What I’ve Learned About Mannitol
Last updated: May 2022
My dad and I are always on the hunt for strategies that may help to alleviate his Parkinson's symptoms. Recently, we've both heard a lot about mannitol - a sweetener used as a sugar substitute that is made by hydrogenation of fructose.1
What if there were an FDA approved sweetener that could positively impact Parkinson’s symptoms? What if you could find a basic, accessible, kitchen ingredient for people who struggle with this horrible disease? And what if that kitchen ingredient was affordable?
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on medications, one might be able to find an alternative treatment that supports quality of life without compromising financial well-being. Mannitol is a basic household sweetener that may be showing promise. And we're excited about it.
I’m not a medical professional, and one should always seek the help of a physician before medicating. But recent news suggests that mannitol may be a Parkinson’s intervention that can delay the onset of certain symptoms.
Mannitol and alpha-synuclein
Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been associated with the accumulation of alpha-synuclein in brain cells. But, one study showed that in large doses, mannitol may have the ability to prevent the gathering of alpha-synuclein clumps from forming.1,2
The study looked at the effect of mannitol on alpha-synuclein clumps in the brains of fruit flies and mice and found that mannitol was able to break up alpha-synuclein clusters and bring back functioning. 1,3
While scientists are still early in research, mannitol may be a promising treatment for those who are looking to find a way to decrease or slow Parkinson’s symptoms.
After this initial study, people with Parkinson’s began to take interest in mannitol. When it became apparent that mannitol may have a positive effect on symptoms, a group of people impacted by Parkinson’s created CliniCrowd - a website designed to collect crowd-sourced data on the use of mannitol in PD patients.2
This gave patients the ability to report the effects of mannitol on their symptoms, even if the medical community did not express interest in studying the effects. However, a great deal of skepticism exists surrounding the results as these are not controlled clinical trials.
Sparking clinical trials
Eventually, the growing interest in mannitol did spark a formal trial that is being funded by the Israeli ministry of science and technology.1,4
Although interest is growing and research opportunities seem to be gaining traction, much of the current research is still being conducted on flies and mice, and it remains to be seen whether or not it’s a good fit for humans.
As for my dad and I, we remain hopeful that more Parkinson's-alleviating products will become available to everyone.
On average, how many times per month do you (or your caregiver) go to the pharmacy?
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