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Vitamin D May Lower Parkinson's Risk

Low Levels of Vitamin D Linked to Higher Risk of Parkinson’s Disease, Researchers Say

Sources of Vitamin D continued...

The nutrient has been shown in the past to exert a protective effect on the brain through antioxidant activities, regulation of calcium levels, detoxification, modulation of the immune system, and enhanced conduction of electricity through nerve cells, the researchers say. Vitamin D is also known to play a role in bone health, and vitamin D insufficiency may be linked to cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other problems.

The authors say their study suggests that chronically inadequate vitamin D levels may play an important role in the development of Parkinson’s.

The study is published in the July issue of Archives of Neurology.

Marian Leslie Evatt, MD, MS, of Emory University in Atlanta, says in an accompanying editorial that the Knekt study “provides the first promising human data to suggest that inadequate vitamin D status is associated with the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.” She, along with the study authors, say more work is needed to determine the exact role of the nutrient and the most beneficial levels of vitamin D people should have.

Evatt writes that there is growing evidence of a connection between vitamin D and Parkinson’s, particularly from animal studies. She says the evidence is strong enough for people to take steps to make sure they are getting enough vitamin D.

In an October 2008 study, also published in the Archives of Neurology, she and colleagues at Emory also reported evidence that low blood levels of vitamin D may be linked to Parkinson’s development.

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