Eating a balanced diet provides people with plenty of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Taking certain vitamins, minerals, and other compounds in supplement form may help reduce some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system and the areas of the body that the nerves control. It causes stiffness, difficulties with balance and coordination, and involuntary movements such as shaking.

A number of supplements — including various vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, whey protein powder, and coenzyme Q10 — may help, although more research is necessary to determine their effectiveness. Natural remedies such as dietary measures, dance, and acupuncture may also help.

In this article, find out more about how supplements, diet, and natural remedies may help people manage Parkinson’s disease.

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help lower levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which people sometimes call free radicals. ROS are byproducts of certain bodily processes. High levels of ROS can lead to oxidative stress and pose a risk of cell damage and inflammation.

Vitamin C is also useful in regenerating other antioxidants.

Vitamin C is present in many fruits and vegetables, including:

  • citrus fruits
  • strawberries
  • tomatoes
  • broccoli
  • white potatoes

A small case study from 2017 suggested that vitamin C deficiency may have an association with Parkinson’s disease. Vitamin C may help with brain function, so a lack of it may amplify symptoms of the condition.

The people with Parkinson’s disease in the case studies noticed an improvement in symptoms when they increased their vitamin C intake. However, there were only two participants.

Some laboratory and animal studies have found evidence that vitamin C may protect against Parkinson’s disease, but it is currently unclear whether it has the same effect in humans. More research is necessary to find out whether it can help.

Research associates vitamin E with improved cognitive performance. Foods rich in vitamin E include:

  • sunflower oil and seeds
  • almonds
  • peanuts
  • asparagus
  • avocado

The authors of a 2019 study concluded that foods containing vitamin E could be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease. The conclusions were based on the answers 200 people gave to a questionnaire and an interview. Half the participants had Parkinson’s disease and half did not. The researchers also carried out a mouse study, the results of which appeared to support their findings.

However, the authors of a 2021 review stated that there is not yet enough evidence to recommend taking vitamin E supplements as part of a treatment plan for Parkinson’s disease.

Various studies have indicated that omega-3 fatty acids might benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.

According to a 2022 review, omega-3s may benefit the body through a range of processes, such as:

  • preventing inflammation
  • supporting neuron growth and health
  • reducing production of oxidant species
  • helping the body process calcium

The author of a 2020 review notes that omega-3s may reduce inflammation and improve motor skills in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Foods that contain omega-3s include:

  • flaxseed
  • chia seeds
  • walnuts
  • oily fish, such as salmon

Vitamin D deficiency is common, and people with Parkinson’s disease have a higher risk of this deficiency than the general population. Vitamin D deficiency may also have a connection to disease severity and progression in people with Parkinson’s.

The body creates vitamin D during exposure to sunlight, but dietary vitamin D is also essential, and some people may need a supplement.

People with Parkinson’s disease should ask a healthcare professional to check their vitamin D levels. If a person’s vitamin D levels are low or deficient, a healthcare professional can recommend supplementation at an appropriate dose to increase them.

B vitamins are important for memory and coordination.

In a 2020 study, researchers looked at vitamin B6 levels in 24 people with Parkinson’s disease. All the participants had been using a combination of levodopa and carbidopa for at least 3 years. Most participants had low B6 levels, which could be partially due to the level and route of the treatment they were receiving. The researchers recommended monitoring vitamin B6 levels in people with Parkinson’s disease.

A 2020 statistical analysis found that people with Parkinson’s disease had low levels of vitamin B12, which may affect their cognitive function. If a doctor diagnoses low vitamin B12 levels, they will typically prescribe a high dose supplement or vitamin B12 injection.

Dietary sources of vitamin B12 include:

  • beef
  • clams
  • tuna
  • nutritional yeast
  • dairy products
  • fortified breakfast cereals

Some research has suggested that whey protein may help people with parkinsonism or Parkinson’s disease, but further studies are necessary to determine its effectiveness.

In 2016, scientists gave 15 people whey protein and 17 people soy protein supplements for 6 months. Compared with soy, whey protein significantly increased levels of an antioxidant, glutathione. Glutathione can help reduce levels of plasma homocysteine, an oxidative species that occurs in high levels in people with Parkinson’s disease.

In a 2019 study, people with parkinsonism or Parkinson’s disease consumed a whey protein-based nutritional formula enriched with leucine and vitamin D twice a day for 30 days. Then, they participated in a walking test. The results showed that their lower body function improved. The supplement also appeared to help them retain muscle mass.

Oily fish, organ meats, and whole grains contain coenzyme Q10, which promotes brain function.

A clinical trial is currently exploring whether coenzyme Q10 benefits people with Parkinson’s disease.

A description of this trial also states that people in a previous trial tolerated coenzyme Q10 well in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease and that it may help slow progressive impairment.

The Parkinson’s Foundation provides some diet tips for people with Parkinson’s disease:

  • Eat plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and foods rich in antioxidants.
  • Reduce sugar, salt, sodium, and saturated fat intake.
  • Partake in regular physical activity.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine intake, especially before bed.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Take medications with a glass of water.
  • Snack on nuts to improve brain health.
  • Discuss vitamin D levels with a doctor.

According to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, researchers have been looking at how the following remedies may benefit people with Parkinson’s disease:

  • acupuncture
  • dance
  • massage
  • tai chi
  • repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), which uses magnetic pulses to stimulate specific areas of the brain

These strategies appear generally safe for people with Parkinson’s disease, but rTMS is not suitable for people who have a pacemaker or experience seizures.

More research is necessary to learn about the effectiveness of these methods.

What are the risk factors for Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a condition that affects the nervous system.

Some supplements may help reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including:

  • vitamins B, C, D, and E
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • whey protein
  • coenzyme Q10

Other natural approaches that may be helpful include dance, acupuncture, massage, and tai chi.

However, more research is necessary to determine whether these remedies are beneficial. People should always check with a doctor before trying a new approach. They should also continue with the treatment plan their doctor prescribes for them.