Parkinson’s disease is improved by Vitamin D, a new research study showed in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. The study was completed by Amie L Peterson, MD at Oregon Health and Sciences University. The improvement is in the cognitive functioning and levels of depression in those with Parkinson’s disease. It was found that those patients who were not experiencing dementia yet were most positively affected by having higher levels of vitamin D.
For about 30 percent of Parkinson’s patients, dementia is part and parcel of the disease. Depression is experienced by 60 percent of these patients. These factors result in more nursing home commitments and a lower life expectancy. The study is preliminary, since researchers did not consider whether participants were taking vitamin D supplements.
In those patients with low levels of vitamin D, more severe cognitive impairments and depression were evidenced. Besides these drawbacks, other diseases are more likely, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, hypertension and some types of infection.
Oregon researchers tested 268 participants for measures of comprehensive cognitive function, memory on a verbal level, understanding words fluently, and depression. The researchers also measured their vitamin D levels the same day. Of these 268, they found 225 suffered from dementia. Those that had higher levels of vitamin D were able to recall names and had a shorter time in remembering items on a verbal learning test.
Parkinson’s disease is improved by higher levels of vitamin D, according to Peterson’s study. The improvements were seen only in the group who were not experiencing dementia. Peterson said that it was important to introduce vitamin D in the early stages of Parkinson’s in order to prevent dementia and possible depression.
For those patients with dementia, the level of vitamin D made no difference in their levels of depression. For the entire group of 268, vitamin D did not make a difference in the severity of the disease. More research needs to be done in order to measure how vitamin D actually causes patients to have better cognitive functioning.
One million people in the United States suffer with Parkinson’s disease. It is a movement disorder that is more likely to occur in older age. There is a two to four percent increase in chance of having Parkinson’s past age 60. The disease is chronic and progressive, meaning it only gets worse. Symptoms include tremors, slowness of movement, limb stiffness and difficulty with gait and balance.
Many experts believe that a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors cause Parkinson’s disease. Some studies have shown that prolonged occupational exposure to some chemicals is associated with a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease. However, there have been no direct causal factors found, since many exposed to these same chemicals do not always develop the disease.
Parkinson’s sufferers say that hearing the diagnosis is worse than any symptom. Once they are able to determine to get better and to make the right choices in their management of the disease, they start to feel more positive about their health.
Parkinson’s disease is improved upon with vitamin D, to combat cognitive deficits and depression in pre-dementia patients.
By Lisa M Pickering