Low vitamin B6 may increase Parkinson’s disease risk

April 14, 2010

    Insufficient levels of vitamin B6 may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease by about 50 per cent, says a new study from Japan. Additional research should focus on whether increased levels of vitamin B6 may reduce the risk of developing the disease. Parkinson's disease occurs when a part of the brain that controls muscle function called the substantia nigra is damaged. According to the American Parkinson's Disease Association, over two million Americans currently suffer from the disease.
    This is not the first study to link vitamin B6 intake and the risk of the disease. In 2006 researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam published their report in Neurology showing that people who had healthy daily vitamin B6  intakes had a 54% drop in their risk of developing Parkinson's disease. The study involved 5,289 people over the age of 55.
    In the new study the researchers conducted a hospital-based case-control study involving 249 people with Parkinson’s disease and 368 people without any neurodegenerative condition. Intake of the B vitamins was assessed using a validated, self-administered, semi-quantitative, diet questionnaire. After crunching the numbers no link between folate, vitamin B12 and riboflavin was observed. However, low intakes of B6 were linked to an increased risk of the disease, independent of other factors, concluded the researchers. The study is published online ahead of print in the British Journal of Nutrition..