High intake of dietary flavonoids cuts risk of Parkinson disease

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By David Liu, PHD

Friday Nov 2, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Eating foods with high flavonoids may help prevent Parkinson disease, according to a new study recently published in the journal Neurology.

Xiang Gao, MD, PhD at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA conducted the study and found men and women in the highest quintile of total dietary flavonoids were 40 percent less likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson disease, compared with those in the lowest quintile.
Involved in the study were 49,281 men in the Health Professional Follow-up Study and 80,336 women in the Nurses' Health Study.  Subjects were surveyed with a validated food frequency questionnaire for their dietary intakes of flavonoids.  During a follow-up of 20 to 22 years, 438 men and 67 women were diagnosed with Parkinson disease.

After adjustment for multiple confounders, men in the highest quintile of total dietary flavonoids were found at 40 percent reduced risk of Parkinson disease, compared with men who had the lowest intakes.

However, no significant association was found between dietary intake of flavonoids and risk of Parkinson disease in women.

Further analyses revealed that the highest intakes of anthocyanins and berries were associated with 24 percent and 23 percent reduced risk of Parkinson disease respectively.

Flavonoids considered in the study were flavanones, anthocyanins, flavan-3-ols, flavonols, flavones, and polymers and flavonoids rick foods include tea, berry fruits, apples, red wine, and orange/orange juice.  Flavonoids can also be obtained by taking supplements.

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