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Grant Program Aids Those With Parkinson’s Disease

By Janice Lane Palko

For the second year in a row, Nature’s Divine Healing - Optimal Recovery has received a Community Grant from the National Parkinson Foundation to help those with Parkinson’s Disease halt or reverse their Parkinson’s symptoms. 

Marla Turnbull, a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach & Certified Dementia Practitioner, co-leads the grant-funded program for the foundation with Jessica Weinberg Neiss of To Life! Therapy and Wellness. Together they help their patients achieve a better quality of life through nutrition, exercise and lifestyle.

“Education is so key when it comes to Parkinson’s disease,” said Ms. Turnbull. “Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, and low levels of dopamine are characteristic of Parkinson’s. Dopamine is known as the ‘happy hormone,’ and it is made in our stomach and goes to the brain.” 

Unfortunately, if the gut microbiome is unhealthy, dopamine production can be inhibited and that, in turn, adversely affects the brain, resulting in Parkinson's symptoms of tremors, difficulty with movement, masked face, and soft or low speaking voice. 

“I look at a patient’s nutrition, and 99% of patients don’t know how to take their medications properly. Parkinson’s medication should be taken an hour before eating or an hour after eating as the medication is blunted when taken with food as digestion will be prioritized over dopamine production,” said Ms. Turnbull. “In addition, I advise patients to stagger their protein intake throughout the day to maximize the effectiveness of their medications.” She also emphasizes eliminating sugar and processed foods from the diet as they wreak havoc on the gut and interfere with dopamine production. 

Equally as important for managing Parkinson’s is regular exercise. “Any movement that a patient can manage is beneficial. Jessica at To Life! helps patients with strengthening muscles, balance and mobility. Exercise is a natural dopamine producer. Exercise enhances the brain oxygen and blood and helps to improve memory, cognition and reduce brain fog,” said Ms. Turnbull. 

The program is free of charge thanks to the Community Grant from the National Parkinson’s Foundation and can be done in-person or virtually. “Initially, I meet with the patient and their caregiver for an evaluation, discuss where small, step-by-step improvements can be made and then we set a goal to reach toward,” said Ms. Turnbull, who knows that lifestyle changes can be challenging for some.  

“I had a husband and wife join the program. The husband had Parkinson’s. I made some dietary suggestions, and he was honest and said, ‘I don’t want to do this.’ He was drinking five Cokes a day. I asked him if he could try making small changes for two weeks. He agreed and over that 14-day period, he was able to wean himself down to one Coke a day. I also advocated that he provide his body with hyper-nourishment through drinking nutritional smoothies.” 

After the two weeks, he saw an improvement in his condition. “We then set a goal. He said he wanted to be able to go to Paris, which I thought was a bit ambitious,” said Ms. Turnbull, “but after a three-month commitment to lifestyle changes, he did extremely well and was able to travel to Paris. And not only that but his wife lost 30 pounds too.”

Many when faced with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s feel defeated, but Ms. Turnbull says to never give up. “There’s always hope. I’ve been working with a woman who has had Parkinson’s for 26 years, but she knows what she needs to do, and she does it.”

For more information on the Parkinson’s Grant Program, visit: or contact Marla Turnbull at or 412-302-4638.


Marla Turnbull, MS, CDP, NBC-HWC    Nature’s Divine Healing - Optimal Recovery, LLC

As a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Certified Dementia Practitioner, I lead my clients toward optimal recovery through a holistic approach. Based on my own humbling and life-altering journey, I overcame a major sepsis infection in 2020 through prayer and aiding my body through natural healing. Combining energy work with my health & and resiliency coaching helps aid the body, heart, soul, and spirit through optimal recovery.


I co-lead a second-year National Community Grant-funded program through the National Parkinson’s Foundation and work with Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients and their families. I educate my patients through nutrition and lifestyle care, exercise, whole foods, plant-based choices, reducing stress, and getting restorative sleep. We can reduce the risk of inflammation and chronic disease while improving your emotional health. I am passionate about working with committed “warriors” who are ready to take charge of their lives. I believe the success of any program includes working with the whole body synergistically toward optimal recovery.


I would love to join you on your journey!


Please reach out and connect with Me

412-302-4638 Cell



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