Hey, been too long since I told you all to try to get more vitamin D in your diet. Here's another reason: People with Parkinson's Disease have lower blood vitamin D.
A majority of Parkinson's disease patients had insufficient levels of vitamin D in a new study from Emory University School of Medicine.
The fraction of Parkinson's patients with vitamin D insufficiency, 55 percent, was significantly more than patients with Alzheimer's disease (41 percent) or healthy elderly people (36 percent).
The results are published in the October issue of Archives of Neurology.
The finding adds to evidence that low vitamin D is associated with Parkinson's, says first author Marian Evatt, MD, assistant professor of neurology at Emory.
Evatt is assistant director of the Movement Disorders Program at Wesley Woods Hospital. The senior author is endocrinologist Vin Tangpricha, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Emory and director of the Endocrine Clinical Research Unit.
Evatt says her team compared Parkinson's patients to Alzheimer's patients because they wanted to evaluate the possibility that neurodegenerative diseases in general lead to vitamin D insufficiency.
One could argue that Parkinson's sufferers are less likely to get outside than the normal healthy. But look at the difference as compared to Alzheimer's sufferers. Granted this result does not prove a direction for cause and effect. But it is suggestive.
The other thing noteworthy about this result is that even in the US Southeast, a warmer climate, 36% of the healthy elderly lack sufficient vitamin D.
She says her team saw their results as striking because their study group came from the Southeast, not a region with long gloomy winters, where vitamin D insufficiency is thought to be more of a problem.
In addition, the study found that the fraction of patients with the lowest levels of vitamin D, described as vitamin D deficiency, was higher (23 percent) in the Parkinson's group than the Alzheimer's group (16 percent) or the healthy group (10 percent).
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