A review of vitamin D and Parkinson's disease

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The role of vitamin D in bone health has been known for over a century. More recent research has suggested that vitamin D may play a role in the muscular, immune, endocrine, and central nervous systems. Animal research suggests that vitamin D may have some protective effects against toxic insults that are known to damage dopamine cells, the primary cells to degenerate in PD. Persons with PD tend to have lower vitamin D levels than persons of similar ages without PD. Vitamin D levels are generally associated with bone mineral density (BMD) in persons with PD, but simply giving vitamin D does not appear to improve BMD. Results of genetic studies examining polymorphism of the vitamin D receptor and PD risk, severity, or age at onset have shown variable results, with FokI CC seeming to possibly carry some increased risk of PD. Amount of sun exposure and vitamin D levels in earlier life may influence the risk of developing PD. Cross-sectional research suggests a relationship between vitamin D levels and severity of PD symptoms. A single intervention study did show some improvement in PD with vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D may have effects on PD symptoms and perhaps even on the risk of disease development or disease progression. More well designed intervention studies are needed to confirm the effect of vitamin D on PD symptoms. Human neuroprotection studies are needed, but probably not feasible until better biomarkers are established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Parkinson's disease
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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