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Low vitamin B6 may increase risk of Parkinson’s disease

April 12, 2010

Insufficient levels of vitamin B6 may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease by about 50 percent, according to a new study.

In the hospital-based case-control study, intakes of B vitamins were assessed in 249 Japanese people with Parkinson’s disease and 368 people without any neurodegenerative condition using a diet questionnaire (1). The results showed no link between vitamin B2, vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin B12 intake and disease. However, low intakes of vitamin B6 were linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, independent of other factors.

The study does not prove that low vitamin B6 levels are the cause of Parkinson’s disease, but indicates that additional study should focus on whether increased levels of vitamin B6 may reduce the risk of developing the disease.

The link between B vitamin intake and Parkinson’s disease is related to homocysteine, an amino acid reported to be potentially toxic to brain cells. Parkinson's disease occurs when nerve cells are lost in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra.

References

  1. Murakami K. et al. Dietary intake of folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and riboflavin and risk of Parkinson's disease: a case–control study in Japan. British Journal of Nutrition. 2010.