Parkinson's disease could be treated with natural food ingredients - study

“Currently there is no preventive medicine for Parkinson's disease," OCU Associate Prof. Akiko Kojima-Yuasa said in a statement. "We only have coping treatments."

sesame cookies 521 (photo credit: Bob Fila/Chicago Tribune/ MCT)
sesame cookies 521
(photo credit: Bob Fila/Chicago Tribune/ MCT)
Researchers have found that sesaminol, "purified from industrial sesame seed by-product," can be used to prevent the onset of Parkinson's disease, Osaka City University (OCU) announced late last month.
The Japan-based research group said that while there is no cure-all for Parkinson's, the preventative treatment could be used to prevent neuronal damage that would decrease the production of dopamine.
In vitro studies have already shown that sesaminol has a number of beneficial factors when it comes to handling oxidative stress, and in vivo experiments have shown that a steady portion of the sesame by-product in a person's diet increase the production of dopamine and motor function capabilities, according to the university.
“Currently there is no preventive medicine for Parkinson's disease," OCU Associate Prof. Akiko Kojima-Yuasa said in a statement. "We only have coping treatments."
Sesaminol is found in the shells of sesame seeds. Researchers found that sesame seed shells that were part of the process of extracting sesame seed oils have an abundance of this chemical within them.
Parkinson's, a progressive disease that affects millions of people worldwide, produces tremors and stiffness as well as problems with walking and speaking. Despite limited research, intense exercise has been associated with improving patients' lives.
The researchers found that the dopamine levels among mice with Parkinson's, which are comparable to those seen in human Parkinson's patients, increased following a 36-day steady diet of sesaminol.
Accompanying the rise in dopamine levels came increased motor function and benefits to their intestinal track as well.
Considering this potential treatment is derived from a natural source, Kojima-Yuasa says that the new therapy "prevents diseases with natural foods," which could "greatly promote societal health.”

Reuters contributed to this report.