Amount and distribution of dietary protein affects clinical response to levodopa in parkinson’s disease

J. H. Carter, J. G. Nutt, W. R. Woodward, L. F. Hatcher, T. L. Trotman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Scopus citations


Reducing dietary protein improves the effectiveness of levodopa (LD) but the most effective distribution of a low-protein diet (0.8 g/kg) is unclear. We compared a 1.6 g/kg protein diet, a 0.8 g/kg diet with protein evenly distributed between meals, and a 0.8 g/kg diet with protein restricted to the evening meal in 5 parkinsonian patients with motor fluctuations. We monitored clinical response, plasma LD, and plasma large amino acids (LNAAs) hourly throughout the day. Mean “on” times were 51% (1.6 g/kg diet), 67% (0.8 g/kg evenly distributed), and 77% (0.8 g/kg restricted). Hourly averages of plasma LD did not differ between the diets. The mean plasma LNAAs were 732 nmol/ml (l.6 g/kg diet), 640 (0.8 g/kg distributed), and 542 (0.8 g/kg restricted), and the diurnal pattern reflected the distribution of protein intake. In conclusion, the amount and distribution of dietary protein affect clinical response to LD. These effects are not related to LD absorption but are explained by the variation in plasma LNAAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-556
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this