This page contains answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive from those with Parkinson’s disease in regards to getting started with amino acid therapy.
NOTE: At the current time, we are not accepting additional clients outside the US or Canada. International clients can contact NeuroResearch at www.neurosupport.com to find a qualified provider.
Steps to Setting up an Appointment
- Complete a UPDRS self assessment and send to customercare(a)naturalpathhealthcenter(dot)com
- Someone at our office will score the questionnaire and get back to you on whether you are a good candidate for amino acid therapy.
- If you are a good candidate for amino acid therapy, we will set up an initial consultation with Dr. Oler.
Once it has been determined that you are a good fit for amino acid therapy, the process begins with an initial consultation (via phone or Skype) with Dr. Oler. The cost for this is $60.00 and usually lasts 20-30 minutes. At this visit, we will review your health history and determine how to properly start amino acid therapy.
After the initial consultation, you will meet with Dr. Oler (in office or via phone or Skype) on a weekly or bi-weekly basis (depending on your needs) until you are stabilized (this usually takes between 1 and 2 months. At some point, urine testing will likely be used to determine if adjustments need to be made to your recommended therapy.
Once you are stabilized, you will generally meet with Dr. Oler 1-2x/month until you are optimized; this process usually takes 4-9 months.
We realize that knowing the costs involved can help when making health care decisions. The following information should give you a better idea of average initial and ongoing costs involved when using amino acid therapy.
We use balanced amino acid formulas made by CHK Nutrition to restore proper neurotransmitter function. The steps taken can vary with each person, however, most people with Parkinson’s Disease will start at Level 1 dosing, which uses four products: NeuroReplete, CysReplete, D5 Mucuna 40% and Pyridoxal 5’-Phosophate. NeuroReplete costs $112.52/bottle ( a bottle can last 1-4 months depending on need); CysReplete costs $63.90/bottle (a bottle lasts 1 month); D5 Mucuna 40% powder costs $218.35 (one bottle can last between 2-6 weeks depending on need); and Pyridoxal 5’-Phosphate costs $20.00 (a bottle can last between 2-4 weeks) for a total average cost of about $300-700/month. Additional supplementation will most likely be necessary and the cost can go as high as $900.00/month for the supplements in some cases.
The initial consultation is $60. Follow up consultations are billed at $240.00/hour and generally last 15-30 minutes (you only pay for the time used (in 5 minute increments). You will meet with Dr. Oler weekly or bi-weekly for the first 1-2 months and 1-2x/month for the next 4-6 months (until your amino acid dosing is optimized).
Urine testing will be used at some point in this process to determine if alterations are necessary in amino acid dosing. Generally, it will take 4-6 urine tests over 4-6 months to optimize neurotransmitter levels. Each urine test is $140.00 (US)
How long have you been working with amino acid therapy?
Dr. Oler started working with Dr. Hinz in 2001 and has attended numerous seminars with Dr. Hinz and other experts in the field of neuroscience the therapeutic use of amino acid therapy.
How many people have you worked with using amino acid therapy?
To date (Jan 2017), we have worked with over 2500 people using amino acid therapy worldwide. We have worked with approximately 250 people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Parkinsonism and/or other dopamine dominant related disorders.
What is your success rate using amino acid therapy?
The success rate of using amino acid therapy with Parkinson’s disease is very high (upwards of 80%) and depends on three main variables (1) years diagnosed with the condition, (2) severity of symptoms at onset of therapy and (3) length of time using carbidopa-levodopa. Generally speaking, those that have been diagnosed less than 10 years, have been on carbidopa-levodopa less than 10 years and with a UPDRS score of less than 60, the probability of seeing significant improvements in symptoms related to neurotransmitter imbalance/Parkinson’s disease is about 80%.
How long will I need to stay on amino acids and at what dose?
The neurotransmitter imbalances that lead to symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease are generally due to one or two factors: (1) relative nutritional deficiency and/or (2) neurotoxicity. A relative nutritional deficiency basically means that a person’s neurotransmitter stores are low and need to be restored. This process usually takes from 3-9 months, after which time a person’s amino acids needs can be reduced (because once the deficiency is restored, it does not take as much amino acid to keep a person’s levels ‘topped off’ as it does to fill them.) Neurotoxicity is permanent neuronal damage. In this case, a certain amount of amino acids will be necessary to enable the remaining viable neurons to function optimally. Generally, a person will need to continue this amount of amino acids for life in order to keep symptoms under control. For any given person, we will not know the proportion of their symptoms that are attributable to a relative nutritional deficiency or neurotoxicity until neurotransmitter optimization occurs (which generally takes 4-9 months.
Do you work with people over the phone/internet?
We work with people from all over the world. Consultations can be conducted via telephone or Skype; check-ins can be done via email. We can ship products and/or test kits anywhere in the world.
Can the amino acids be taken along with my current medications?
In general, it is the recommendation that all medications currently prescribed at the start of amino acid therapy be continued until a person’s symptoms are stable or a medication side effect develops, at which time we would work with the person and their prescribing physician to modify the medication dosing.
The exception is with certain medications used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, including
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOi), including rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline, phenelzine (Nardil), isocarboxazid
- COMT inhibitors, including entacapone (Comtan), tolcapone (Tasmar)
- Carbidopa, including carbidopa-levodopa (Sinemet, Rytrary), Stalevo
In this, case amino acid therapy should not be initiated until these medications are discontinued (based on the work of Marty Hinz, MD and Alvin Stein, MD). We will work with a person’s neurologist and/or prescribing physician to help make this transition as easy as possible. Generally, medications used for Parkinson’s disease will be taken through bedtime and the amino acids will be started the following morning. It usually takes 1-3 weeks to get a person that had been taking medications to help with symptoms of Parkinson’s disease back to a similar level of functioning using the amino acids. Thereafter, most people experience significant improvements in their overall physical and mental abilities.
What are common side effects when using amino acid therapy?
Generally, there are very few side effects experienced when using amino acid therapy. However, a common side effect is nausea and/or gastrointestinal upset. This usually occurs due to an imbalance between serotonin and dopamine. Nausea and/or GI upset are resolved by modifying the amino acid dosing.
Other less common side effects that are due to imbalances in neurotransmitter include headache, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and palpitations (see below for further information). These side effects are generally due to an imbalance with serotonin precursors and are resolved by increasing serotonin levels.
Palpitations (special note): The unique feature of palpitations is that they are not associated with tachycardia. Upon examination, the pulse is 60-70 beats per minute. In many cases, it is thought that palpitations are associated with the chest wall intercostal muscle spasm and not the heart. No serious cardiac events have been observed with these palpitations.