Leafy greens, whole grains, nuts and other foods rich in vitamin E may help prevent Parkinson’s disease, according to a new review of eight studies.
The researchers stressed that the finding needs to be verified in clinical trials before vitamin E could be recommended as a means of warding off the condition, however.
Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive deterioration of motor control. The exact cause of Parkinson’s remains unknown.
“We looked at the intake of vitamin E and C and beta-carotene,” said lead researcher Mahyar Etminan, a postdoctorate fellow in the Division of Clinical Epidemiology at Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, and the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation at Vancouver Hospital, Canada.
“We found that the only intake that proved to be protective [of Parkinson’s] was intake of vitamin E,” he said.
In their research, Etminan and his colleagues identified eight relevant studies published between 1966 and 2005. Combining data from these studies, they found that individuals with high dietary intake of vitamin E — those ranked in the top fifth in terms of their daily intake — decreased their risk of developing Parkinson’s by about 22 percent, compared to individuals with low intake of the nutrient.
Intake of vitamin C or beta-carotene appeared to have no protective effect on developing Parkinson’s, the researchers add.
The study found a protective effect from vitamin E sourced from food, but whether vitamin E supplements might also be protective remains unclear, Etminan said. The researchers note that at least one study has suggested that supplements do not offer the same benefit as dietary sources of vitamin E.