Study Finds Vitamin B6 May Help Protect Against Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease (PD), characterized by tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness, and difficulty with balance, affects more than 1.5 million Americans, with 60,000 new cases each year.1 The combined direct and indirect costs of PD are estimated at more than $5.6 billion per year in the U.S. With medication costs for an individual patient averaging $2,500 a year, and therapeutic surgery costing up to $100,000 dollars per patient2 prevention of PD is at a premium.

The exact cause of PD still remains unclear, but oxidative stress3 and high homocysteine levels4 have been found to increase PD risk. Fortunately, nutrition has started to surface as a viable way to help protect against PD. Recent research has shown that an increase in both unsaturated fat and vitamin E intake5 helps protect against PD. Now a new study6 has found that vitamin B-6 may play a significant role in helping protect against PD.

Researchers evaluated the association between dietary intake of folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 and the risk of PD in nearly 5,300 patients who participated in the Rotterdam Study.7 In addition to having the patients complete food frequency questionnaires,8 researchers conducted neurologic exams over four different periods (1993–1994, 1997–1999, and 2002–2004) to test for any signs of PD.

After an average follow-up of almost 10 years, the researchers found that those with the highest intakes of vitamin B6 (more than 1.73 mg per day) had a 31% decrease risk of PD while no association was observed for folic acid and vitamin B12.

For the researchers, “we found that higher intake of vitamin B6, but not vitamin B12 or [folic acid], was associated with a significantly decreased risk of PD.”

Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA. You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at mailto:ChiroDocPSUalum@msn.com or visiting his website www.CompleteChiropracticHealthcare.com

Reference:

1 “About Parkinson Disease” posted on the National Parkinson Foundation Website www.parkinson.org/site/pp.asp?c=9dJFJLPwB&b=71125

2 “Ten Frequently Asked Questions About Parkinson’s Disease” posted on the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Website www.pdf.org/Publications/factsheets/PDF_Fact_Sheet_1.0_Final.pdf

3 Jenner P. Oxidative stress in Parkinson’s disease. Ann Neurol 2003;53 (suppl 3):S26–S36

4 Kruman II. Homocysteine elicits a DNA damage response in neurons that promotes apoptosis and hypersensitivity to excitotoxicity. J Neurosci 2000;20:6920–6926

5 Miller ER 3rd. Meta-analysis: High-dosage vitamin E supplementation may increase all-cause mortality. Ann Intern Med. 2005; 142: 37-46

6 de Lau LM. Dietary folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 and the risk of Parkinson disease. Neurology. 2006 Jul 25;67(2):315-8

7 Tan EK, Cheah SY, Fook-Chong S, et al. Functional COMT variant predicts response to high dose pyridoxine in Parkinson’s disease. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2005;137:1–4

8 Tan EK, Cheah SY, Fook-Chong S, et al. Functional COMT variant predicts response to high dose pyridoxine in Parkinson’s disease. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 2005;137:1–4

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