Vitamin D positives for patients with Parkinson's Disease, review finds

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Vitamin d Parkinson's disease neurodegeneration neurodegenerative Vitamin d levels Vitamin d deficiency Vitamin

Researchers looking into the effect of vitamin D on patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) are confident that it can slow down the worsening of some symptoms.

In this study it is reported that it can also reduce the risk of fractures and it is predicted that it will be used as a supportive therapy in future treatment plans. 

Vitamin D is important for brain development, mature brain activity and is associated with may neurological diseases, the findings have indicated. 

The authors of the review believe that because of the growth of global population and improvement of the average lifespan, prevalence of neurological disorders is increasing. They say the scientific community remains focused on the research of treatment and prevention of brain ageing.

Psychiatric disorders

Previous studies​ have found that lower serum concentrations of vitamin D seems to be associated with psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia as well as neurological disorders including neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia or PD. Consequently, it has been put forward that maintaining adequate vitamin D serum concentration might avoid disease onset and possibly improve clinical outcomes.

The researchers say the findings of this review are of specific interest and wrote: “Vitamin D deficiency seems to be related to disease severity and disease progression. Additionally, fall risk has been associated with lower vitamin D levels in PD. However, while the association with motor symptoms seems to be possible, results of studies investigating the association with non-motor symptoms are conflicting.​”

Widely studied

PD is the second most common neurogenerative disorder and oxidative stress represents one of the etiopathogenetic pathways or crossing points of PD. The role of vitamin D in PD has been widely studied and lower levels might be responsible contributing to the development of the disease but the specific action of the vitamin protecting against the disease is not clear.

The researchers noted that vitamin D has antioxidant effects reducing the formation of free radicals and said that a neuroprotective effect is likely and consequently might reduce progression towards neurodegenerative process.

 “Many attempts have been made in order to address a crucial unmet demand in the management of PD; the discovery of a drug potentially able to slow down, stop or reverse the process of neurodegeneration. As a consequence, inadequate vitamin D status could lead to a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain, and therefore could contribute to development of PD. Reduced concentration of vitamin D in PD patients compared to those of sex and age matched healthy controls, has been described. However, considering the positive balance between potential benefits against its limited risks. Vitamin D for PD patients will probably be considered in the near future if further confirmed in clinical studies​,” they concluded.

The review found that it is not yet proven if the supplement could be an appropriate support to pharmacological and rehabilitative therapy in PD patients but the researchers added: "Though insufficient evidence is available to introduce vitamin D as supportive therapy in PD patients, considering its limited risks, we are confident enough to insinuate, as a dietary intervention, that vitamin D supplementation would act at three different levels:

1) to improve public health considering its possible role in brain development and its influence in pathogenesis of many neurological disorders including PD

2) slowing down the worsening of some PD symptoms and

3) finally, considering the increased risk of falls during disease progression, reduce the risk of fracture in PD patients."  

The reviewers said considering the positive balance between the potential benefits against its limited risks, vitamin D supplementation for PD patients will probably be considered in the near future, if further confirmed in clinical studies. 

Source: Nutrients

Published: doi.orgh.10.3390/nu14061220

‘Vitamin D and Parkinson’s Disease’

Authors: Antonia Pignolo et al

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