Vitamin D Deficiency Linked With Advanced Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that is often accompanied by depression. Dementia commonly occurs in the advanced stage of the disease. A recent study found that higher blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairments and depression in individuals suffering from Parkinson’s.
Participants in the study included 286 people with Parkinson’s disease. The researchers measured blood levels of vitamin D and conducted tests that measured global cognitive function, verbal memory, semantic verbal fluency, executive function, and depression.
The researchers found that there was a significant association between vitamin D deficiency and dementia as well as depression. They also found that people with higher vitamin D levels displayed better ability to name vegetables and animals and had better immediate and delayed recall on a verbal learning test.
The researchers noted that the associations between vitamin D levels and fluency and verbal learning were only significant in individuals who were not yet suffering from dementia. This suggests that vitamin D should be monitored in individuals with Parkinson’s disease before they show signs of dementia.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Oregon Health and Sciences University. It was published online ahead of print on September 30, 2013, in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.
Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin cancer, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.
Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.