One study suggests that high levels of dietary iron and manganese may raise the risk of Parkinson's disease. Interviews were conducted on 250 newly diagnosed patients and 388 healthy controls, all with an average age of 70 years. Those consuming the most iron, from diets and supplements, had 1.7 times the risk of those taking in the lowest amount of iron; this difference was statistically significant. No relationship was found with intakes of zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium, or manganese. However, when both high iron and manganese intakes were reported, the risk of Parkinson's increased to 1.9 compared with low intake for both minerals.

Lycopene, a phytochemical and potent antioxidant found in tomatoes and other red fruits, increased the risk of Parkinson's by 1.6, almost identical to that from iron, but this was not mentioned in any of the media reports or in the press release about the research. This type of study does not prove a cause and effect relationship but only suggests additional research is needed.

Neurology, June 10, 2003;60:1761-1766 Parkinson''s disease risks associated with dietary iron, manganese, and other nutrient intakes K.M. Powers, BS, T. Smith-Weller, RN, MN, G.M. Franklin, MD, MPH, W.T. Longstreth, Jr., MD, MPH, P.D. Swanson, MD, PhD and H. Checkoway, PhD From the Departments of Environmental Health (Drs. Franklin and Checkoway and K.M. Powers and T. Smith-Weller), Neurology (Drs. Franklin, Longstreth, and Swanson), and Epidemiology (Drs. Longstreth and Checkoway), University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.

Checked 8/9/06

Get our newsletter