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Does vitamin B12 protect against Parkinson's?
If patients have had Parkinson's disease for a short time, they could benefit from taking vitamin B12. Researchers have now found that low levels of vitamin B12 can lead to faster development of symptoms of Parkinson's.
- People with low levels of vitamin B12 develop symptoms of Parkinson's more quickly.
- Low vitamin B12 levels are associated with movement and balance problems.
- Disease progression progresses more slowly when patients consume vitamin B12.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency promotes depression, paranoia, muscle numbness and weakness.
- Vitamin B12 is difficult to absorb through the intestine.
Scientists from the University of Rochester, the University of California, San Francisco and the University of California, Davis found in their current study that low levels of vitamin B12 lead to a faster development of symptoms of Parkinson's. This suggests that vitamin B12 supplements can delay the progression of symptoms. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Movement Disorders".
Effect of vitamin B12 levels on Parkinson's
If Parkinson's disease has only recently been diagnosed in patients with low levels of vitamin B12, those affected develop symptoms of the disease more quickly than people with normal levels of vitamin B12. The scientists also found that low levels of vitamin B12 are also associated with greater movement and balance disorders, possibly due to the known effects of a B12 deficiency on the central peripheral nervous system.
Participants were medically monitored for two years
In the study, the scientists divided the participants who had only recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's into three different groups, which corresponded to their vitamin B12 levels. The subjects had not yet started treatment for the disease at this time. The doctors examined the condition of the participants over a period of two years.
Participants were able to take vitamin B12 voluntarily
After completing the preliminary assessment of the study, patients were given the option of taking a controlled daily vitamin supplement. Research results then showed an improved vitamin B12 level in about 50 percent of the participants. This indicates that the supplementation was successful, the scientists explain.
Disease progression was slowed down by vitamin B12
The experts found that disease progression progressed much more slowly in patients with an improved vitamin B12 level compared to participants with a low B12 level. People taking vitamin B12 also had lower scores on the so-called Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), which is a measure of Parkinson's disability. A lack of this essential vitamin promotes the development of neurological and motor symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease, including depression, paranoia, muscle numbness, and weakness, the authors explain.
Vitamin B12 is crucial for cognitive health
Vitamin B12 is vital for cognitive health. However, it is known that it is difficult to absorb the vitamin through the intestine. This suggests that taking a vitamin B12 supplement may be necessary. In fact, vitamin B12 is so difficult to absorb that only about one percent of the dietary intake is preserved, the doctors say.
Dietary supplements can bypass the digestive system
Supplementing vitamin B12, for example with an oral spray used daily, means that the vitamin can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive system, which normally destroys essential nutrients with strong enzymes and acids. (as)