What is the best protein powder for Parkinson’s?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for Parkinson’s. It is additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, not protein isolates – 99% of supplements fail to meet at least one of these criteria. This makes it perfect for people with Parkinson’s disease, as well as for people just looking to boost their protein intake without the processing and added junk. If you suffer from candidiasis, crohn’s, diverticulitis, gastritis, gastroparesis, GERD, leaky gut, IBS, IBD, SIBO, ulcerative colitis, or any other digestive disease, order samples to see if our protein powder is right for you.
“It has ingredients you can actually pronounce and is freaking delicious.”
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for Parkinson’s.
What is Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement. It occurs when the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain gradually degenerate and die, leading to a shortage of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control movement. This causes a number of symptoms, including tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder, meaning symptoms typically worsen over time. In addition to movement problems, people with Parkinson’s disease may also experience other symptoms such as cognitive impairment, depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping.
The exact cause of Parkinson’s disease is not yet fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but treatments such as medication, surgery, and physical therapy can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life for people living with the disease.
Are protein shakes good for Parkinson’s?
In addition to motor symptoms, Parkinson’s disease is also manifested with non-motor symptoms like weight loss and malnutrition, both which can negatively impact quality of life. Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) is one of the main reasons why Parkinson’s patients do not eat enough. It affects more than 80% of patients. Not eating enough, especially not enough protein, is associated with slower wound healing, increased risk of falling, and a greater risk of getting sick.
A drinkable source of calories and protein is often needed to get Parkinson’s patients the nutrients they need to stay healthy. This is where protein supplements can help. Protein shakes and powders are an easy way to boost your protein intake, and ensure that you are meeting your nutritional needs.
That said, people with Parkinson’s disease may need to be mindful of their protein intake because it can affect the absorption of levodopa, a medication commonly used to manage Parkinson’s symptoms. Levodopa is converted to dopamine in the brain, and protein can interfere with this conversion, reducing the effectiveness of the medication. People with Parkinson’s who are taking levodopa may need to limit their protein to a certain time of day. This could mean reducing the amount of protein eaten early in the day to help increase the body’s response to medication, or eating most of their protein in the evening as a slower response to medication may not be as important at this time.
What is the best protein shake for Parkinson’s?
There are two types of protein shakes: ready-to-drink (store-bought) protein shakes, and protein shakes made with protein powder. In order to make a protein shake for Parkinson’s with protein powder, you have to mix the powder with milk or water. This requires a blender or a shaker bottle, and a little extra time and effort. Some people, prioritizing convenience, prefer to buy ready-to-drink protein shakes, but if they knew what they were drinking, they would probably feel sick to their stomach.
Ready-to-drink protein shakes are full of emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavors. Ingredients like these improve characteristics like taste, texture, and shelf stability, but can cause uncomfortable side effects and long-term gut damage. More and more research shows that disruptions to the composition and function of the gut microbiome (the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food) can play a role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.
A recent meta-analysis found that Parkinson’s Disease is often preceded by gastrointestinal symptoms, and that the gut microbiome of Parkinson’s disease patients significantly differs from those of healthy adults. This is why I recommend that you make your own protein shakes for Parkinson’s with protein powder. That said, not all protein powders are created equal either, and many contain the same additives found in ready-to-drink protein shakes!
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One of the reasons why we make the best protein powder for Parkinson’s is that we do not use food additives. Most protein powders, on the other hand, are full of food additives. Although not necessarily bad for you in small quantities, additives can add up quickly (especially if you drink a protein shake every day), and disrupt regulatory pathways in the intestine, which can result in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and systemic inflammatory disorders.
When buying protein powder, one ingredient to avoid in particular is artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are among the most harmful food additives in the long term as they alter the composition of your gut microbiota. This can lead to serious, chronic GI problems, widespread inflammation, and permanent damage to the gut microbiome.
Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:
acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol
When it comes to identifying food additives, go with your gut. 😉 As a rule of thumb, additives are ingredients that you cannot pronounce. Food additives are not the only thing to avoid when buying protein powder, however. There are several other ingredients that can upset your stomach.
Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain.
*This is the actual ingredient list of one of the best-selling protein powders in the United States.
drink wholesome is dairy-free.
Another reason why we make the best protein powder for Parkinson’s is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many protein powders, on the other hand, are made with whey and casein, which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production. According to a meta-analysis, dairy intake may increase risk of Parkinson’s disease in certain groups. Men of European ancestry with a genetic marker predicting dairy consumption, for example, have significantly greater risk of Parkinson’s disease than individuals without the marker.
Dairy-based proteins are known to cause digestive issues. This is especially true for people with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why we make the best protein powder for Parkinson’s is that we do not use protein isolates. Most protein powders, on the contrary, are made with protein concentrates and/or isolates, foods stripped of everything but the protein. They appear on the ingredient list as “pea protein” and “whey protein” as opposed to “peas” and “whey.”
I will not go into the details, but protein concentrates and isolates undergo heavy mechanical and chemical processing before becoming protein powder. Sometimes, manufacturers use chemical solvents like hexane to isolate (separate) the protein from the food. This means that what you end up putting into your body looks nothing like real food.
If you think about it, your gut was designed to digest naturally occurring foods, not laboratory formulated imitations, so if you feed it anything but real food, it might get upset. The long term implications of eating processed foods are still not well understood, but more and more research is finding that it can alter the composition of your gut microbiota, and lead to permanent damage to your gut microbiome.
Your gut does more than just help you to digest food; it protects against pathogens, educates your immune system, and affects directly or indirectly most of your physiologic functions. An altered microbiome might therefore contribute to Parkinson’s disease pathology. For instance, a number of studies have shown that there are fewer short chain fatty acids in the guts of people with Parkinson’s as compared to healthy controls. Short chain fatty acids can enter the brain and exert neuroprotective effects, so having few of them could contribute to a lack of neuroprotection. It follows that it is in your best interest to avoid protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.
Instead of protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein powder for Parkinson’s with egg whites and almonds. Egg whites are simply pasteurized and dried before becoming protein powder. Almonds are just roasted, pressed, and ground. Minimally-processed ingredients like these are an easy to digest, gut-friendly alternative to protein concentrates and isolates.
Unless you have a sensitivity or allergy to eggs, egg white protein is the best protein for your gut. Egg whites are low in fiber, low-FODMAP, naturally alkaline, and have the highest protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) of any whole food. Our customers have experienced fewer digestive issues with egg white protein powder than with any other type of protein powder. If you cannot eat eggs, try our vegan almond protein powder. We prefer almonds to other plant protein sources because they are more gut-friendly. Research suggests that almonds possess prebiotic properties that can improve the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome.
Finally, our protein powders may even help reduce inflammation. Egg whites contain a variety of anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds, and almonds reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, a marker of inflammation associated with increased heart disease risk.
“I’ve had Crohn’s disease for 20+ years and it’s always been hard to find a protein powder my stomach can handle. I’ve had no problem digesting drink wholesome AND it tastes great. I highly recommend this protein powder if you have IBS or Crohn’s.” – Jesse
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for Parkinson’s disease.