Parkinson’s will not only affect the one who was diagnosed, but it will affect their loved ones as well. Here is the #1 best vitamin for parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s Disease is a disorder that causes nerve cell damage in the brain, which leads to a drop in dopamine, the “feel good” hormone; lower dopamine levels cause atypical brain activity that can lead to impaired movement. Every year, around 13 out of every 100,000 people in the United States deal with the disease. Although it may stem from genetics, head injuries, and some other environmental factors, Parkinson’s will not only affect the one who was diagnosed, but it will affect their loved ones as well.
Once you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, there are ways to help control the symptoms. This includes changing your diet and even taking medication prescribed by your doctor. There are even supplements that can help provide you with extra nutrients that your body is missing that can impact your disease. According to Lisa R. Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, and The Portion Teller Plan medical expert board, the best supplement you can take to help with Parkinson’s Disease is one with vitamin B12.
“While I’m a fan of a food-first approach, taking a vitamin B12 supplement may slow the loss of reduced cognitive function,” explains Dr. Young. “People with early-onset Parkinson’s disease tend to have lower vitamin B12 levels which may lower cognitive function.”
The importance of vitamin B12
Dr. Young suggests that B12 (also called cobalamin) helps to keep the nerve cells healthy. If you’re taking the food-first approach, B12 can be found mainly in animal products. For example, red meat, chicken, fish, dairy, and eggs, but also in nutritional yeast. However, if you want to ensure you’re getting the correct amount of B12 intake, then you can take a supplement.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily amount of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms. The Mayo Clinic further states that the B12 vitamin plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and the production of DNA, linking dementia and low cognitive function with this vitamin deficiency.
Overview about vitamin B12
Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) plays an essential role in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA, the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information.
Food sources of vitamin B-12 include poultry, meat, fish and dairy products. Vitamin B-12 is also added to some foods, such as fortified breakfast cereals, and is available as an oral supplement. Vitamin B-12 injections or nasal spray might be prescribed to treat vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency is not common in the U.S. However, people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet might be prone to deficiency because plant foods don’t contain vitamin B-12. Older adults and people with digestive tract conditions that affect absorption of nutrients also are susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Left untreated, a vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, nerve damage and mood disturbances.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms.
Research on the use of vitamin B-12 for specific activities and conditions shows:
Heart and blood vessel disease. Researchers had previously believed that vitamin B-12, when combined with folic acid (vitamin B-9) and vitamin B-6, might prevent diseases of the heart and blood vessels by reducing the levels of an amino acid in the blood (homocysteine). However, studies show that the combination of these vitamins doesn’t seem to reduce the risk or severity of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Dementia. Vitamin B-12 deficiency is associated with dementia and low cognitive function, but it’s not clear whether vitamin B-12 supplements might help prevent or treat dementia.
Athletic performance. Unless you have a vitamin B-12 deficiency, there’s no evidence that vitamin B-12 supplements will boost your energy or make you a better athlete.
Most people get enough vitamin B-12 from a balanced diet. However, older adults, vegetarians, vegans and people who have conditions that affect their ability to absorb vitamin B-12 from foods might benefit from the use of oral supplements.
Vitamin B-12 supplements also are recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding exclusively and follow vegetarian or vegan diets.
Safety and side effects
When taken at appropriate doses, vitamin B-12 supplements are generally considered safe. While the recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms, higher doses have been found to be safe. Your body absorbs only as much as it needs, and any excess passes through your urine.
High doses of vitamin B-12, such as those used to treat a deficiency, might cause:
Nausea and vomiting
Fatigue or weakness
Tingling sensation in hands and feet
What the science says
A study published in the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society suggests that patients in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease who show low vitamin B12 experienced faster motor and cognitive decline. This suggests that vitamin supplements may help slow the progression of these symptoms.
In the study, researchers measured vitamin B12 and other B12-related factors in 680 participants with early, untreated Parkinson’s Disease. They then followed up with 456 samples. The results showed that 13% of these participants had borderline low B12 levels, and 7% had elevated homocysteine—an amino acid whose levels are inversely related to a vitamin deficiency. Elevated homocysteine may increase your risks for dementia, heart disease, and stroke without treatment.
Therefore, the study showed that low levels of B12 were common in those with early stages of Parkinson’s Disease. Low B12 predicted greater worsening of mobility, while elevated homocysteine predicted greater cognitive decline.