Vitamin D deficit, Parkinson's linked

March 30, 2011

Patients with recent-onset Parkinson’s disease (PD) tend to have a high prevalence of insufficient vitamin D levels, but - contrary to expectation - concentrations of the vitamin do not appear to decline as the disease progresses, Medical News Today reports.

Atlanta - Patients with recent-onset Parkinson’s disease (PD) tend to have a high prevalence of insufficient vitamin D levels, but - contrary to expectation - concentrations of the vitamin do not appear to decline as the disease progresses, Medical News Today reports.

Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine and the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center conducted a survey study of vitamin D status in stored blood samples from patients with PD diagnosed within five years of entry into the study. Investigators found that at first visit, 69.4 percent of the study participants had vitamin D insufficiency and 26.1 percent were deficient in vitamin D. At the final visit, these percentages fell to 51.6 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Vitamin D insufficiency in patients with early PD was similar to or higher than the prevalence reported in previous studies.

“Contrary to our expectation that vitamin D levels might decrease over time because of disease-related inactivity and reduced sun exposure, vitamin D levels increased over the study period,” the authors wrote. “These findings are consistent with the possibility that long-term insufficiency is present before the clinical manifestations of PD and may play a role in the pathogenesis of PD.”

The study appears in the March issue of Archives of Neurology.