Coffee for Parkinson’s?

Coffee for Parkinson’s?


A Macrobiotic & Oriental Medicine Approach

By Steve Hoog, Macrobiotic Practitioner

Several scientific studies have indicated that a certain degree of coffee drinking may reduce the risk of getting Parkinson’s Disease. It is certainly true of males, but the results are mixed for females.

Male risk:

Studies in Spain, Sweden, and Germany have shown a reduced risk for males with high coffee consumption. In Hawaii a study was done with 8,000 men over a median 27 years that showed a 5 fold reduction risk with more than 4 cups per day compared to non-consumers. Ingestion of caffeine from other non-coffee sources indicated the same thing. A study in 2014 failed to show that, but a global study of many tests indicated an average of about 25-31% reduction. Some of those studies revealed an 80% reduction with over 4 cups daily.

Female risk:

It has been found that if women are taking Hormone Replacement Therapy and drinking coffee, they are actually more susceptible. Both HRT and coffee show positive results individually, but if taken together they are worse. Specifically, if a woman on HRT were drinking more than 5 cups of coffee per day, she was 1½ times more likely to get Parkinson’s than a heavy coffee drinker who did not take HRT. The same woman if drinking less than 5 cups per day would have the same good results as men.

Coffee apparently prevents the loss of dopamine producing nerve cells. The medical field is not yet recommending drinking lots of coffee as a preventative, but they are continuing studies in hopes of isolating specific ingredients for special therapy.

 The Macrobiotic and Oriental Medicine approach:

Since coffee is an extreme food, the Oriental approach to any illness is not to battle it, but to re-establish balance within the body. One balance is a contraction / expansion balance. Some foods have a strong contractive effect such as eggs, salt and red meat. Others have a strong expansive effect such as sugar, drugs, alcohol, ice cream and COFFEE.

Coffee is out of the range of daily food and would be recommended only for occasional or rare use because it can cause:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Jittery nerves
  • Focused thinking which can become ungrounded and unfocused Caffeine interacts with some medications including thyroid medication, the depression drug, Cipro, and heartburn drug, Tagamet
  • It increases blood sugar levels making it harder for those with type 2 diabetes to manage their insulin
  • It may slightly raise blood pressure.
  • It is very acidic and irritating the gastrointestinal tract can also contribute to acid reflux problems. Too much acidity can help cause numerous problems and contributes to immune system depletion.

Grains, beans and vegetables are more central in the Oriental contractive / expansive effect and are the mainstay way of eating.

Michio Kushi, noted Macrobiotic teacher, used to say it was a good food for planning, but not necessarily for manifesting.

The Oriental approach sees Parkinson’s as a problem with highly toxic substances affecting the liver which has a strong control over the neuromuscular system.  The preventative would be to always be aware of toxins in one’s environment and eating organic foods.  But, living near roads that are well traveled, living near farms where there is a lot of spraying, working in a dental office or other places where there is exposure to toxic elements, exposure to new car out-gassing, or exposure to new furniture that is out-gassing are also things to be aware of.  Home well water may be contaminated. Numerous other sources of toxins may be affecting the liver and the muscular system.

Scientific testing for every one of these elements can take time, but the use of Applied Kinesiology, also known as muscle testing, can quickly help identify what toxins are causing the problem.  The next step would be to avoid these toxins in the future − not always an easy task.

Pay regular attention to your liver by:

  • Eating plenty of leafy green vegetables
  • Using blood cleansing herbs like burdock or red clover
  • Including seaweed in your diet that can help attract toxins and eliminate them from the body

Steve’s recommendations:

Coffee’s effects will vary depending on what your present constitution and condition are. It is my contention that Parkinson’s is not a coffee deficiency disease and because it has extreme effects should not be considered as a preventative or as therapy.

Generally eat a plant based diet emphasizing grains, beans and vegetables with a small amount of organic free range animal food or wild and sustainably caught fish, if desired.

Each person’s diet would be slightly different because people may have other conditions that may need to be addressed. Some people have conditions that are too contractive or too expansive and the diet must reflect that to make balance.

In conclusion, I see no reason to look for a “one shot approach” to knocking out Parkinson’s Disease.  Finding some magic bullet such as coffee or some derivative of it may not be right for you. The response, I like, is to maintain a diet that sufficiently balances the body’s systems with some tweaking here or   there, depending on one’s overall condition. I think it is vital to assess the toxins involved and limit or avoid exposure. Changing your way of eating and including movement modalities like Tai Chi, Feldenkrais Method® or Coordination Pattern™ Training can go a long way to maintain a normal functioning lifestyle. There is no reason to use an extreme food or a derivative to avoid or reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease which may cause other problems later.

For your specific health recommendation, call Steve at 610-756-6867

Parkinson’s Disease Retreat for patients and care-givers. Saturday, March 18, 2017, 9:15 am – 4:30 pm

Register early to reserve your space at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center, 628 Twin Ponds Rd., Breinigsville, PA 18031   For more information about Steve Hoog visit