Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vitamin treatment may help parkinson's patients

Parkinson's disease is renowned for its patients with tremors and difficulty with movement and coordination. It is hard to treat, and a cure has so far remained elusive. Currently, scientists are trying to treat the disease by using brain stimulation or stem cells, but a recent study has revealed that vitamins may also be beneficial. It appears that vitamin K2 can improve the condition of patients suffering from parkinson's.

Scientists did not actually use human patients for their experiments, but instead used fruit flies as a model. While these animals are rather different from us and do not even possess a brain, they can still be used as a model for parkinson's, as they can be fitted with the same genetic modifications that we find in parkinson's patients. Scientists looked at two mutations in genes called PINK1 and Parkin, that have been described in human patients, but can also be present in fruit flies. In humans, mutations cause parkinson's symptoms to present themselves, but fruit flies instead lose the ability to fly with these mutations.

The aforementioned mutations cause defects in specific parts of cells called mitochondria. These little factories are important for our metabolism, because they produce the required energy for a cell, and it is therefore necessary that they function correctly. In parkinson's disease, brain cells in specific areas die due to dysfunctional mitochondria. In fruit flies, mitochondria also stop working when the two genetic mutations present themselves, showing that, biologically speaking, the mutational effects appear to be the same.
Two mitochondria inside a cell.
Vitamin K2
Scientists provided the flies with vitamin K2, and found that it restored the ability of the mitochondria to produce energy, and also restored the ability to fly. It is therefore reasonable to assume that administering vitamin K2 to parkinson's patients will help them cope with their disease, even though that remains to be proven. Clinical trials are necessary to see if the same relationship between vitamin K2 and functional mitochondria is present in humans.
Structure of vitamin K2.
Vitamin K2 was already known as an agent that affects metabolism, but it is also needed for blood coagulation. Curiously, vitamin K2 was already proven to be beneficial for parkinson's patients, amongst other diseases, because it prevents bone loss. Now it seems that it may also help preventing brain cells to die. Naturally, we need clinical data to confirm this hypothesis, but the treatment looks promising. It is unknown when the first clinical trials are supposed to start.

1 comment:

  1. Vitamin K2 is beneficial for parkinson's patients, because it prevents bone loss and also help preventing brain cells to die. I can suggest you an effective medicine for parkinson's disease i.e. Zandopa Special bundle. It is very helpful for parkinson's disease.