Every drop of vegetable oil takes us further along the path to Parkinson’s Disease

406px-Paralysis_agitans-Male_Parkinson's_victim-1892
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Michael J Fox has it, the late Muhammad Ali had it, Billy Connolly has it and more than 100,000 Australians have it.  About 30 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are being diagnosed every day in this country.  If you want to avoid adding your name to that list there is one thing you should do.  Don’t eat seed oils.

James Parkinson, surgeon, geologist and palaeontologist first described what we now call Parkinson’s disease in his paper on shaking palsy in 1817.  He was born on April 11, 1755, which is why April 11 is World Parkinson’s Day. Dr Parkinson described a condition which caused involuntary tremors when a limb is at rest, rigidity, slowness of movement and a propensity to bend forwards and slow gait when walking.  There was no known cause or cure.

We now know that Parkinson’s is caused by the death of cells in our pars compacta –the part of our brain which controls motor function (the Substantia nigra pars compacta if you want to get all technical).  That part of the brain is a central switching room for movement, attention, learning and reward-seeking (which makes sure we keep eating and having sex).

The pars compacta exerts its control using dopamine. When everything is working well, our bodies are inhibited from moving by the part of our brain which contains the pars compacta (the basal ganglia for Latin freaks).  When we decide to move something (our eyes or limbs etc), the pars compacta squirts out dopamine to take the brakes off.

If the neurons responsible for producing the dopamine are damaged, Parkinson’s disease is the result.  Our brain is pretty durable, because we lose around 50% of our dopamine manufacturing neurons before there are any symptoms.  But once they are gone, these neurons are gone forever.  As the numbers decrease, a Parkinson’s sufferer has to exert greater and greater effort to produce movement.

The only effective treatment is medication which can increase dopamine production  by squeezing a little more out of the remaining neurons (we can’t just give dopamine as it isn’t able to cross the blood-brain barrier).  Obviously if the destruction of the neurons continues (as it does in most) that is only a temporary solution.  Before medication was introduced in the 1970s a Parkinson’s patient was expected to live 9.5 years after diagnosis.  The drug assisted life expectancy is now 15 years.

Because the disease is the result of cumulative destruction, it is most prevalent in people over 50 but 20 per cent of cases are diagnosed between 20 and 50.  Michael J Fox was diagnosed when he was just 30.

There are very few places in the world where accurate long term statistics have been kept on the incidence of Parkinson’s disease, but they have done just that in Olmstead County, Minnesota (pop: 100,000).  There, researchers have concluded annual new cases almost doubled between 1944 and 1984 (using consistent diagnostic rules).  And like Type II Diabetes, other studies tell us that Parkinson’s occurs much less frequently in populations not exposed to a Western Diet (processed food).

The official position on the cause of Parkinson’s disease is that nobody has the slightest clue what causes the dopamine producing neurons to die.  The only official risk factor is age.  But I think some dots need joining and when that is done the culprit becomes very clear.

We know that a diet high in seed oils causes the levels of Omega-6 fats in our cell membranes to rise rapidly.  Those fats react quickly with oxygen and push the body into a state of cascading cell damage called oxidative stress.   We also know that a major product of the oxidation of omega-6 fats is something with the charming name of 4-Hydroxynonenal (I’ll just use its street name of 4-HNE).  And we know that 4-HNE, whilst generally dangerous, is especially toxic to the neurons responsible for producing dopamine in our brain.

There, dots joined (it wasn’t that hard was it?).  Eating seed oils (or anything which contains large amounts of omega-6 fats) induces the production of a molecule which we know kills the neurons we depend upon for dopamine production.  Kill enough of them and you have Parkinson’s disease.

Thanks to the efforts of the processed food industry (aided and abetted by the Heart Foundation), our diet is now completely saturated with omega-6 fats.  Everything in a package uses it.  Every deep frier uses it.  Every baker uses it.  And every little bite of it is taking out the neurons you depend on to keep you from the ravages of Parkinson’s disease.

Nothing I can say will restore the neurons you’ve already killed but I can stop you killing any more.

Don’t eat seed oils.

Image: A man with Parkinson’s disease displaying a flexed walking posture pictured in 1892. Photo appeared in Nouvelle Iconographie de la Salpètrière, vol. 5. By Albert Londe (1858-1917) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Join the discussion 47 Comments

  • Linda Mugniet says:

    Interesting. We have been brainwashed again for profit. How long will it take people to realise that vegetable oils are bad? I suppose it’s not in the food manufacturers interest.

  • Andrew says:

    I did not know there were so much seed oils around in 1892

  • David Gillespie says:

    There weren’t Andrew. I’m not saying omega-6 is the only cause of Parkinson’s just like I’m not saying sugar is the only cause of Type II Diabetes. I am saying that (in each case) they are responsible for the rapid escalation in the numbers of people affected.

  • Neil says:

    Seems to me I long ago read that L-tyrosine breaks down into l-dopa, and l-dopa can cross the blood brain barrier and with the assistance of vitamin B6 then convert to dopamine.

    In any event,six years ago I increasingly was developing neurological symptoms; shaking hands, especially when raising a glass or fork, or writing, foot occasionally dragging when walking, bad balance, occasionally drooling from corner of my mouth; and occasionally difficulty in swallowing. I began taking large doses of iodine along with selenium and L-tyrosine in an effort to improve my lethargy, and an unexpected result about 4 months into this regime, was that my neurological symptoms abated about 50%.

    Fast forward to a year ago and I started a ketogenic diet simply to lose weight. Part of that diet was coconut oil to increase the fat intake, and my carb intake was very low (20 grams daily). The unintended consequence of this diet was a further abatement of my neurological degeneration so that now my symptoms are maybe 5% of what they were at the worst. At the time I began the ketogenic diet I was unaware of the damaging effect of unsaturated fats, but since I was eating a lot of steaks, butter, cream, and coconut oil and little else I accidentally avoided unsaturated fats.

    I don’t know if the improvement when taking iodine/selenium/L-tyrosine/B6 (and other vitamins) was a result of the iodine or the effect on l-dopa, but I suspect it was both. Iodine is actually used to test if a fat is saturated or unsaturated, the unsaturated fats taking up iodine at the double carbon bond. I think this would happen in our bodies also which is why iodine can stabilize the unstable unsaturated fats, essentially acting as an antioxidant. Of course the paltry amount of iodine in most diets would not go very far in mitigating the enormous consumption of unsaturated fats, which is why everyone should pay attention to their iodine intake.

    I attribute the improvement from the ketogenic diet to the presence of saturated fats, and the absence of unsaturated fats and carbohydrates. I am 70 years old and plan on living the last quarter of my life healthier than I have ever been.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  • Michael says:

    Would eating seeds eg. linseed, pumkin, sunflower etc. cause the same problems as the refined oils

  • David Gillespie says:

    Not unless you eat an awful lot of them Michael. If they are just a garnish I wouldn’t worry about them.

  • Jenny says:

    Your thoughts on Coconut Oil? I use it because I like the taste in preference to Olive oil.

  • David Gillespie says:

    Its all good Jenny

  • Ben says:

    Is Olive Oil ok?

  • David Gillespie says:

    Yes Olive oil is fine Ben

  • kevin kalchthaler says:

    Does vegetable oil that evaporates in the air during cooking pose a substantial risk to workers, and are people who are not directly in contact but are in the area at risk? I was at different times during my work history working in kitchens in my time with the Navy , National Guard, at hotel, restaurants, and college dining hall kitchens-and wonder if this also multiplies the risk along with consuming vegetable oil prepared food items?

  • David Gillespie says:

    Good question Kevin – I’ll look into it

  • […] Bran and Safflower oil) are a significant part of the disease process for Motor Neuron Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Macular Degeneration, Multiple Sclerosis (and other auto-immune diseases) all […]

  • tia maria says:

    Hi David
    Please keep connecting the dots….trauma of any sort reduces production of dopamine ….remember the 1:1 ratio necessary for humans when it comes to “essential” fats….that is 1:1 of omega 3 to omega 6….also remember the non existent testing when it comes to especially mercury toxicity….a real downer for dopamine….let me tell you because iron and mercury toxicity found their home in me my dear one…..let’s keep praying for better testing of food sensitivities and toxins….please keep connecting ALL these dots as well…

  • […] they are likely to be heavily involved in Alzheimer’s disease, MND, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.  They are also implicated in chronic inflammation, stroke and heart […]

  • Amanda says:

    What about Evening Primrose Oil? I have been taking it 3 times a day for severe PMS.

  • Adrienne Olivier says:

    I personally believe there is a direct link. We went ketogenic for my sons epilepsy a year and a half ago. For three years before that I was having tremors and developed Spasmodic Dysphonia and was needing lasering and botox into my vocal cords at great expense. I can now talk clearly and have not needed anymore botox since January 2015.

  • Ari says:

    Thanks for this information of seed oils! Here’s another study of 4-HNE:
    http://www.nature.com/cdd/journal/v20/n12/full/cdd2013138a.html
    They have given 4-HNE a nickname: a Serial Killer. Considering all the diseases it is responsible of, that is no exaggeration.

  • Ute says:

    I recommend reading the book “The Big Fat Surprise: why butter, meat, and cheese belong in a healthy diet” by Nina Teicholz – amongst other things she also explains how the fumes that evaporate from cooking with vegetable oils is a health thread to anyone exposed to them.

  • David Gillespie says:

    Or you could get my book Big Fat Lies … http://davidgillespie.org/books/big-fat-lies/ … re the inhalation risk, I have written about that recently here: http://davidgillespie.org/why-more-women-who-dont-smoke-are-getting-lung-cancer/

  • Barry Barwick says:

    David
    Thanks for advice on seed oils. Are peanuts a seed and do they contain same oil. is eating most peanuts have the same affect from vegetable & seed oils.

  • P says:

    Any references showing a link with ‘vegetable oil’ consumption and Parkinson’s? Also be aware there are many, many different types of these oils with very different characteristics (after all olive is one, so is sunflower)

  • David Gillespie says:

    I use the term seed oil as a convenient shorthand – when I say it I mean mostly the things used by the processed food industry in our food – so eg Canola (Rapeseed), Sunflower, Rice Bran, Grapeseed, soybean and cottonseed. My criteria is not so much where they come from as their omega-6 content, it just happens that most are from seeds and legumes. Coconut oil, Avocado Oil, Macadamia oil, sustainable palm oil and olive oil all have acceptable fat profiles. Peanuts are borderline – some varieties are ok others not … I’d generally avoid peanut oil. As for the nut (legume) itself, its ok to eat whole foods (think garnish or occasional snack) its just I wouldn’t make them a primary part of what I ate.

  • David Gillespie says:

    See my reply to Barry as to what oils I’m talking about and why. References are linked within the article.

  • C Mckay says:

    I’m taking a flaxseed supplement and we also cook with cold pressed rapeseed. Should I stop with both?

  • Laura Foster says:

    Neil, I would love to hear an update. How are you doing two years later? Are you still on a Keto diet? Are symptoms still abated? How much iodine are you taking on a daily basis? How much B6? Thanks- Laura

  • Rena says:

    So if I use ground sunflower and pumpkin seeds to make cookies for my 5y/o…that would be problematic???

  • David Gillespie says:

    I wouldn’t do it.

  • David Gillespie says:

    Flaxseed is unusual in that it is dominated by omega-3 – even so most people don’t need to supplement with it (I talk about this at length in my book Big Fat Lies). I wouldn’t cook with rapeseed oil (canola) – this is one of the reasons why: http://davidgillespie.org/why-more-women-who-dont-smoke-are-getting-lung-cancer/

  • Trev says:

    How about Hemp oil? It says it’s a good fat- but has nearly 60% Omega6. Hmmm…

  • kathleen b brown says:

    What about tahini (slight roasted sesame seeds made into a butter)?

  • Trev says:

    Pal Oil is not too hot, either! http://www.lifeprevention.com/2016/06/04/nutella-is-poisonous-for-you-and-your-kids/
    Quote: A Dutch analysis, released in 2003, weighed data from 35 clinical studies and found that palmitic acid significantly increased the ratio of total cholesterol to so-called “good cholesterol,” a widely recognized risk factor for heart disease.

  • David Gillespie says:

    I’d avoid it. Its about 24% polyunsaturated and almost all of that is omega-6.

  • David Gillespie says:

    I’d avoid it

  • Esther phelps says:

    David, I am taking a product called Rain, another Soul, mostly from seeds. Is this harmful?

  • David Gillespie says:

    I’m not familiar with the product – are you able to provide a link?

  • Carolyn says:

    Hi David, l have been taking evening primrose oil for last 6 years for menopause symptoms as an alternative to HRT. My naturopath suggested to take l capsule BD. I know it’s Omega 6 and a plant based oil. Your thoughts & what l should take if not ?

  • Bruce says:

    Well, I’m 80, have eaten Olive Oil, Canola etc all my life. No Parkinsons, but my sister is afflicted.

  • Carol henson says:

    What about evening primrose oil?

  • David Gillespie says:

    There is some research that suggest that the GLA in Primrose Oil is protective but I need to look at it in more detail. I’ve had a lot of requests like yours in the last few days – will look into it and get a well researched article out soon.

  • David Gillespie says:

    There is some research that suggest that the GLA in Primrose Oil is protective but I need to look at it in more detail. I’ve had a lot of requests like yours in the last few days – will look into it and get a well researched article out soon.

  • Norman Canter, M.D. says:

    Vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause a syndrome that is like Parkinsonism clinically. It is more common in vegetarians and those over 65 years of age who have achlorhydria. Please comment on the hazard of meat free diets and the importance of blood tests to insure adequate B-12 levels.

  • Sandra Watts says:

    David. I make my own salad dressing with flax seed oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and I believed I was doing right by my family…..should I remove the flax seed oil? I thought it was so good for us.

  • Sandra Watts says:

    What oils contain the appropriate ratios of what we should consume daily for omega 3-6-9

  • Deborah says:

    Check out You Tube videos by Dr John McDougall on oil. I was just diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and thanks to Clint Paddison and the Paddison Program, I have seen significant improvement in pain levels, range of motion and inflammation. I was already eating a very plain and simple and clean diet, but now that I have removed all oils, I am healing.

  • Neha says:

    Hi David
    I read somewhere that black seed oil is a natural cure for Parkinson’s .. can you comment please.

  • David Gillespie says:

    Black Seed oil contain a bioactive compound called Thymoquinone – it has been shown to lower the neuronal damage caused by oxidation – here’s a study on it https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3985249/

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