People who consume a diet rich in vitamins C and E may be at reduced risk for Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers followed 41,058 Swedish men and women for an average of 18 years, gathering data on their health and diet. They assessed intake of vitamins C and E as well as beta-carotene and a measure called NEAC, which takes into account all antioxidants from food and their interactions with each other.
Over the course of the study, published in Neurology, there were 465 cases of Parkinson’s disease.
After adjusting for age, sex, B.M.I., education, smoking, alcohol consumption and other characteristics, they found that compared with the one-third of people with the lowest intake of vitamin C or E, the one-third with the highest intake had a 32 percent reduced risk for Parkinson’s disease. Those in the highest one-third in consumption of both vitamins together had a 38 percent reduced risk. There was no effect for beta-carotene or the NEAC measure.
The lead author, Essi Hantikainen, who was a researcher at the University of Milano-Bicocca when the work was done, said that more research needs to be done before drawing definitive conclusions or offering advice about diet or supplement use and the risk of Parkinson’s.
Still, she said, “Implementation of a diet that includes foods rich in vitamins C and E might help protect against the development of Parkinson’s later in life. In any case, it’s never wrong to implement a healthy diet.”