Parkinson's: Vitamin D could help treat non-motor symptoms

Vitamin D supplementation may help improve non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, says a new study.

Around the world, 6.3 million people have degenerative and progressive Parkinson's neurological disorders. This makes it the second most common neurodegenerative disease just after Alzheimer's. It results in a progressive loss of neurons leading to multiple motor and psychic problems.

If the main symptoms are tremor, high muscular rigidity, bradykinesia (slow movement or lack of movement) and postural instability, this affliction also causes many non-motor disorders. Among them, we find fatigue, daytime sleepiness, sleep disorders, digestive, sexual or even urinary.

A correlation between vitamin D and bone density

Noting that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in Parkinson's patients, researchers wanted to determine whether vitamin D levels were correlated with bone mineral density and non-motor symptoms of patients. The answer is yes, reveals their study published Tuesday, August 6 in the journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavia. This discovery could ultimately help to lead to new treatments.

By comparing 182 Parkinson's patients with 185 "healthy" participants, Chinese researchers have found that patients have significantly lower levels of vitamin D in their blood. What's more, people with less vitamin D were more likely to fall and have problems with sleep, depression and anxiety. "Since various non-motor symptoms are a burden for people with Parkinson's disease and their caregivers, vitamin D may be a potential adjunct to improve these neglected symptoms," says Chun Feng Liu, co-author of paper that participated in the study.

The benefits of vitamin D

Vitamin D is a hormone found in the diet and synthesized in the body from a derivative of cholesterol or ergosterol under the action of UVB radiation from the sun. It is involved in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and plays a crucial role in the mineralization of bones.

Also, this study is far from being the first to extol the benefits of vitamin D for health. A few days ago, research has shown that it may help slow the progression of type 2 diabetes. Researchers have found that vitamin D supplementation significantly improves the action of insulin in the body. muscle tissue, and, this in just six months. Vitamin D also reduces the risk of fracture after a kidney transplant by intervening in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by the intestines and by the kidneys. Its benefits have also been proven in the progression of metastatic colorectal cancer and in the prevention of breast cancer.

These foods rich in vitamin D

Yet, according to another study published in June, more than one in four adults would suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Infants, children, adolescents and pregnant women, who are more fragile, should be systematically vitamin D supplementation, in view of particularly high needs and often insufficient exposure to the sun.

If you can not get into the sun as often as necessary, you will find vitamin D in fatty fish (cod liver, herring, mackerel, sardines, salmon), offal (livers), eggs, cheese and butter. Some dairy products, breakfast cereals and oils are also fortified with vitamin D.