Antioxidants in food tied to lower parkinsonism risk, progression

Pearl Toh
22 May 2018
Antioxidants in food tied to lower parkinsonism risk, progression

High intake of antioxidants such as carotenoids, vitamins E and C was associated with a reduced risk of parkinsonism and its progression in older adults, suggests a study presented at AAN 2018.

Compared with individuals in the lowest intake quintile, those with the highest intake of total carotenoids and lutein, a naturally-occurring carotenoid, were 31 percent (adjusted hazard ratio [HR],0.69, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.48–1.00) and 44 percent (HR, 0.56, 95 percent CI, 0.39–0.81) less likely to develop parkinsonism, respectively. [AAN 2018, abstract S4.006]

Similarly, individuals in the highest quintile of vitamin E intake had a 30 percent reduced risk of developing parkinsonism than those in the lowest intake quintile (HR, 0.70, 95 percent CI, 0.50–1.00).

The analysis included 706 participants from the ongoing longitudinal cohort study Rush Memory and Aging Project who were followed up annually on parkinsonian signs for up to 12 years. Participants were considered to have parkinsonism if 2 out of four parkinsonian signs were present based on the modified United Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale. Some of the signs included bradykinesia, rigidity, tremors, and gait. Overall severity of parkinsonism was based on summary of continuous global parkinsonian scores.  

Nutrient intake was assessed at baseline using a 144-item validated questionnaire on food frequency. All the nutrients analysed were adjusted for calorie using the regression-residual methods, and participants were stratified into quintiles according to their intakes of the different nutrients analysed.

In addition to a reduction in parkinsonism risk, higher intakes of total carotenoids (ptrend<0.0001), beta-carotene (ptrend=0.01), lutein (ptrend=0.009), vitamin C (ptrend=0.007), and vitamin E (ptrend=0.07) were also associated with a lower risk of progression of parkinsonian symptoms.

Alpha-carotene intake did not appear to be associated with parkinsonism progression.

“Identifying modifiable risk factors may facilitate the prevention or mitigate this growing public health problem,” said the researchers. “Antioxidant nutrients in diet including carotenoids, vitamins E and C may reduce the risk of parkinsonism as well as its progression in older adults.”

As such, doctors should encourage healthy eating behavioural change in their patients and promote eating more bright-colour fruits and vegetables daily, said lead author Dr Puja Agarwal from Rush University Medical Center in Naperville, Illinois, US.



Editor's Recommendations