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January 2014

Vitamin D May Improve Mood, Cognition in Parkinson's Disease Patients

A new study suggests that Parkinson's disease patients with higher vitamin D blood levels may have improved mood and mental performance.

Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Parkinson's disease affects nerve cells in a part of the brain that controls muscle movement. Early symptoms of Parkinson's disease are subtle and occur gradually. In some people, the disease progresses more quickly than in others. As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects the majority of Parkinson's disease patients may begin to interfere with daily activities. Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions.

In a recent study, researchers examined both vitamin D blood levels and neuropsychiatric performance in 286 Parkinson's disease patients. Neuropsychiatric performance was evaluated with various tests including cognitive function tests, memory tests, disease severity tests and depression evaluations.

Through data analyses, the researchers found that participants with higher vitamin D levels performed better on the neuropsychiatric performance tests than those with lower vitamin D levels. Participants with higher vitamin D levels performed significantly better on the verbal memory and fluency scores. Furthermore, those with higher vitamin D levels had significantly lower depression scores.

The authors concluded that higher vitamin D blood levels may be associated with improved memory and mood in people with Parkinson's disease. Additional research is needed to further evaluate these findings.

For more information about vitamin D, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.


  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 
  2. Peterson AL, Murchison C, Zabetian C, et al. Memory, mood, and vitamin d in persons with Parkinson's disease. J Parkinsons Dis. 2013 Jan 1;3(4):547-55.

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