New Research sheds more Light on Parkinson’s Disease

New Research sheds more Light on Parkinson’s Disease

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute…

A new investigation from Chinese researchers demonstrates that sun exposure is dramatically protective against Parkinson’s disease (PD).[1] The paper reported a study in which 201 newly diagnosed patients were compared with 199 controls who were free of PD. Data on vitamin D intake, blood vitamin D levels and sun exposure were obtained in both groups by using a self-report questionnaire.

For blood vitamin D levels, those who had the highest levels had a 48% lowered risk of PD; for sun exposure, those receiving the greatest exposure had about 47% reduced risk of PD.

Whereas a significant positive correlation existed between blood levels of vitamin D and sun exposure, vitamin D intake from supplements, food, etc. did not correlate to blood levels of vitamin D.

This is a particularly interesting study in that it demonstrates that vitamin D should be raised by exposure to the sun when possible rather than dietary intake. It appears that dietary intake the amounts most people receive is not effective for raising those levels.

The evidence for a protective effect of sun exposure against PD has been building for some time. In 1988, it was observed that when four northern census regions of the U.S. were compared with three southern regions, death rates for PD were significantly higher in the northern regions,[2] indicating a possible protective effect of sun exposure. Later research corroborated those findings, demonstrating a strong north-south decreasing gradient for PD among whites.[3]

There are several more studies indicative of a positive effect of sun on PD, and these will be included in the book on sunlight that Dr. William Grant and I are writing, and which we hope to have published in May. Stay tuned, and safely embrace the sun!

[1] Juan Wang, Deyu Yang, Yu Yu, Gaohai Shao and Qunbo Wang 2. Vitamin D and Sunlight Exposure in Newly-Diagnosed Parkinson’s Disease. Nutrients 2016;8:142.

[2] Kurtzke JF, Goldberg ID. Parkinsonism death rates by race, sex, and geography. Neurology. 1988 Oct;38(10):1558-61.

[3] Lanska DJ. The geographic distribution of Parkinson’s disease mortality in the United States. J Neurol Sci. 1997 Sep 1;150(1):63-70.

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