Eating berries may lower Parkinson’s risk

February 14th, 2011 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 14 (IANS) Eating berries regularly may lower risk of developing Parkinson’s, thanks to compounds called flavonoids.

Flavonoids are found in plants and fruits and are also known collectively as vitamin P and citrin. They can also be found in berry fruits, chocolates and citrus fruits such as grapefruit.

“This is the first study in humans to examine the association between flavonoids and risk of developing Parkinson’s disease,” said study author Xiang Gao, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

The study involved 49,281 men and 80,336 women, who were followed from 20 to 22 years. Researchers gave participants questionnaires and used a database to calculate intake amount of flavonoids, according to a Harvard statement.

They then analyzed the association between flavonoid intakes and the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. They also analysed the consumption of five major sources of flavonoids: tea, berries, apples, red wine and oranges or orange juice.

During that time, 805 people developed Parkinson’s disease. In men, the top 20 percent who consumed the most flavonoids were about 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than the bottom 20 percent 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 sub-classes 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.

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