Vitamin D and Parkinson's Disease

Vitamin D levels link to Parkinson’s disease

Researchers from Finland have found that a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease as they grow older may increase if they have low levels of vitamin D. The study was published in the Archives of Neurology and it examined 3,000 people. The researchers found that those with the lowest vitamin D levels had a threefold risk of developing the disease.

Experts concluded that vitamin D could help to safeguard the nerve cells which are slowly lost by people who are suffering from the disease. Parkinson’s Disease results in symptoms such as slow movements and tremor, and it impacts upon many areas of the brain.

The charity Parkinson’s UK stated that further research was necessary to establish a firm link between Vitamin D and Parkinson’s disease.

Vitamin D and Parkinson’s Disease

The study was carried out over thirty years by Finland’s National Institute for Health and Welfare. Vitamin D levels were measured using blood samples taken from study participants between 1978 and 1980. These participants were then followed for thirty years to find out whether they went on to develop Parkinson’s Disease.

Results showed that members of the study with the lowest vitamin D levels were three times more likely to fall ill with Parkinson’s Disease when compared with those study members who had high vitamin D levels.

The majority of vitamin D is made by our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight. However, as we grow older our skin loses the ability to produce vitamin D in this way.

Vitamin D has long been recognised as an aid to calcium uptake and the formation of strong bones. However, recent research has shown that it also plays an important part in the development of the nervous system, and in the regulation of the immune system.

Although sunlight is the main source of vitamin D it can also be found in foods such as milk, cereals and oily fish. In addition, if you wish to boost your intake of vitamin D there are also a number of supplements available on the market.

Photo Credit: Suzanne Schroeter / Flickr CC

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