Parkinson's: a diet rich in flavonoids to prevent the disease and live longer


A new study reveals that a diet rich in flavonoids reduces mortality in people with Parkinson’s disease. People with Parkinson’s disease have a higher risk of mortality compared to the general population.

Researchers have recently shown that a diet rich in flavonoids, compounds found in foods in bright colors such as blueberries, strawberries, red wine and tea, reduces mortality in people with Parkinson’s disease. In this new study, after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, affected people lived longer when they added flavonoid-rich foods to their diet.

In the journal Neurology researchers from Penn State University, Harvard, and Queens’ University Belfast, Northern Ireland, used data from two long-term studies, the Nurses Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) to analyze the effects of diet on longevity in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Specifically, the researchers chose to examine the effect of flavonoids on mortality in patients with Parkinson’s. Flavonoids are plant-derived molecules found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and common beverages like tea and red wine. Flavonoid metabolites can cross the blood-brain barrier and have been shown to reduce oxidative stress, inflammation and hardening of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.

Flavonoids, neurodegenerative disorders and prevention

These particular molecular functions give flavonoids neuroprotective properties. In the central nervous system, flavonoid metabolites bind to receptors in the brain that control sedation and anxiety, and may even treat the risk of seizures. They can also bind to monoamine oxidase receptor B, an important drug target for reducing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. For this reason, flavonoids have aroused great interest among clinician-scientists who treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease.

The current study is based on previous work by researchers in 2012, who found that the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in men was reduced by 40% when consuming diets high in flavonoids.

Researchers already knew that diets high in fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, fish and poultry, low intake of saturated fat and moderate alcohol intake may protect against Parkinson’s disease.

People living with Parkinson’s disease have higher death rates than people with diabetes, colorectal cancer, ischemic heart disease or of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Some studies show a possibly slightly higher risk and other studies have gone so far as to say they have twice the risk, compared to people with other chronic conditions. there is also a big reduction in some of these other chronic conditions over the years. Thus, the risk of cancer, the risk of stroke, all decrease significantly, while perhaps, the risk of Parkinson’s disease increases.

The results of the new study

By studying 1 251 people from the NHS and HPFS studies, the researchers measured the proportions of intake of foods such as apples, blueberries, strawberries, tea, oranges and red wines. They were able to measure the food intake of these people during 32 to 34 years, until their death or the end of the study. To reduce the bias that living with Parkinson’s disease might cause, due to changes in dietary intake following the disease, scientists quantified flavonoid-rich foods before and after Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. Parkinson’s in participants.

Participants with Parkinson’s disease who ate a diet rich in flavonoids before their diagnosis had lower all-cause mortality.

Participants who began to follow a diet high in flavonoids after the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease had lower mortality rates.

Indeed, Flavonoids are natural food components, of vegetable origin, rich in fruits and vegetables. They give various colors to these plants. Researchers believe that adopting a healthy diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables (eg berries) immediately after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease may slow the progression of the disease and improve the survival rate.

Lifestyle changes may slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease

The adoption of a healthy lifestyle, such as physical activity and a healthy eating pattern with high intakes of colorful fruits and vegetables. A large number of studies also support the potential neuroprotective effects of coffee and tea.


Intake of Flavonoids and Flavonoid-Rich Foods, and Mortality Risk Among Individuals With Parkinson Disease: A Prospective Cohort Study

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