Scientists from the University of Palermo and elsewhere found that vitamin D supplementation may benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. Population prevalence of Parkinson’s disease increases from about 1% at age 60 to 4% by age 80.
Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, rigidity, and difficulty walking; cognitive decline is common at later stages.
The underlying pathology of PD is the selective death of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra, a part of the brain involved in movement, reward, and addiction.
Vitamin D is both a nutrient we eat and a hormone our bodies make. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus.
Previous studies have found that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation.
Many of the body’s organs and tissues have receptors for vitamin D, and this suggests important roles beyond bone health.
Recent studies also found vitamin D is important for brain development and brain activity and is associated with many neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s disease.
Vitamin D deficiency is found in many patients with Parkinson’s disease compared to people without the disease.
In the current study, researchers aimed to review vitamin D’s brain-protecting effect.
The researchers found vitamin D deficiency may be related to disease severity and disease progression, but not to the age of Parkinson’s disease onset and duration of disease.
Additionally, fall risk has been linked to lower vitamin D levels in Parkinson’s disease.
However, the team found while the association between vitamin D and motor symptoms seems to be possible, the results of studies examining the association with non-motor symptoms are inconsistent.
In addition, very little evidence exists regarding the possibility to use vitamin D supplementation to reduce symptoms and disability in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
The team suggests that there is a positive balance between potential benefits against limited risks.
Vitamin D supplementation for Parkinson’s disease patients will probably be considered in the near future if further confirmed in clinical studies.
The research was published in Nutrients and conducted by Antonia Pignolo et al.
If you care about brain health, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and Vitamin B supplements could help reduce dementia risk.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about Vitamin D deficiency linked to higher dementia risk, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.
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