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Flavonoids may reduce Parkinson's disease mortality risk

02/17/2022

People with Parkinson's disease who eat more flavonoids—compounds found in richly colored foods like berries, cocoa and red wine—may have a lower mortality risk than those who don't, according to a new study.

flavonoids and parkinson
For this study, the researchers analyzed data on 599 women and 652 men who had recently been diagnosed with PD. Participants were asked how often they ate certain flavonoid-rich foods, such as tea, apples, berries, oranges and orange juice, and red wine. Flavonoid intake was then calculated by multiplying the flavonoid content of those foods by how frequently they were consumed.

After controlling for factors like age and several dietary factors like total calories consumed and overall diet quality, the researchers found that the participants in the group of the highest 25 percent of flavonoid consumers had a 70 percent greater chance of survival than the lowest group.

The researchers also analyzed the effects of individual flavonoids. They found that those in the top 25 percent consumers of anthocyanins—found in red wine and berries—had a 66 percent greater survival rate compared to those in the lowest 25 percent. Additionally, the top 25 percent consumers of flavan-3-ols—found in apples, tea and wine—had a 69 percent greater survival rate compared to the lowest 25 percent.

"Flavonoids are antioxidants, so it's possible they could be lowering chronic neuroinflammation levels," Zhang said. "It's also possible they may interact with enzyme activities and slow neuron loss and could protect against cognitive decline and depression, which are both associated with higher mortality risk."

The researchers said future studies could help find the exact mechanisms behind flavonoid consumption and mortality risk in people with PD.

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