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Lack of vitamin D can lead to Parkinson’s disease, a 30-year study has suggested.
The study of 3,000 people showed a three-fold higher risk of Parkinson’s in those with lower levels of the vitamin.
A separate probe revealed that low vitamin D was linked to a 60% higher chance of serious mental decline in old age.
The Parkinson’s researchers in Finland recruited 3,173 men and women aged 50 to 79 without the disease and 50 subjects developed it over the next 29 years: those who had the lowest amounts of vitamin D were three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those with the highest.
The second study, by US, British and Italian scientists, assessed mental performances of 850 people aged 65 or over living in Italy.
Over a period of up to six years, participants severely deficient in vitamin D were 60% more likely to suffer substantial mental decline than those with healthy levels.
The studies in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, add to growing evidence of the vitamin’s importance: research suggests that the vitamin strengthens bones,and protects against cancers, heart disease and diabetes.
Vitamin D is mainly generated by sunlight on the skin. With age, skin becomes less able to produce it.
Copyright Press Association 2010