A review of vitamin D and Parkinson's disease

  • Amie L. Peterson
    Correspondence to: Oregon Health Sciences University, Mail Code: OP32, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239, USA. Tel.: +1 503 494 7231; fax: +1 503 494 9059.
    Oregon Health Sciences University, Mail Code: OP32, 3181, SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239, USA

    Portland VA, 3710 SW US Veterans Hospital Road, Mail Code: P3PADRECC, Portland, OR 97239, USA
    Search for articles by this author


      The role of vitamin D in bone health has been known for over a century. More recent research has suggested that vitamin D may play a role in the muscular, immune, endocrine, and central nervous systems. Animal research suggests that vitamin D may have some protective effects against toxic insults that are known to damage dopamine cells, the primary cells to degenerate in PD. Persons with PD tend to have lower vitamin D levels than persons of similar ages without PD. Vitamin D levels are generally associated with bone mineral density (BMD) in persons with PD, but simply giving vitamin D does not appear to improve BMD. Results of genetic studies examining polymorphism of the vitamin D receptor and PD risk, severity, or age at onset have shown variable results, with FokI CC seeming to possibly carry some increased risk of PD. Amount of sun exposure and vitamin D levels in earlier life may influence the risk of developing PD. Cross-sectional research suggests a relationship between vitamin D levels and severity of PD symptoms. A single intervention study did show some improvement in PD with vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D may have effects on PD symptoms and perhaps even on the risk of disease development or disease progression. More well designed intervention studies are needed to confirm the effect of vitamin D on PD symptoms. Human neuroprotection studies are needed, but probably not feasible until better biomarkers are established.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Maturitas
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Rajakumar K.
        Vitamin D, cod-liver oil, sunlight, and rickets: a historical perspective.
        Pediatrics. 2003; 112: e132-e135
        • Kulie T.
        • Groff A.
        • Redmer J.
        • Hounshell J.
        • Schrager S.
        Vitamin D: an evidence-based review.
        J Am Board Family Med. 2009; 22: 698-706
        • Eyles D.W.
        • Smith S.
        • Kinobe R.
        • Hewison M.
        • McGrath J.J.
        Distribution of the vitamin D receptor and 1 alpha-hydroxylase in human brain.
        J Chem Neuroanat. 2005; 29: 21-30
        • Deeb K.K.
        • Trump D.L.
        • Johnson C.S.
        Vitamin D signalling pathways in cancer: potential for anticancer therapeutics.
        Nat Rev Cancer. 2007; 7: 684-700
        • Holick M.F.
        Vitamin D deficiency.
        N Engl J Med. 2007; 357: 266-281
        • Fahn S.
        • UPDRS program members
        Unified Parkinson's disease rating scale.
        in: Fahn S. Goldstein M. Calne DB. Recent developments in Parkinson's disease. Macmillan Healthcare Information, Florham Park, NJ1987: 153-163
        • Goetz C.G.
        • Poewe W.
        • Rascol O.
        • et al.
        Movement Disorder Society Task Force report on the Hoehn and Yahr staging scale: status and recommendations.
        Mov Disord. 2004; 19: 1020-1028
        • Nissou M.F.
        • Brocard J.
        • El Atifi M.
        • et al.
        The transcriptomic response of mixed neuron-glial cell cultures to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 includes genes limiting the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.
        J Alzheimers Dis. 2013; 35: 553-564
        • Shinpo K.
        • Kikuchi S.
        • Sasaki H.
        • Moriwaka F.
        • Tashiro K.
        Effect of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) on cultured mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons to the combined toxicity caused by l-buthionine sulfoximine and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridine.
        J Neurosci Res. 2000; 62: 374-382
        • Dexter D.T.
        • Carayon A.
        • Javoy-Agid F.
        • et al.
        Alterations in the levels of iron, ferritin and other trace metals in Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases affecting the basal ganglia.
        Brain. 1991; 114: 1953-1975
        • Smith M.P.
        • Fletcher-Turner A.
        • Yurek D.M.
        • Cass W.A.
        Calcitriol protection against dopamine loss induced by intracerebroventricular administration of 6-hydroxydopamine.
        Neurochem Res. 2006; 31: 533-539
        • Wang J.Y.
        • Wu J.N.
        • Cherng T.L.
        • et al.
        Vitamin D(3) attenuates 6-hydroxydopamine-induced neurotoxicity in rats.
        Brain Res. 2001; 904: 67-75
        • Kim J.S.
        • Ryu S.Y.
        • Yun I.
        • et al.
        1α,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D(3) protects dopaminergic neurons in rodent models of Parkinson's disease through inhibition of microglial activation.
        J Clin Neurol. 2006; 2: 252-257
        • Kosakai A.
        • Ito D.
        • Nihei Y.
        • et al.
        Degeneration of mesencephalic dopaminergic neurons in klotho mouse related to vitamin D exposure.
        Brain Res. 2011; March (25): 109-117
        • Evatt M.L.
        • Delong M.R.
        • Khazai N.
        • Rosen A.
        • Triche S.
        • Tangpricha V.
        Prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in patients with Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease.
        Arch Neurol. 2008; 65: 1348-1352
        • Sato Y.
        • Honda Y.
        • Iwamoto J.
        Risedronate and ergocalciferol prevent hip fracture in elderly men with Parkinson disease.
        Neurology. 2007; 68: 911-915
        • Sato Y.
        • Honda Y.
        • Iwamoto J.
        • Kanoko T.
        • Satoh K.
        Abnormal bone and calcium metabolism in immobilized Parkinson's disease patients.
        Mov Disord. 2005; 20: 1598-1603
        • Sato Y.
        • Honda Y.
        • Kaji M.
        • et al.
        Amelioration of osteoporosis by menatetrenone in elderly female Parkinson's disease patients with vitamin D deficiency.
        Bone. 2002; 31: 114-118
        • Peterson A.L.
        • Mancini M.
        • Horak F.B.
        The relationship between balance control and vitamin D in Parkinson's disease – a pilot study.
        Mov Disord. 2013; 28: 1133-1137
        • Meamar R.
        • Maracy M.
        • Chitsaz A.
        • Ghazvini M.R.
        • Izadi M.
        • Tanhaei A.P.
        Association between serum biochemical levels, related to bone metabolism and Parkinson's disease.
        J Res Med Sci. 2013; 18: S39-S42
        • Abou-Raya S.
        • Helmii M.
        • Abou-Raya A.
        Bone and mineral metabolism in older adults with Parkinson's disease.
        Age Ageing. 2009; 38: 675-680
        • Petroni M.L.
        • Albani G.
        • Bicchiega V.
        • et al.
        Body composition in advanced-stage Parkinson's disease.
        Acta Diabetol. 2003; 40: S187-S190
        • Sato Y.
        • Kikuyama M.
        • Oizumi K.
        High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and reduced bone mass in Parkinson's disease.
        Neurology. 1997; 49: 1273-1278
        • Sato Y.
        • Kaji M.
        • Tsuru T.
        • Satoh K.
        • Kondo I.
        Vitamin K deficiency and osteopenia in vitamin D-deficient elderly women with Parkinson's disease.
        Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002; 83: 86-91
        • Sato Y.
        • Iwamoto J.
        • Honda Y.
        Vitamin D deficiency-induced vertebral fractures may cause stooped posture in Parkinson disease.
        Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2011; 90: 281-286
        • Sato Y.
        • Iwamoto J.
        • Kanoko T.
        • Satoh K.
        Alendronate and vitamin D2 for prevention of hip fracture in Parkinson's disease: a randomized controlled trial.
        Mov Disord. 2006; 21: 924-929
        • Sato Y.
        • Kaji M.
        • Tsuru T.
        • Oizumi K.
        Risk factors for hip fracture among elderly patients with Parkinson's disease.
        J Neurol Sci. 2001; 182: 89-93
        • Sato Y.
        • Iwamoto J.
        • Honda Y.
        Amelioration of osteoporosis and hypovitaminosis D by sunlight exposure in Parkinson's disease.
        Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2011; 17: 22-26
        • van den Bos F.
        • Speelman A.D.
        • van Nimwegen M.
        • et al.
        Bone mineral density and vitamin D status in Parkinson's disease patients.
        J Neurol. 2013; 260: 754-760
        • van den Bos F.
        • Speelman A.D.
        • Samson M.
        • Munneke M.
        • Bloem B.R.
        • Verhaar H.J.
        Parkinson's disease and osteoporosis.
        Age Ageing. 2013; 42: 156-162
        • Lorefalt B.
        • Toss G.
        • Granerus A.K.
        Bone mass in elderly patients with Parkinson's disease.
        Acta Neurol Scand. 2007; 116: 248-254
        • Sato Y.
        • Manabe S.
        • Kuno H.
        • Oizumi K.
        Amelioration of osteopenia and hypovitaminosis D by 1 alpha-hydroxyvitamin D3 in elderly patients with Parkinson's disease.
        J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1999; 66: 64-68
        • Kostner K.
        • Denzer N.
        • Muller C.S.
        • Klein R.
        • Tilgen W.
        • Reichrath J.
        The relevance of vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene polymorphisms for cancer: a review of the literature.
        Anticancer Res. 2009; 29: 3511-3536
        • Burne T.H.
        • McGrath J.J.
        • Eyles D.W.
        • Mackay-Sim A.
        Behavioural characterization of vitamin D receptor knockout mice.
        Behav Brain Res. 2005; 157: 299-308
        • Butler M.W.
        • Burt A.
        • Edwards T.L.
        • et al.
        Vitamin D receptor gene as a candidate gene for Parkinson disease.
        Ann Hum Genet. 2011; 75: 201-210
        • Lv Z.
        • Tang B.
        • Sun Q.
        • Yan X.
        • Guo J.
        Association study between vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms and patients with Parkinson disease in Chinese Han population.
        Int J Neurosci. 2013; 123: 60-64
        • Lin C.H.
        • Chen K.H.
        • Chen M.L.
        • Lin H.I.
        • Wu R.M.
        Vitamin D receptor genetic variants and Parkinson's disease in a Taiwanese population.
        Neurobiol Aging. 2014; 35: 1212.e11-1212.e13
        • Han X.
        • Xue L.
        • Li Y.
        • Chen B.
        • Xie A.
        • Vitamin
        D receptor gene polymorphism and its association with Parkinson's disease in Chinese Han population.
        Neurosci Lett. 2012; 525: 29-33
        • Torok R.
        • Torok N.
        • Szalardy L.
        • et al.
        Association of vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms and Parkinson's disease in Hungarians.
        Neurosci Lett. 2013; 551: 70-74
        • Kim J.S.
        • Kim Y.I.
        • Song C.
        • et al.
        Association of vitamin D receptor gene polymorphism and Parkinson's disease in Koreans.
        J Korean Med Sci. 2005; 20: 495-498
        • Suzuki M.
        • Yoshioka M.
        • Hashimoto M.
        • et al.
        25-hydroxyvitamin D, vitamin D receptor gene polymorphisms, and severity of Parkinson's disease.
        Mov Disord. 2012; 27: 264-271
        • Petersen M.S.
        • Bech S.
        • Christiansen D.H.
        • Schmedes A.V.
        • Halling J.
        The role of vitamin D levels and vitamin D receptor polymorphism on Parkinson's disease in the Faroe Islands.
        Neurosci Lett. 2014; 561: 74-79
        • Scherzer C.R.
        • Eklund A.C.
        • Morse L.J.
        • et al.
        Molecular markers of early Parkinson's disease based on gene expression in blood.
        Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007; 104: 955-960
        • Zhang J.
        • Sokal I.
        • Peskind E.R.
        • et al.
        CSF multianalyte profile distinguishes Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases.
        Am J Clin Pathol. 2008; 129: 526-529
        • Abdi F.
        • Quinn J.F.
        • Jankovic J.
        • et al.
        Detection of biomarkers with a multiplex quantitative proteomic platform in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with neurodegenerative disorders.
        J Alzheimer's Dis. 2006; 9: 293-348
        • Chen H.
        • O’Reilly E.
        • McCullough M.L.
        • et al.
        Consumption of dairy products and risk of Parkinson's disease.
        Am J Epidemiol. 2007; 165: 998-1006
        • Chen H.
        • Zhang S.M.
        • Hernan M.A.
        • Willett W.C.
        • Ascherio A.
        Diet and Parkinson's disease: a potential role of dairy products in men.
        Ann Neurol. 2002; 52: 793-801
        • Park M.
        • Ross G.W.
        • Petrovitch H.
        • et al.
        Consumption of milk and calcium in midlife and the future risk of Parkinson disease.
        Neurology. 2005; 64: 1047-1051
        • Anderson C.
        • Checkoway H.
        • Franklin G.M.
        • Beresford S.
        • Smith-Weller T.
        • Swanson P.D.
        Dietary factors in Parkinson's disease: the role of food groups and specific foods.
        Mov Disord. 1999; 14: 21-27
        • Miyake Y.
        • Tanaka K.
        • Fukushima W.
        • et al.
        Lack of association of dairy food, calcium, and vitamin D intake with the risk of Parkinson's disease: a case–control study in Japan.
        Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2011; 17: 112-116
        • Kurtzke J.F.
        • Goldberg I.D.
        Parkinsonism death rates by race, sex, and geography.
        Neurology. 1988; 38: 1558-1561
        • Lux W.E.
        • Kurtzke J.F.
        Is Parkinson's disease acquired? Evidence from a geographic comparison with multiple sclerosis.
        Neurology. 1987; 37: 467-471
        • Betemps E.J.
        • Buncher C.R.
        Birthplace as a risk factor in motor neurone disease and Parkinson's disease.
        Int J Epidemiol. 1993; 22: 898-904
        • Lanska D.J.
        The geographic distribution of Parkinson's disease mortality in the United States.
        J Neurol Sci. 1997; 150: 63-70
        • Kenborg L.
        • Lassen C.F.
        • Ritz B.
        • et al.
        Outdoor work and risk for Parkinson's disease: a population-based case–control study.
        Occup Environ Med. 2011; 68: 273-278
        • Kwon E.
        • Gallagher L.G.
        • Searles Nielsen S.
        Parkinson's disease and history of outdoor occupation.
        Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2013; 19: 1164-1166
        • Knekt P.
        • Kilkkinen A.
        • Rissanen H.
        • Marniemi J.
        • Saaksjarvi K.
        • Heliovaara M.
        Serum vitamin D and the risk of Parkinson disease.
        Arch Neurol. 2010; 67: 808-811
        • Peterson A.L.
        • Murchison C.
        • Zabetian C.
        • et al.
        Memory, mood, and vitamin D in persons with Parkinson's disease.
        J Parkinsons Dis. 2013; 3: 547-555
        • Evatt M.L.
        • DeLong M.R.
        • Kumari M.
        • et al.
        High prevalence of hypovitaminosis D status in patients with early Parkinson disease.
        Arch Neurol. 2011; 68: 314-319
        • Ding H.
        • Dhima K.
        • Lockhart K.C.
        • et al.
        Unrecognized vitamin D3 deficiency is common in Parkinson disease: Harvard Biomarker Study.
        Neurology. 2013; 81: 1531-1537
        • Derex L.
        Reversible parkinsonism, hypophosphoremia, and hypocalcemia under vitamin D therapy.
        Mov Disord. 1997; 12: 612-613
        • Moghaddasi M.
        • Mamarabadi M.
        • Aghaii M.
        Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentration in Iranian patients with Parkinson's disease.
        Iran J Neurol. 2013; 12: 56-59
        • Suzuki M.
        • Yoshioka M.
        • Hashimoto M.
        • et al.
        Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in Parkinson disease.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2013; 97: 1004-1013

      Linked Article

      • Response to the retraction of papers by Yoshihiro Sato - a review of vitamin D and Parkinson's disease
        MaturitasVol. 148
        • Preview
          In light of the recent retraction of Yoshihiro Sato's publications due to findings of fraudulent data, I and the editors of Maturitas felt it appropriate to reassess the review I authored (then under the name Peterson) published in 2014 entitled ‘A review of vitamin D and Parkinson's disease’, in which Sato's publications played a prominent role. [1] Not all Sato's papers have been retracted at this time, but we feel it necessary to point out which assessments of the evidence contained in the review may have been affected had the publications from Sato not been included.
        • Full-Text
        • PDF