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Eating Berries May Lower Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Feb 14, 2011 – Researchers from the American Academy of Neurology shows men and women who regularly eat berries may have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, while men may also further lower their risk by regularly eating apples, oranges and other sources rich in dietary components called flavonoids. Flavonoids are found in plants and fruits, such as berries and grapefruit, and known collectively as vitamin P and citrin.

The study involved 49,281 men and 80,336 women. Researchers gave participants questionnaires and used a database to calculate intake amount of flavonoids. They then analyzed the association between flavonoid intakes and risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. They also analyzed consumption of five major sources of foods rich in flavonoids: tea, berries, apples, red wine and oranges or orange juice. The participants were followed for 20 to 22 years.

During that time, 805 people developed Parkinson’s disease. In men, the top 20% who consumed the most flavonoids were about 40% less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than the bottom 20% of male participants who consumed the least amount of flavonoids. In women, there was no relationship between overall flavonoid consumption and developing Parkinson’s disease. However, when subclasses of flavonoids were examined, regular consumption of anthocyanins, which are mainly obtained from berries, were found to be associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.

The study was also supported by the National Institutes of Health and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 63rd Annual Meeting in Honolulu April 9-16, 2011.
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