Parkinson's disease linked to high iron intake

June 09, 2003

ST. PAUL, MN - People with high levels of iron in their diet are more likely to develop Parkinson's disease, according to a study in the June 10 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. People with both high levels of iron and manganese were nearly two times more likely to develop the disease than those with the lowest levels of the minerals in their diets.

The study compared 250 people who were newly diagnosed with Parkinson's to 388 people without the disease. Interviews were conducted to determine how often participants ate certain foods during their adult life.

Those who had the highest level of iron in their diets - in the top 25 percent - were 1.7 times more likely to be Parkinson's patients than those in the lowest 25 percent of iron intake. Those whose level of both iron and manganese was higher than average were 1.9 times more likely to be Parkinson's patients than those with lower than average intake of the minerals.

Iron and manganese contribute to oxidative stress, a situation where cells release toxic substances called free radicals as part of normal energy consumption and metabolism.

"Oxidative stress may cause degeneration of brain cells that produce dopamine - the same cells that are affected by Parkinson's disease," said study author Harvey Checkoway, PhD, of the University of Washington in Seattle.

People who had higher than average dietary iron intake and who also took, on average, one or more multivitamins or iron supplements per day were 2.1 times more likely to be Parkinson's patients than those who had lower than average dietary iron intake and who took fewer than one multivitamin or iron supplement per day.

Those who had higher than average dietary manganese intake and also took an average of one or more multivitamins per day were 1.9 times more likely to be Parkinson's patients than those who had lower than average dietary manganese intake and who took less than one multivitamin per day.

Additional studies are necessary to confirm these results, Checkoway said.

Foods rich in both iron and manganese include spinach, legumes, nuts and whole grains. Iron is also abundant in red meat and poultry.

Checkoway said that the benefits of eating foods rich in iron and manganese and in taking multivitamins outweigh the risks of developing Parkinson's disease.

"Our findings may improve understanding of how Parkinson's disease develops," he said. "But, there are most likely numerous environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors that determine who will develop the disease. It's too early to make any recommendations about potential dietary changes."
-end-
The research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 18,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, autism and multiple sclerosis.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its web site at www.aan.com.

American Academy of Neurology

Related Iron Articles from Brightsurf:

How stony-iron meteorites form
Meteorites give us insight into the early development of the solar system.

Bouillon fortified with a new iron compound could help reduce iron deficiency
Iron fortification of food is a cost-effective method of preventing iron deficiency.

Iron nanorobots go undercover
Customizable magnetic iron nanowires pinpoint and track the movements of target cells.

Iron deficiency in corals?
When iron is limited, the microalgae that live within coral cells change how they take in other trace metals, which could have cascading effects on vital biological functions and perhaps exacerbate the effects of climate change on corals.

Blocking the iron transport could stop tuberculosis
The bacteria that cause tuberculosis need iron to survive. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now solved the first detailed structure of the transport protein responsible for the iron supply.

Observed: An exoplanet where it rains iron
Nature magazine is publishing today a surprising study about the giant, ultra-hot planet WASP-76b in which researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) have taken part.

An iron-clad asteroid
Mineralogists from Jena and Japan discover a previously unknown phenomenon in soil samples from the asteroid 'Itokawa': the surface of the celestial body is covered with tiny hair-shaped iron crystals.

It's Iron, Man: ITMO scientists found a way to treat cancer with iron oxide nanoparticles
Particles previously loaded with the antitumor drug are injected in vivo and further accumulate at the tumor areas.

The brain may need iron for healthy cognitive development
Iron levels in brain tissue rise during development and are correlated with cognitive abilities, according to research in children and young adults recently published in JNeurosci.

The regulators active during iron deficiency
Iron deficiency is a critical situation for plants, which respond using specific genetic programmes.

Read More: Iron News and Iron Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.