Scientists are testing whether vitamin D supplements can ease symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
A US team found 55% of Parkinson’s patients had insufficient levels of vitamin D, compared to 36% of healthy elderly people.
However, the Emory University researchers do not yet know if the vitamin deficiency is a cause or the result of having Parkinson’s.
The study appears in the journal Archives of Neurology.
Parkinson’s disease affects nerve cells in several parts of the brain, particularly those that use the chemical messenger dopamine to control movement.
The most common symptoms are tremor, stiffness and slowness of movement. These can be treated with oral replacement of dopamine.
Previous studies have shown that the part of the brain affected most by Parkinson’s, the substantia nigra, has high levels of the vitamin D receptor, which suggests vitamin D may be important for normal functions of these cells.
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