A new study published in Archives of Neurology demonstrates a link between low vitamin D levels in people with early Parkinson’s Disease (PD). This finding has been reported before in previous studies but it is still unclear whether having PD contributes to low vitamin D or whether low vitamin D contributes to the development of PD.
People who had been diagnosed with PD within 5 years were included in the study. Blood samples taken from the patients at baseline and at follow-up a year or more later analyzed for 23-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D). A total of 157 people were included. The average level at baseline was 26.3ng/mL and the average level at the end of the study was 31.3ng/mL. Interestingly, vitamin D levels did not decline as time progressed with PD.
At baseline, 69.4% of the subjects had vitamin D insufficiency defined as a 25[OH]D concentration less than 30.0ng/mL. By the end of the study, without any active supplementation treatment, 51.6% of the subjects had Vitamin D insufficiency.
The authors concluded that Vitamin D deficiency was present in this cohort of patients with PD in a level similar to that reported by other studies and that the levels did not decline over time. This seems surprising since one main source of vitamin D is sun exposure and as PD progresses, people become less active and trend toward less sun exposure. Further studies are needed to determine how vitamin D levels may influence PD or vice versa.
You can read the abstract of this study, entitled “High Prevalence of Hypovitaminosis D Status in Patients With Early Parkinson Disease,” at http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/68/3/314.