Fact or Myth: Low Vitamin D Levels Are Linked to Parkinson’s

This is a FACT.

Recent research flips the script. Having low vitamin D levels isn’t a symptom of Parkinson’s disease (as previously espoused) but a cause! Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that afflicts 50,000-60,000 Americans every year, is the 14th most common cause of death. It disrupts proper motor function by assaulting dopamine-producing brain cells. Early warning symptoms include loss of smell, tremors, and unexplained changes in sleep patterns. Research keeps on showing that low vitamin D levels are linked to Parkinson’s.

The Link between Low D and Parkinson’s

Typically, low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. It’s time to add an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease to that list.

A study published in the Archives of Neurology followed 3,173 patients over 29 years. At the start of the study, when all patients were Parkinson’s free, researchers analyzed vitamin D levels in patient blood samples. At the end of the 29 years, results showed that those with the lowest levels of vitamin D had the highest risk of Parkinson’s, while those with the highest levels had the lowest associated risk.

Another study confirmed that low vitamin D levels are linked to Parkinson’s. Out of 150 Parkinson’s patients, 70% had insufficient vitamin D levels (less than 30 nanograms/ milliliter) and 26% were vitamin D deficient (less than 20 nanograms/ milliliter).

walkinginsunSoak Up Some Sun Rays

These are frightening statistics for Americans, three-fourths of whom have low vitamin D levels! It’s not surprising. Over the last couple of decades, we’ve been scared away from the sun…and cancer and other life-threatening diseases have risen accordingly!

The very best way to ensure adequate vitamin D levels is to expose large surface areas of your skin (legs and arms) to the sun. Be diligent and careful about managing the sun. A sunburn is indeed dangerous, but depending on your skin type and latitudinal coordinates, exposing your sunscreen-free skin to sunlight between 10 and 30 minutes a day will ensure healthy vitamin D levels year round.

Although food can’t replace the sun when it comes to manufacturing vitamin D in the body, you can shore up deficiencies by eating oily, coldwater fish like salmon and mackerel. If you have been diagnosed with vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency, then consider taking a supplement made from the active form of vitamin D—vitamin D3.