Research suggests a role of vitamin D in the central nervous system and the vitamin D receptor is widely distributed in the human brain. Animal studies have shown that vitamin D is important in neurodevelopment, up-regulation of neurotrophic factors, stabilization of mitochondrial function, and antioxidative function. The authors of this study examined the relationship between serum vitamin D and neuropsychiatric function in 286 persons with Parkinson’s disease. They found that higher vitamin D concentrations were associated with better performance on numerous neuropsychiatric tests in the non-demented subset of the cohort. Significant associations were specifically found between vitamin D concentration, verbal fluency and verbal memory. Vitamin D concentrations also correlated with depression scores in the non-demented subset. The authors concluded that higher plasma vitamin D is associated with better cognition and better mood in this sample of Parkinson’s disease patients without dementia. However, determination of causation will require vitamin D intervention studies.
Peterson AL, Murchison C, Zabetian C, Leverenz J, Watson GS, Montine T, Carney N, Bowman GL, Edwards K, Quinn JF: Memory, Mood, and Vitamin D in Persons with Parkinson’s Disease. J. Parkinsons Dis. [Epub ahead of print, September 30, 2013].