Did You Know… that a vitamin that helps prevent cancer, heart disease, strokes, cataracts — and combats the signs of aging — may also be an effective Parkinson’s treatment and ease the symptoms for those who already suffer from it?
The health benefits of vitamin E have been celebrated for many decades. But now, this fat-soluble vitamin is being widely recommended for more than its well-known benefits. Experts say natural vitamin E may be an important alternative therapy for Parkinson’s disease.
According to WebMD, “experts have suggested that 800 IU to 1,200 IU per day of vitamin E can help alleviate some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.”
The common term “vitamin E” includes as many as 8 different types of tocopherol, a substance derived from plants. Of all these varieties, d-alpha tocopherol is believed to be the strongest and most medically useful.
Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common nervous system disorders. The disease attacks a chemical called dopamine that’s key to the brain’s ability to control muscle movement. Over time, those who suffer from Parkinson’s lose muscle function.
As the disease progresses, other common neurological symptoms may appear, including:
- Anxiety, stress, and tension
- Memory loss
At this time, the mechanism that causes those brain cells to waste away is a mystery and there is no known cure for Parkinson’s. However, there is a growing ray of hope for Parkinson’s treatments.
In 2002, a study was published in the Archives of Neurology tracing the mental decline of 3,000 men and women diagnosed with Parkinson’s between the ages of 65 and 102 over the span of 7 years.
The study found that those participants whose supplemental vitamin E consumption was higher — in the top 1/5 to be precise — experienced a 36% reduction of the severity of their symptoms compared to those in the lowest quintile (1/5) of subjects.
A different study, originally appearing in the May 18 online edition of Lancet Neurology in 2005 and subsequently reported on by many mainstream news sources including CBS Healthwatch, indicated that vitamin E can actually prevent Parkinson’s disease!
Overall, researchers found that diets with even a moderate amount of vitamin E led to a 19% reduction in risk of developing Parkinson’s — welcome news for those with a family history of the disease.
Parkinson’s Treatment: Natural Vitamin E Versus “Vitamin E Enriched”
According to Jennifer Warner, a review of current research indicates that “only vitamin E eaten in its natural form appears to have a significant impact in reducing the risk of Parkinson’s.” This means that “vitamin E enriched” foods, such as cereals, don’t count.
Fortunately, there are many delicious, readily available food sources that are rich in vitamin E — including walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, wheat germ and spinach.
Diet is thought to be one of the environmental risk factors in the Parkinson’s equation. Along with dietary changes, adding a high-quality, natural vitamin E supplement is another great way to lower your risk of Parkinson’s.
Vitamin E has also been shown to deliver a host of health benefits including, but not limited to, the following:
- Lower your risk for stomach, colon, breast and cervical cancer
- Decrease the risk of a non-fatal heart attack or stroke
- Combat the aging process (especially for your skin)
- Prevent macular degeneration
- Boost production of red blood cells
- Protect your membranes from free radical damage
- Protect against environmental toxins (like ozone and nitrogen dioxide)
- Reduce lead, mercury, and copper toxicity
But remember, it’s only the natural form of vitamin E — the kind that’s isolated from vegetable oils — that offers all these important health benefits.
Natural vitamin E is significantly more biologically active and more present in various organs, blood and muscle tissue compared to the synthetic varieties.