Value of Vitamin D for Parkinson’s Patients

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Most people are aware of the importance of eating well, and many even use vitamin supplements to promote better nutrition. What people typically don’t realize – particularly Parkinson’s patients – is the value of monitoring your intake of select vitamins. While many of us know that vitamin D can come from sunlight and the foods we eat, during winter, especially in cold climates like Nebraska, it is possible you may be deficient.

Studies are continuing to examine the link between low vitamin D levels and the incidence and prevention of certain diseases. The list includes Parkinson’s disease (PD), cancer, diabetes, autoimmune diseases (such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, bronchitis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and even tooth and gum disease.

Vitamin D and Parkinson’s

It is common for PD patients to have a vitamin D deficiency, however, presently there are no conclusive and direct links that vitamin D may help with PD, slow its progression or decrease the risk of PD. It may be worth trying however, as there are benefits from vitamin D’s effects on bone health and fracture risk. Someday we may know if increasing vitamin D levels may slow down the progression of PD, and if so, what dosage and who will respond best to the treatment, based on their genetic background. As more research is conducted, we all hope to have a better understanding of the complex causes and treatment of PD and its relationship to vitamin levels.

Could You Have Low Vitamin D Levels?

Risk Factors

  • Elders (due to having thinner skin)
  • Very overweight people
  • People with darker skin
  • People who stay mostly indoors
  • People who wear sunscreen or have their skin covered to protect against the sun
  • People living in the North, being further away from the equator (where there is less sunshine)

Concerned? Be sure to discuss this issue with your doctor before taking any supplements.

Purpose of Vitamin D

  • Strengthens bones
  • Improves effectiveness of immune system
  • Helps decrease incidences of depression
  • To treat conditions of the heart and blood vessels, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol

Sample Sources of Vitamin D

  • Fatty fish (herring, mackerel, sardines, sockeye salmon, tuna, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Beef liver
  • Swiss cheese
  • Orange juice, fortified with vitamin D
  • Milk, fortified