In the era of the 24-hour news cycle, it’s actually sort of refreshing to write about something “old”.
And it’s encouraging to see that science still cares about the most basic vitamins. (Although perhaps I should be alarmed that it took them this long to discover some of their best benefits.)
Case in point: A recent Swedish cohort study has linked higher intakes of vitamins C and E with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD). And while I’m not at all surprised, I’m excited to share the details with you today…
Mounting an antioxidant defense
Vitamins C and E are two of the oldest antioxidants in the book. And that’s exactly what made them a natural research target in the fight against Parkinson’s.
Researchers believe that oxidative stress is a key factor behind the loss of brain cells that leads to PD. When fatty acids in the brain meet up with free radicals, they become oxidized—generating toxins and resulting in oxidative stress and inflammation.
As free radical scavengers, antioxidants offer one simple solution to this problem. So naturally, this study wanted to explore whether they can also buffer the brain from the deadly domino effect that drives PD.
To do this, researchers looked at subjects’ dietary antioxidant intake (as measured by total nonenzymatic antioxidant capacity, or NEAC). They found that subjects with higher NEAC were older, more educated, and consumed more fruits and veggies. Those with the lowest, on the other hand, were more likely to smoke and eat a lot of dairy.
But most importantly, the risk for Parkinson’s was nearly one-third lower among people who consumed the most vitamin E or vitamin C. Meanwhile, people who consumed the most vitamin E and vitamin C together had a 38 percent lower risk of Parkinson’s than those who consumed the least—a pretty impressive feat for two humble vitamins.
Diving deeper, researchers found that these benefits were especially strong in subjects who were overweight or obese. (An especially important finding for our country, where more than three-quarters of the population falls into this category.)
In fact, overweight or obese participants who consumed the most vitamin E had a 56 percent lower risk for PD. And those who had the highest intakes of vitamin C had a 48 percent lower risk.
An ounce of prevention
In the end, high intakes of either vitamin E or vitamin C offered protection against PD—but high intakes of both vitamins boosted those benefits. And the good news is, these intakes really couldn’t be easier to achieve.
As usual, however, these researchers break out the old soft shoe and recommend that people eat a diet rich in foods with C and E. Which isn’t exactly bad advice. But they completely dismiss dietary supplementation—which is not only cheaper, but a more effective way of delivering therapeutic doses of any nutrient.
So, allow me to issue my own recommendation…
Go ahead and add vitamin-rich foods to your already healthy diet. Some of my favorite foods rich in vitamin E include almonds, spinach, and avocado—and chili peppers and broccoli for vitamin C. But in addition, be sure to add high-quality supplements—at optimal doses—to your regimen.
As I often explain, you should ignore the federal guidelines, which call for a measly 65 to 90 mg of vitamin C and only 15 mg of vitamin E daily. Instead, based on the years of research I’ve been following and my own personal experience in my medical practice, I’ve found that up to 3 grams of vitamin C and 800 IU of natural vitamin E with mixed tocopherols (d-alpha tocopherol) have been the optimal daily dosages in getting my patients feeling great again.
Parkinson’s, much like Alzheimer’s, is a slow burn, with brain changes beginning decades before symptoms really start to rear their head. But with strategies this safe, affordable, and accessible, there’s no reason not to start protecting yourself today—and hopefully, ward off a devastating diagnosis in the future.
P.S. I outline additional ways to help safeguard your brain from decline over the years in my Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Plan. To learn more about this innovative, online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Vitamins C and E Linked to Reduced Risk for Parkinson’s Disease.” Medscape Medical News, 01/21/2021. (medscape.com/viewarticle/943986)