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Parkinson's Patients More Prone to Vitamin D Deficiency

Study found their levels were lower than Alzheimer's patients, healthy controls

Parkinson's disease patients are more likely than healthy people or Alzheimer's patients to have vitamin D deficiency, say researchers from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

They compared vitamin D levels in 100 Parkinson's patients, 97 Alzheimer's patients, and 99 healthy people matched for age and other factors.

"Significantly more patients with Parkinson's disease [55 percent] had insufficient vitamin D than did controls [36 percent] or patients with Alzheimer's disease [41 percent]," the researchers wrote.

The average vitamin D concentration among Parkinson's patients was 31.9 nanograms per milliliter, compared with 34.8 nanograms among Alzheimer's patients, and 37 nanograms among healthy people.

The study was published in the October issue of the Archives of Neurology.

"These findings support the previously suggested need for further studies to assess what contribution a low 25 (OH)D [a measure of blood vitamin D levels] concentration adds to the risk of developing Parkinson's disease [vs. other neurodegenerative disorders] and to determine whether correction of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency will improve motor or non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease," the study authors concluded.

"Finally, the finding of a high incidence of vitamin D deficiency in the Parkinson's disease and other cohorts highlights the importance of routinely checking the level of 25(OH)D, particularly in elderly patients, since deficiency is strongly associated with a higher incidence of osteoporosis, falls and hip fractures and has been associated with a higher incidence of several forms of cancer and autoimmune disorders," the researchers added.


PDF Interprets: People with Parkinson’s Are Prone to Vitamin D Deficiency

People with Parkinson’s are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency than people who have Alzheimer’s disease or people who are healthy, according to a study published in Archives of Neurology.
The researchers, led by Marian L. Evatt, M.D., M.S., measured vitamin D levels in blood samples that had been donated to a research registry database at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, between 1992 and 1997.  They analyzed samples from 100 people with Parkinson’s and compared them with samples from 97 people with Alzheimer’s, and 99 healthy volunteers, who were matched for age, sex, and geographic area of residence. 

55 percent of people with PD had insufficient vitamin D, compared with 41 percent of people with Alzheimer’s and 36 percent of healthy people.  While the study results suggest that vitamin D deficiency may play a role in PD, researchers could not say whether low levels of vitamin D preceded the onset of Parkinson’s disease or if perhaps the deficiency actually developed because of the lifestyle changes caused by the disease.  For example, vitamin D is significantly impacted by exposure to sunlight and people who have been living with PD for a time may have decreased exposure to sunlight.

Researchers point out that vitamin D is known to be important in regulating many of the molecular processes that go awry in neurodegenerative diseases, but further research is needed to determine whether low vitamin D levels contribute to the risk of developing PD, and whether increasing those levels could improve PD symptoms.

In addition, because vitamin D deficiency also contributes to osteoporosis, falls and hip fractures, as well as some cancers and autoimmune disorders, the results underscore the importance of routinely checking vitamin D levels in elderly people.

Source Date: Oct 14 2008
Source Publication: USNews & World Report (HealthDay)
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