Vitamins Are An Effective Treatment For Parkinson's
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- Vitamins Are An Effective Treatment For Parkinson's
R by Dr.Jeff
Ask The Candida Expe
More good news on taking vitamins to help restore function in Parkinson's - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120511101240.htm
Neuroscientist Patrik Verstreken, associated with VIB and KU Leuven, succeeded in undoing the effect of one of the genetic defects that leads to Parkinson's using vitamin K2. His discovery gives hope to Parkinson's patients.
"It appears from our research that administering vitamin K2 could possibly help patients with Parkinson's. However, more work needs to be done to understand this better," says Patrik Verstreken.
Malfunctioning power plants are at the basis of Parkinson's.
If we looked at cells as small factories, then mitochondria would be the power plants responsible for supplying the energy for their operation. They generate this energy by transporting electrons. In Parkinson's patients, the activity of mitochondria and the transport of electrons have been disrupted, resulting in the mitochondria no longer producing sufficient energy for the cell. This has major consequences as the cells in certain parts of the brain will start dying off, disrupting communication between neurons. The results are the typical symptoms of Parkinson's: lack of movement (akinesia), tremors and muscle stiffness.
The exact cause of this neurodegenerative disease is not known. In recent years, however, scientists have been able to describe several genetic defects (mutations) found in Parkinson's patients, including the so-called PINK1 and Parkin mutations, which both lead to reduced mitochondrial activity. By studying these mutations, scientists hope to unravel the mechanisms underlying the disease process.
Fruit flies (Drosophila) are frequently used in lab experiments because of their short life spans and breeding cycles, among other things. Within two weeks of her emergence, every female is able to produce hundreds of offspring. By genetically modifying fruitflies, scientists can study the function of certain genes and proteins. Patrik Verstreken and his team used fruitflies with a genetic defect in PINK1 or Parkin that is similar to the one associated with Parkinson's. They found that the flies with a PINK1 or Parkin mutation lost their ability to fly.
Upon closer examination, they discovered that the mitochondria in these flies were defective, just as in Parkinson's patients. Because of this they generated less intracellular energy -- energy the insects needed to fly. When the flies were given vitamin K2, the energy production in their mitochondria was restored and the insects' ability to fly improved. The researchers were also able to determine that the energy production was restored because the vitamin K2 had improved electron transport in the mitochondria. This in turn led to improved energy production.
Vitamin K2 plays a role in the energy production of defective mitochondria. Because defective mitochondria are also found in Parkinson's patients with a PINK1 or Parkin mutation, vitamin K2 potentially offers hope for a new treatment for Parkinson's.
...and vitamin D here - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081013171503.htm
A majority of Parkinson's disease patients had insufficient levels of vitamin D in a new study from Emory University School of Medicine.
The fraction of Parkinson's patients with vitamin D insufficiency, 55 percent, was significantly more than patients with Alzheimer's disease (41 percent) or healthy elderly people (36 percent).
The finding adds to evidence that low vitamin D is associated with Parkinson's, says first author Marian Evatt, MD, assistant professor of neurology at Emory.
Most Americans get the majority of their vitamin D from exposure to sunlight or by dietary supplements; fortified foods such as milk and packaged cereals are a minor source. Only a few foods in nature contain substantial amounts of vitamin D, such as salmon and tuna.
The body's ability to produce vitamin D using UV-B radiation from the sun decreases with age, making older individuals at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.
"We found that vitamin D insufficiency may have a unique association with Parkinson's, which is intriguing and warrants further investigation," Evatt says.
The connection could come partly because patients with Parkinson's have mobility problems and are seldom exposed to the sun, or because low vitamin D levels are in some way related to the genesis or progression of the disease.
She says her team saw their results as striking because their study group came from the Southeast, not a region with long gloomy winters, where vitamin D insufficiency is thought to be more of a problem.
In addition, the study found that the fraction of patients with the lowest levels of vitamin D, described as vitamin D deficiency, was higher (23 percent) in the Parkinson's group than the Alzheimer's group (16 percent) or the healthy group (10 percent).
The retrospective study examined 100 people in each group, who were recruited between 1992 and 2007. Every fifth Parkinson's patient from Emory's clinical neurology database was selected, then healthy controls and patients with Alzheimer's disease were matched on age and state of residence.
Vitamin D insufficiency is frequently defined as less than 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood of the 25-hydroxy form (the major storage form) of the vitamin and deficiency as less than 20 nanograms per milliliter. However, most experts agree insufficiency warrants treatment and should not be ignored.
Doctors have known for decades that vitamin D plays a role in bone formation, Evatt says. More recently, scientists have been uncovering its effects elsewhere, including producing peptides that fight microbes in the skin, regulating blood pressure and insulin levels, and maintaining the nervous system. Low vitamin D levels also appear to increase the risk of several cancers and auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes.
Parkinson's disease affects nerve cells in several parts of the brain, particularly those that use the chemical messenger dopamine to control movement. The most common symptoms are tremor, stiffness and slowness of movement. These can be treated with oral replacement of dopamine.
Previous studies have shown that the part of the brain affected most by Parkinson's, the substantia nigra, has high levels of the vitamin D receptor, which suggests vitamin D may be important for normal functions of these cells, Evatt says.
Emory clinicians are conducting further research to investigate whether vitamin D insufficiency is a cause or possibly a result of having Parkinson's. In a pilot study, Parkinson's patients are receiving either standard or larger doses of vitamin D, with an eye towards possibly reducing the severity of their condition.
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