downstate Medical Center – University Hospital of Brooklyn

NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County

Maimonides Medical Center


Anything that can help to improve motor function in Parkinson’s disease is good news. Much research is being put into finding a prevention or cure for Parkinson’s and hopefully we will soon see this day come.


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