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|Evan Watson, NatureCity author & contributor|
Having low levels of vitamin B6 may increase the risk of developing Parkinsonâ€™s disease by a staggering 50% according to a recent study from Japan.
The study was performed by researchers with the School of Public Health at the University of Tokyo. Their findings were published in the March 2010 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.
For the study the researchers assessed intakes of vitamin B6 in 249 people with Parkinson’s disease and compared them to 368 people with no neurogenerative conditions.
After adjusting for possible confounding factors, the researchers found no link between Parkinson’s disease and low levels of folate, vitamin B12 and riboflavin. However, low levels of B6 were associated with a significant increase of 50%.
These findings support a similar study conducted in 2006 by researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. That study included more than 5,000 participants over 55 years of age and found that people with high intakes of vitamin B6 had a 54% lower risk of developing Parkinson’s.
Vitamin B6 plays an important role in many essential functions in the human body including nervous system function, red blood cell formation, and hormone function. Our bodies do not naturally synthesize the vitamin so the only way to get our B vitamins is from dietary sources.
B6, as well as the other B vitamins, have also been shown to promote cell growth, support metabolism and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Being deficient in these important vitamins can potentially lead to brain shrinkage, high homocysteine levels and birth defects.
It is easy to increase your intake of these vitamins by eating more vitamin B rich foods or taking a quality supplement. Some foods rich in B vitamins include broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, tuna and salmon. Many milk and flour products are also fortified with B vitamins.
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