Having sufficient Vitamin D slashes the risk of Parkinson's disease

July 15, 2010

    Parkinsons disease is a chronic progressive neuromuscular disease; a region of the brain that controls muscle function gets damaged and sufferers develop tremors and become rigid, eventually loosing independence and about 20 % of patients develop an associated form of severe dementia. High blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's disease by 67 per cent, compared with low levels of the vitamin says a new study from Finland. Researchers from the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki analysed data from 3,173 Finnish men and women aged between 50 and 79. The researchers measured the level of Vitamin D in the subjects. Over an impressive 29 years of follow-up, the researchers documented 50 cases of Parkinson's disease. The data showed that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D were three times more likely to develop Parkinson's, compared to the group with the highest levels. Previous studies have shown that the part of the brain affected most by Parkinson's, the substantia nigra, contains high levels of receptor sites for vitamin D indicating that vitamin D may be important for normal functions of these cells. The study is published in the journal Archives of Neurology.