Calcium & Vitamin D: What is their relationship to Parkinson’s (PD)?

Calcium and Vitamin D are nutrients that are an important part to a healthy diet, but do they play a role in PD management?

Studies have found that a deficiency in serum levels of Vitamin D is common among approximately half of individuals living with PD. In addition, lower levels of serum Vitamin D is consistent with an increased incidence of falls in those with and without PD. The correlation between lower Vitamin D and increased motor symptom severity has been one of the highest relational findings between Vitamin D and PD. However, while studies are seeing these associations, there is inconsistent evidence in the role Vitamin D supplementation plays in people with PD and symptom improvement.  In studies that have seen positive symptom management, still further research is needed to find the proper level of supplementation for optimal results; current studies are finding a bell curve among supplemental doses and outcomes, showing that over more isn’t always better.

There have been studies which found Vitamin D supplementation to improve non-motor symptoms such as depression and insomnia, but these studies were largely conducted in populations of individuals without PD. Additional research needs to be done to focus on the specific relationship between Vitamin D supplementation and PD.

Currently the evidence is inconclusive that supplementation will improve symptoms of PD, but the role of Vitamin D remains important in the absorption of Calcium for bone health so even if no additional benefits are seen in symptoms associated with PD, receiving adequate Vitamin D and Calcium can help keep bone strong and reduce the risk of fractures associated with falls.

Recommended amounts for Calcium intake:

  • Healthy adults between the ages of 19 and 50 should aim for 1000 milligrams (mg) calcium per day.
  • Older adults (especially women after menopause) need more calcium, because bones lose calcium as we age. After age 50, healthy adults should get 1,200 mg calcium per day.

Sources of Calcium include:

  • Milk and dairy products such as yogurt
  • Almonds
  • Greens ie: mustard, collard, and kale
  • Fortified foods such as orange juice and cereals
  • Supplements

Recommended amounts for Vitamin D intake:

  • Men and Women (19 – 70 years): 600 IU each day or 15 mcg each day.
  • Men and Women (71 years and older): 800 IU each day or 20 mcg each day.

Vitamin D can be obtained from various sources including:

  • Sunlight – 10 – 15 minutes several times per week on exposed arms and legs
  • Fatty fish such as rainbow trout and salmon
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified foods such as milk and orange juice
  • Supplements

Always check with your doctor before adding a supplement to your regime to learn of any potential side effects. As with all other symptom management, results vary by person based on a variety of factors, so continue to do what works best for you.

If you are interested in helping further research between Osteoporosis (which directly correlates with Calcium & Vitamin D) & Parkinson’s,  Join the Study with the team at the Vanderbilt Movement Disorders Clinic.

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Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s Hosts 3rd Annual Navigating the Parkinson’s Path

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Follow Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s on Facebook: @PetersonFoundation

For the third year the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s will host their annual Expo Navigating the Parkinson’s Path: Insights and Information for Improved Living. The half-day event, designed to educate, engage and empower the Parkinson’s community, will be held on Saturday, August 7, 2021 at Brentwood Baptist Church. The organization will also provide a virtual platform for individuals unable to attend the event in person.

This year the Expo’s keynote speakers include Dr. Peter Hedera, M.D. Ph.d  University of Louisville, Dr. Thomas Davis, Vice Chair, Research; Division Chief, Movement Disorders Professor Neurology Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Dr. William Petrie, MD Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“This annual event allows the Parkinson’s Community throughout Middle Tennessee the opportunity to raise awareness around the diagnosis and provide education to individuals living with Parkinson’s, their caregivers, friends and family.” states Brent Peterson, Founder and Board Chair of the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s. Thanks to the generous donations from our sponsors and the support provided from our Parkinson’s Foundation grant, this event will be free of charge. The organization does require advance registration, for more information on tickets visit www.petersonfoundationforparkinsons.org.

Founded in 2009, the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s is a non-profit with a mission to support and enhance lives of people with Parkinson’s, their care partners, and their families to achieve their highest possible quality of life through awareness, education, and programs within a caring community.

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If you would like more information about the Peterson foundation for Parkinson’s, please call Debbie Lowenthal at or email at info@petersonforparkinsons.org.

Tips for Cooking with Parkinson’s

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” -George Bernard Shaw

Enjoying a meal is a simple pleasure in life. When we cook and eat, we use many complex motor skills without thinking. For someone living with Parkinson’s preparing or enjoying a meal may become challenging, frustrating, or even embarrassing if you struggle with tremors, rigidity, balance, coordination, dysphagia and other symptoms.

There are plenty of kitchen tools specifically designed for Parkinson’s patients that can make cooking and eating with Parkinson’s easier and more enjoyable. Below are a few of our suggestions.

  • Weighted utensils help steady your hand, keeping food on your utensil as it journeys from your plate to your mouth.
  • Get gadgets with big, cushioned handles such as a potato peeler, spatula or even spice grinders and more. The larger grip will also help steady tremors while in use. You may also want to consider grip foam tubing that can be added to your existing utensils.
  • Consider ditching the knife and use manual or electric vegetable choppers or food processers to chop, slice, and dice your food.
  • Not ready to ditch the knife and cutting board? Look into an adaptive cutting board that has built-up sides and non-slip backing to keep items in place while cutting.
  • Look for pots and dishware with suction cups at the bottom to stick to the counter and table.
  • Using a straw can reduce the need to pick up and hold a cup, assisting with grip and tremors.

These are only a few suggestions of kitchen gadgets to help make cooking and eating easier for individuals living with Parkinson’s. Visit your local home goods store or visit Amazon to find more Parkinson’s must-have kitchen gadgets.

These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by PFP of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation or organization or individual.

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