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Meta-analysis finds vitamin E rich diets associated with lower Parkinson’s disease risk
A review published in the June 2005 issue of The Lancet Neurology (http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur) determined that moderate to high dietary intake of vitamin E may help lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease. The cause of Parkinson’s disease has not yet been fully elucidated, but is believed to be the result of several factors, including genes and environment. Research has found that oxidative stress and inflammation contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease, and diets high in antioxidants could help protect the cells from oxidative injury.
For the current study, Mayhar Etminan of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Quebec, Canada, and colleagues analyzed the effects of the dietary antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E on Parkinson’s disease risk in eight studies involving a total of 10,881 participants.
While beta-carotene and vitamin C were not found to be associated with the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, moderate and high levels of vitamin E appeared to be protective. Moderate intake of the vitamin lowered the risk of Parkinson’s disease by 19 percent, and high intake by 22 percent, although this difference between moderate and high was not considered significant.
In their discussion of the findings, the authors mention the failure of supplemental vitamin E to delay the need for levodopa therapy in early Parkinson’s patients in one recent clinical trial, however they observe that Parkinson’s disease does not develop until over half the nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons have been destroyed, and that vitamin E may be less effective at that phase than before symptoms develop.
The authors concluded that vitamin E may have a neuroprotective effect that reduces Parkinson’s disease risk, and recommend randomized controlled clinical trials to confirm the finding.
There is no substitute for professional medical management and conventional treatment with prescription drugs such as levodopa for persons with Parkinson's disease. However, there are a number of nutritional supplements and dietary considerations that can be beneficial, protective, and generally supportive of good health and the body's own natural mechanisms.
Supplementation with nutrients has reported benefits for persons with Parkinson's disease. These supplements include amino acids, antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, melatonin, folic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, octacosanol, phosphatidylserine, NADH, and the European drug Hydergine (Snider 1984; Yapa 1992; Mizuta et al. 1993; Schulz et al. 1995; 1996; Shults et al. 1997; 1998; 1999; Beal et al. 1998; Golbe et al. 1998; Sakagami et al. 1998; Seitz et al. 1998; Beal 1999; Jimenez-Jimenez et al. 2000; Kidd 2000; Nadlinger et al. 2001; Roghani et al 2001; Ross 2001; Tan et al. 2001; Zisapel 2001; Antolin et al. 2002; Chen et al. 2002; Duan et al. 2002).
Drugs such as L-dopa alleviate symptoms of Parkinson's disease but are not believed to slow the underlying disease process. A recent study found evidence that CoQ10 may help stop the specific brain cell death that causes Parkinson's (Shults et al. 2002).
In this study, 80 Parkinson's patients consumed varying potencies of CoQ10 or placebo for up to 16 months. When the study ended, the patients consuming the highest potency of CoQ10 showed a 44% reduction in the decline of mental function, movement, and ability to perform daily living tasks compared to the placebo group.
The dose required to induce this dramatic affect was 1200 mg a day, a far higher amount than had ever been administered to humans in the past. CoQ10 did not improve symptoms the way current Parkinson's drugs do. Instead, CoQ10 slowed the progression of the disease, something that Parkinson's drugs do not do.
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