Brain Health & Vegan Diet ~ with Dr Teitelbaum – your SV Ayurveda Newsletter Dec 1, 2022 – #45, Vol 11

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Brain Health


Vegan Diet

Dr Marianne Teitelbaum

Parkinson’s Disease results from the death of specific brain cells. These nerve cells are located in a part of the brain called the Substantia Nigra. These cells are responsible for making dopamine, a brain chemical which helps to control movement. Without dopamine, the cells that control movement can’t send proper messages to the muscles, which makes it hard to control the muscles. The disease leads to shaking and tremors and trouble walking and moving, and tends to get worse over time. When 80% of dopamine is lost, Parkinson’s Disease symptoms start to occur. 

Parkinson’s Disease most often develops after age 50 and is one of the most common nervous system problems in older adults. Modern medicine does not yet understand why the dopamine-producing nerve cells of the Substantia Nigra begin to die off in some individuals. 

However, in Ayurveda, we have a different understanding, based on what we cognize in the patient’s pulse.


What we find is that two very hot toxins, known as ama visha and garavisha can burn the delicate neurons in the brain. Amavisha occurs inside your body whenever the food doesn’t digest correctly, which could either come from improper digestion and/or be due to the fact that the food is too heavy. Instead of the food absorbing into your bloodstream, it remains in the digestive tract and rots and ferments, causing a highly acidic toxin which can burn the delicate nerve tissue.

The other type of toxin, known as garavisha, are toxins from outside the body, such as xenobiotics which are air pollution, pesticides, skin care products and the other 80,000 chemicals we have allowed into our environment which can make their way into our bodies.

Garavisha, like amavisha, is also very hot and piercing and can burn its way right through the body’s tissues, and wind up in the nerve tissue, killing and destroying the neurons in the brain.

In fact, it has been shown clinically that over half the patients who present with Parkinson’s had been exposed to pesticides from farming practices. All nasty chemicals have an affinity to go into the fat cells and get stuck there. And…the nerve cells are made of fat. So is the protective covering to the nerve cells, known as the myelin sheath.  


But as always, everyone comes to this disease in their own unique way, which means that every person has their own reasons for developing this (or any) disease, and all those reasons must be addressed before we use our Ayurvedic pharmacy of herbs, specifically in this case, Mucuna, which helps boost dopamine levels in humans. As you can imagine, this is especially helpful for those with Parkinson’s Disease. So as usual, the ancient doctors of Ayurveda said that before any prescription is written, we must first identify the factors that are bringing about the condition. Investigate and isolate the root cause – and tell them to stop doing those things which are actually creating the imbalance, causing the problem to start with.

So while these two types of toxins could be contributing and causing Parkinson’s Disease, especially when combined with a genetic predisposition, there are potentially dozens of other factors which could lead to this disease as well.

Vegan Diet & Animal Fat

For example, I have personally seen patients who were on an extremely low fat vegan diet suffer Parkinson’s at a very young age as their nerve tissue literally shriveled up from lack of cholesterol in the diet. Again, the nerve tissue is both made up of and uses lots of cholesterol to function correctly. The protective covering to the nerve tissue, known as the myelin sheath is also made of up cholesterol. And cholesterol is abundantly present in the synaptic membranes which aid in nerve signal transmission. This means that the nerve conducts an impulse, but it has to jump from one nerve cell to the next and in between is a gap called the synapse where the signals jump across. And this synapse or gap is loaded with cholesterol. Which is why the ancient seers of Ayurveda recommended lots of whole milk and ghee in the diet. They stated in their textbooks that these were important for the proper development and function of the brain. So in these patients you must change the diet to incorporate good quality fats, such as cultured ghee, boiled whole non-homogenized milk from grass-fed cows or goats, soft curd cheeses, home-made yogurt, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Research out of Harvard has shown that consuming 3 or more servings of low fat dairy each day was associated with a higher risk of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It might yet take us longer to – once and for all – realize that a low fat diet is actually dangerous to our health. While yes we want to avoid the hydrogenated processed fats, we should be weary of jumping to the conclusion that all fat is bad for us. 


And the same is true for milk, We raise the cows incorrectly, feed them grains, inject them with antibiotics and hormones, AND homogenize their milk. And on top of all that, we consume the milk incorrectly: we drink it cold, mix it with salty or other foods it shouldn’t be mixed with. We literally poisoning ourselves and it is nothing short of a miracle that the body still tolerates and processes things for a while before it no longer can tolerate it. 

But just because we make all these mistakes when it comes to milk, it doesn’t mean we need to cut out all milk from our diets. We just need to search for non-homogenized milk from grass-fed cows that weren’t fed antibiotics and hormones. Then boil the milk preferably with some spices and take it on an empty stomach. Milk consumed this way is highly nourishing, not only to our nerve and brain cells, but to all the 7 tissues which it nourishes immediately. Unlike any other food you can think of, milk nourishes all our 7 tissues immediately. Usually it may take up to one month to nourish all 7 tissues through a regular diet. 

Milk has the unique quality to absorb rapidly into the body’s tissues and create Ojas, a life-giving compound which keeps us strong and healthy into old age. Any other food you eat takes a month to develop Ojas as it has to slowly make its way through the 7 tissues of the body (blood plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow and reproductive fluids). The food has to spend 3-5 days in each tissue before it can form Ojas at the end of the 7th tissue. 

Also keep in mind that goat’s milk, taken in the same way (boiled and taken on an empty stomach or cooked into grains without salt) is just as good as cow’s milk. The nutrients in goat’s milk are more bioavailable to us, which means that for example, the fat molecules are even smaller than those found in cow’s milk so they are taken up into the cells much easier than cow’s milk. And it is lighter and easier to digest for those who have a lactose intolerance to cow’s milk. It is even recommended for those who don’t have any issues with cow’s milk because of its numerous health benefits.



I have also seen people who are exposed to too many electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s)and radiation have their neurotransmitters disrupted since this type of toxin can also go deep into the physiology, affecting nerve transmission, neurons and can also create cell death. So in these cases we have to use all of our protocols to help negate the negative effects of these EMF’s and if possible have the patient avoid them as much as possible.


And nowadays, even modern medicine is researching disruption of the gut micro biome in possibly playing a role in developing Parkinson’s. This is definitely another underlying factor because the disruption of the friendly bacteria is the first imbalance we see in hundreds of diseases, so while it may be a contributing factor to developing Parkinson’s Disease, we actually see it playing a role in the development of most, if not all diseases.


In Ayurveda we also look at the role of the 3 doshas, known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha, as they too are out of balance in each and every disease and symptom we suffer from. So it is important to understand what these three doshas are, what they mean for your health, and how to properly balance them, otherwise their imbalances could also play a role in the patient eventually developing Parkinson’s Disease, again, if there is a genetic predisposition to do so.


We always need to look at the bedtime, as the whole body, mind and spirit depends on an early bedtime, since humans were made to be awake when the sun comes up and asleep when the sun goes down. Breaking this very important law of nature also plays a huge role in the development of many of the diseases we hear about.

Time in the sun can boost your dopamine levels as the skin absorbs sunlight and produces Vitamin D, which in turn triggers the production of dopamine as well as serotonin. And in fact a 2018 study found that Vitamin D may protect damage to the neurons that produce dopamine.

It is through advanced pulse diagnosis that we can gain access to this very important type of information which is not available to other types of practitioners. Which is why modern medicine is still in the dark as to what is causing most diseases, whereas we can see clearly in the pulse all of the imbalances leading to these diseases.

So as you can see, with Parkinson’s Disease, it isn’t enough to just take a dopamine-derived medicine or even mucuna, which contains naturally occurring dopamine. If you do that, your results will be minimal. You must at the same time identify and address all the problems which caused you to burn out the neurons in the brain that produce dopamine to prevent further damage and possibly reverse whatever damage has been done so far.

By doing the hard work of actively involving yourself in your health you will reap the benefits that come with developing a strong physiology. I’ve personally taken care of patients who addressed their Parkinson’s in this way and lived long productive lives as they effectively slowed down the progress of their condition.

Thank you, 

Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum

Cinnaminson, New Jersey


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