Reduce Your Risk of Getting Parkinsons Disease – Through Increased Intake of Vitamin D3

Parkinsons disease doesn’t follow the rules. There’s no known cause. And everyone is at risk. Including you.

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's Disease has become much more prevalent in recent years. For those of us who have a beloved relative or friend with the disease, it goes without saying that the symptoms of Parkinson's are devastating and prolonged.

This disease affects the brain and muscle control. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that leads to impaired movement and speech, and is thought to result from insufficient dopamine levels in the brain.

Dopamine is like a messenger that runs to different parts of your body to tell it how and when to move. When your body doesn’t produce enough “messengers,” parts of your body won’t know what to do. This causes the tremors and spasms associated with Parkinson’s.

Many sufferers live with Parkinsons Disease for years. Many retain most or all of their mental faculties until the very late stages. People differ in the rate of progression, the manifestations and ability to continue to have a good quality of life.

Like many diseases that have appeared on the horizon in the last few decades, there is a limited amount of information available regarding the cause, prognosis, prevention or predisposition of it. Like many similar and equally destructive illnesses that have become more prevalent in recent years, Parkinson's Disease seems to be unstoppable. There are medications that can allow the patient to maintain an almost normal life much of the time, but when the disease is manifesting, the patient cannot move well or sometimes cannot move at all. Overall, Parkinson's is not a painful disease, but the patient is aware of his or her need for care and medication much of the time.

Caregivers have a difficult task in handling patients with this disease, because transporting, moving, shifting and dressing can all be an arduous and backbreaking task.

Now, two new studies suggest that older people with insufficient vitamin D levels may be more likely to develop Parkinsons disease and experience cognitive decline.

Parkinsons Disease Study #1

The first, led by Paul Knekt and colleagues at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland, examined levels of vitamin D in the blood of 3,173 Finnish men and women aged 50 to 79 determined to be free of Parkinson's disease at the start of the study. The researchers then examined the incidence of Parkinson's disease in these participants over a 29-year follow-up period.

They found that participants with the highest levels of vitamin D (more than 50 nmol/L) had a 65 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease than those with the lowest vitamin D levels (less than 25 nmol/L). The researchers accounted for potentially confounding variables such as age, sex, marital status, education, alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activity and month of blood draw.

How vitamin D may protect against Parkinson's is not understood, although there is limited evidence from cell-based and animal models that vitamin D may prevent the loss of dopaminergic neurons (cells that produce dopamine).

One important limitation to the study is that the average vitamin D concentration of all the study participants (approximately 40 nmol/L) falls well below what is considered to be optimal (more than 75 nmol/L).

The results were published online July 12 2010 in the Archives of Neurology.

Parkinsons Study #2

In the second study, David Llewellyn of the University of Exeter and colleagues examined vitamin D levels among 858 Italian men and women age 65 and older. They found that more than half of the participants with dementia were vitamin D deficient (less than 50 nmol/L).

What's more, cognitive tests revealed that severely deficient individuals (less than 25 nmol/L) were 60 percent more likely to undergo cognitive decline over the six-year follow-up period. This study appears online July 12 2010 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Vitamin D Deficiency and Neurological Problems

The studies by Knekt and Llewellyn are not the first to link vitamin D deficiency with neurological problems, however. A role for vitamin D has previously been suggested in multiple sclerosis, autism and schizophrenia.

Some experts advise interpreting the results of these and other observational studies of vitamin D with caution. The above studies relied on participants from specific geographic areas, so more study is needed to determine whether the findings apply to other regions.

NOTE: "low vitamin D levels may simply be a marker for lower health status rather than a cause of it," Andrew Grey, professor of medicine at the University of Auckland, wrote in an editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine. This is because vitamin D levels are directly related to sunlight exposure and physical activity; less healthy individuals are therefore likely to be less active and more sunlight-deprived, and have lower levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D

I am a big advocate of Vitamin D … and believe it is one of the best benefits the sun offers, which helps to protect you not only from potential devastating neurological problems such as Parkinsons Disease – but also 75% of most major health problems.

Vitamin D is naturally produced by the sun and has no side effects – in fact, all the documented effects are positive. And you can get all you want for free.

I can think of no drug that even comes close.

You see, the part of the brain most affected by Parkinsons is full of vitamin D receptors. And vitamin D has been shown to prevent loss of the cells that produce dopamine (dopaminergic neurons).

In today’s world, everyone could use more vitamin D.

I recommend you get vitamin D from natural sources like the sun. As little as 10 minutes in the midday sun produces 10,000 units of vitamin D.

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