What is Parkinson's disease?
Parkinson's disease (PD) belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders,
which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary
symptoms of PD are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or
stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural
instability, or impaired balance and coordination. As these symptoms become more
pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks.
PD usually affects people over the age of 50. Early symptoms of PD are subtle and occur
gradually. In some people the disease progresses more quickly than in others. As the disease
progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects the majority of PD patients may begin to
interfere with daily activities. Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional
changes; difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation;
skin problems; and sleep disruptions. There are currently no blood or laboratory tests that
have been proven to help in diagnosing sporadic PD. The disease can be difficult to diagnose
accurately. Doctors may sometimes request brain scans or laboratory tests in order to rule
out other diseases.
The cause of Parkinson's disease is unknown. Many researchers believe that several factors
combined are involved: free radicals, accelerated aging, environmental toxins, and genetic
It may be those free radicals—unstable and potentially damaging molecules that lack on
electron—are involved in the degeneration of dopamine-producing cells. Free radicals add an
electron by reacting with nearby molecules in a process called oxidation, which can damage
nerve cells. Chemicals called antioxidants normally protect cells from oxidative stress and
damage. If antioxidative action fails to protect dopamine-producing nerve cells, they could be
damaged and, subsequently, Parkinson's disease could develop.
Dysfunctional antioxidative mechanisms are associated with older age as well, suggesting that
the acceleration of age-related changes in dopamine production may be a factor.
Exposure to an environmental toxin, such as a pesticide, that inhibits dopamine production
and produces free radicals and oxidation damage may be involved.
Is there any treatment?
At present, there is no cure for PD, but a variety of medications provide dramatic relief from
the symptoms. Indian Noni, the food supplement is giving very good result in this disease by
its effective antioxidant property and immune modulating property. Parkinson’s disease
patients using Noni and experiencing great change and well being after a long term use of it.
ROLE OF INDIAN NONI IN PARKINSON’S DISEASE
Free radicals and nervous tissue
A "free radical" is any atom or molecule which has an "unpaired electron" in the outer ring.
The electrons move around the central mass (nucleus) made up of protons and neutrons.
Protons have positive charge and Neutrons have no electrical charge. Electrons always stay in
even number in the orbit surrounding nucleus. Free radicals are atoms or molecules which
contain unpaired electrons. Since electrons have a very strong tendency to exist in a paired
rather than an unpaired state, free radicals indiscriminately pick up electrons from other
atoms, which in turn convert those other atoms into secondary free radicals. It is these free
radical molecules which rapidly react with other molecules, setting off a chain reaction of free
radical formation, somewhat similar to an atomic explosion. So now we have this molecule
which is missing an electron and is dying to get its hands on an electron to help fill its need.
This free radical now goes and steals an electron from another molecule that is more willing to
give one up and thus it becomes satisfied, but now the victim molecule has become a free
radical! This goes on for quite some time. We therefore call this process oxidative stress /
oxidative damage, the chain reaction of free radicals. This oxidative damage/stress, associated
with free radicals is believed to be involved in the pathophysiological role in aging of skin and
also in several diseases like heart disease (atherosclerosis), cancer, parkinson’s diseases,
multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, spastic paraplegia, alzheimer’s diseases etc.
Antioxidants are believed to slow down the formation of free radicals, protecting the body by
diminishing and repairing damage to cells and tissues.
The brain particularly is very susceptible to oxidative damage, because brain and nerve tissue
contain relatively low level of antioxidants. In addition, those brain regions that are rich in
catecholamines are exceptionally vulnerable to free radical generation. The catecholamine
adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine can spontaneously break down (auto-oxidise) to free
radicals, or can be metabolized to radicals by the endogenous enzymes such as MAO
(monoamine oxidases). One such region of the brain is the substantia nigra (SN), where a
connection has been established between antioxidant depletion (including GSH) and tissue
Antioxidant property of Noni in Parkinson’s disease
Our body has evolved with endogenous defense mechanisms to protect against free radical
induced cell damage. Glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and Superoxide dismutases are three
primary antioxidant enzymes in our body, which involved in direct elimination of free radicals
from our body. They require micronutrient such as selenium, iron, copper, zinc, and
manganese as cofactors for their formation and optimum catalytic and effective antioxidant
activity. Noni contain all the trace minerals that help for optimum catalytic activity of those
three important antioxidant enzymes for an effective antioxidant defense mechanism.
Glutathione, ascorbic acid, alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, bilirubin, selenium, dihydrolipoic
acid, melatonin etc., as a whole play a protective role against free radicals tissue damages.
Ascorbic acid, alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene is abundant in number in Noni. Glutathione
(GSH) is the most significant component which directly quenches the free radicals and plays a
major role in oxidant and antioxidant reaction. Glutathione is a tripeptide made up of the
amino acids gamma-glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine. Noni contain all those glutathione
making amino acids in abundant number. Thus Noni increases the body’s glutathione level.
Noni stimulates more melatonin secretion from the pineal body.
Exogenous antioxidants: Contribution from Noni
A number of other dietary antioxidants known as phytonutrients or phytochemicals that are
being increasingly appreciated for their antioxidant activity. One example flavonoids which are
a group of polyphenolic compounds and having effective antioxidant property. Noni contain
150 above phytochemicals including all flavonoids. Flavonoids exhibit several biological
effects such as antitumoural, anti-ischaemic, anti-allergic, anti-hepatotoxic, anti-ulcerative, and
anti inflammatory activities. Noni is rich with many flavonoids.
Due to the inefficiency of our endogenous defense systems as well as highly exposure to
environmental factors such as, cigarette smoke, air pollutants, UV radiation, and also the
existence of some physiopathological situations like inflammation, ischaemia/reperfusion, the
free radicals are produced in excess, and therefore increasing amounts of antioxidants present
in Noni will be needed for diminishing the cumulative effect of oxidative damage in