Ever wonder what deficiency causes Parkinson’s disease?
This is mainly the deficiency of dopamine in the brain that causes this disease. The lack of other brain chemicals could also contribute to this. Besides, researchers have found a link between PD and food nutrients, and they think that the deficiency of certain nutrients could increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Here, you will get to know the deficiencies of brain chemicals and certain nutrients that are linked to Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a motor disorder that has currently affected over 10 million people worldwide. The typical symptoms include tremor, slowness of movement, stiffness, gait abnormality, and balance problems. Besides these motor symptoms, Parkinson’s patient also shows non-motor problems such as constipation, abnormal sleep behavior, smell loss, low blood pressure, fatigue, weight loss, and hallucination.
Researchers have made great progress in understanding the different aspects of PD, but there is still a lot to learn. In this article, we discuss the deficiencies of certain chemicals in the body that contribute to this disease.
Deficiency of Dopamine
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that has a variety of functions. These include alertness, pleasure, addiction, mood elevation, and memory boost. But most importantly, it’s responsible for controlling various movements of your body.
Researchers believe that dopamine is the main culprit of PD. They are convinced that it is the deficiency of this chemical that develops PD symptoms in a patient.
Inside the brain, dopamine is produced by neurons that are located in the region linked to PD. This region is known as the substantial nigra. When substantial nigra part of the brain lost over 70% of dopamine-producing cells, the body develops typical motor signs of the disease.
Deficiency of Serotonin
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that sends messages between nerve cells. Apart from other functions, this brain chemical contributes to well-being and happiness, which is why it’s often known as the happy chemical.
Parkinson’s patients are reported to have 50% less serotonin in their brains compared to healthy individuals. This is mainly due to the loss of cells producing this chemical. These cells are located in the lower, stalklike part of the brain called the brainstem. Researchers have noticed that the loss of serotonin-producing cells appears to be at a slower pace compared to that of dopamine-producing cells.
Serotonin deficiency in the brain is associated with both the development of motor and non-motor symptoms of PD. So far tremor is the most common symptom linked to the deficiency of serotonin. Non-motor symptoms that are known to cause by the lack of this chemical include depression, sleep disturbances, fatigue, weight loss, hallucination, and psychosis.
Deficiency of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a nutrient your body needs to keep your bones, teeth, and muscles strong and healthy. It’s also good for your brain development and helps to boosts your immune system.
Research suggests that there is a potential role of vitamin D in the development of PD. In fact, one study showed that 55% of PD patients usually have vitamin D deficiency. This suggests that increasing its levels might be useful in the protection of PD. And that’s the reason why many clinical trials are focused on the use of vitamin D supplementation as an alternative way of treating PD symptoms.
While some published studies have confirmed that its supplementation could help to treat non-motor symptoms, there is haven’t any clear proof that could show that its intake improves the typical symptoms or slows down the progression of PD.
Deficiency of Vitamin E
This vitamin serves as a powerful source of antioxidants. It is commonly found in fresh vegetables and other components of the diet.
Vitamin E is linked to numerous health conditions. And researchers are now exploring its potential role in PD.
A recent study, published in the Journal of Frontiers in Neurology, investigated the role of vitamin E in PD. They performed a questionnaire-based case-control study on 100 PD patients and 100 healthy controls. The researchers of the study found an inverse relationship between the high intake of vitamin E and the occurrence of PD; suggesting that vitamin E is protective against PD and its deficiency might increase the risk of developing PD.
In fact, the same study also confirmed this protective role of vitamin E against PD by conducting some labs experiments on mice carrying a defective gene strongly linked to PD. They found that vitamin E intake was able to restore the brain changes caused by the PD-defective gene.
These and similar results published in other studies suggest vitamin E as a good therapeutic agent for treating PD symptoms. But unfortunately, researchers did not find any clinical evidence to indicate that taking vitamin E can treat the typical symptoms of PD.
Deficiency of Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble compound that is naturally produced in the body and stored in the cells of the heart, brain, liver, and kidney.
Coenzyme Q10 deficiency has been linked to many health conditions like diabetes, cancers, and heart diseases. And now researchers have found evidence indicating that its deficiency could also play a role in developing PD.
A study, published in the Journal of Neurological Sciences, assessed the levels of coenzyme Q10 in the blood of PD patients. The researchers of the study found that PD patients that were involved in this study had decreased levels of coenzyme Q10 compared to healthy controls.
Many other published studies have shown neuroprotective effects of coenzyme Q10 and suggest that its intake might provide symptomatic benefits in people with PD. While there is some evidence indicating that its consumption may be beneficial, researchers are still not sure whether taking coenzyme Q10 could treat the typical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Related post: Coenzyme Q10 – Is it useful in Parkinson’s disease.
The Bottom Line
The deficiency of dopamine is undoubtedly the main cause of Parkinson’s motor symptoms. Similarly, the deficiency of serotonin appears to play a role in the development of non-motor symptoms. Although nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin E, and coenzyme Q10 are not directly involved in PD, their lack may still contribute to the risk of developing the disease.
Disclaimer: The information shared here should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions presented here are not intended to treat any health conditions. For your specific medical problem, consult with your health care provider.