Berry compounds lower risk of Parkinson's disease

Thursday, February 17, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: berries, Parkinson's, health news

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(NaturalNews) An enormous study spanning several decades has shown that people who eat berries regularly have a much lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease than othose who do not. Published in the journal ScienceDaily, the study adds significantly to the growing body of evidence proving that flavanoids, a polyphenolic type of antioxidant that is already known to exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects, can help stave off neurological diseases as well.

Xiang Gao, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed the effects of eating berries in a group of nearly 130,000 men and women. The team evaluated the correlation between flavanoid intake and cases of Parkinson's disease over the course of more than 20 years and found that the top 20 percent of men who consumed the most flavanoids were 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson's than others. And in both men and women, consumption of anthocyanins, a specific type of flavanoid, was also related to reduced risk.

"This is the first study in humans to examine the association between flavanoids and risk of developing Parkinson's disease," said Gao. "Our findings suggest that flavanoids, specifically a group called anthocyanins, may have neuroprotective effects. If confirmed, flavanoids may be a natural and healthy way to reduce your risk of developing Parkinson's disease."

A 2009 study published in the journal Archives of Neurology found that people who work in industries that involve heavy pesticide exposure are more likely to develop Parkinson's ( And another study published in the journal BMC Neurology in 2008 found a connection between pesticides and Parkinson's, including even exposure to common household pesticides like bug sprays.

Lack of vitamin D is connected to Parkinson's disease as well, according to a recent study published in the journal Archives of Neurology. Maintaining high levels of vitamin D, say the authors, can help to protect the brain from the nerve damage that leads to Parkinson's and other brain disorders (

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