The scientists also implicate the neurodegenerative condition in a higher risk of depression, anxiety and a lower mean bone mass density (BMD) of the lumbar spine and femoral neck.“These results indicate that vitamin D deficiency may play a role in Parkinson’s Disease [PD] pathogenesis, while vitamin D supplementation may be used to treat the non‐motor symptoms of PD,” says the team from Soochow University in China.
1 , 2 Vitamin K1, which is derived from green plants, is best known for the role it plays in blood clotting, while vitamin K2, derived primarily from fermented foods and animal products such as eggs, meat and liver, 3 is important to hormone production and utilization, as well as bone and heart health.
The team began by enrolling 182 patients with PD and 185 healthy controls. Serum vitamin D [25(OH)D] levels were measured along with BMD of the lumbar spine and femoral neck. They found that:
- Parkinson’s patients had significantly lower serum 25(OH)D levels relative to healthy controls
- Those with lower vitamin D levels had a significantly higher frequency of falls and insomnia
- They also had significantly more depression and anxiety
- People with Parkinson’s also had a significantly lower mean BMD of the lumbar spine and femoral neck
These findings remained true even after adjusting for age, sex, and body mass index.
Symptoms of deficiency
Vitamin D also has a vital role in bone metabolism and a lack of vitamin D which can help explain the increased risk of falls and fractures found in this study.
One way to tell if you’re hydrated — your urine should be colorless or slightly yellow. If it’s not, you’re not getting enough water! Other signs include: Dry lips, dry mouth, and little urination.
Studies have also shown that vitamin D levels are associated with cognition and mood in patients with Parkinson’s as well as gastrointestinal dysfunction, mainly delayed gastric emptying time.
Regarding the increase in falls, the authors write: “The most commonly cited theory for the connection between falls and vitamin D levels is related to reduced muscle mass and strength.”
Connections between vitamin D, mood and sleep disorders are a little less clear.
The researchers also acknowledge a limitation of the study, having only evaluated 25(OH)D levels. An assortment of different sources of vitamin D, open up possibilities that different vitamin D forms may produce other results. They note, also, that vitamin D levels decrease and can be affected by many variables including vitamin D‐rich food intake, sunlight exposure and skin colour. These things, they say, require more careful study.
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The study appeared in the journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavica.