Intake of minerals and Parkinson’s disease.





Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Iron Manganese
Professional Data: Iron Manganese


Parkinson's disease is a serious brain condition that results from nerve damage in certain regions of the brain that regulate the body's voluntary muscles. Also referred to as "PD," Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder that causes muscle rigidity, shaking, and slow difficult walking. PD usually strikes in mid to late adult life, although 30 percent of people with the disease experience symptoms before age 50.1 Another 40 percent develop the disease between ages 50 and 60. PD is a slowly progressive and incurable disease.

The first sign of PD is often a slight tremor in one hand. This tremor is most visible when the individual with PD is standing or sitting still. The shaking is generally not noticeable when the hands are moving or doing something. However, tremor is absent in a small percentage of people with PD. Other classic symptoms include slow movements, "shuffling" while walking, muscle stiffness, stooped posture, and a blank facial expression. Before these symptoms begin, a person with oncoming PD may experience vague, aching pain in the limbs, neck, or back and decreased spinal flexibility. Although much is known about the brain degeneration that occurs in Parkinson's disease, why this happens remains a mystery.

Some theories on the occurrence of PD involve oxidative stress. A recent study examined dietary intake of minerals, vitamins and fats and the risk of PD. This population-based study recruited 250 newly diagnosed cases of Parkinson’s and a control group of 388 healthy individuals. Nutrient intake was measured through interviews with all participants. The results showed that those with the highest levels of iron had an increased risk of PD when compare to those with low levels. Although no links were seen with vitamins or fats, researchers also observed that those with high levels of both iron and manganese had a nearly doubled risk of PD. The authors concluded that, “A high intake of iron, especially in combination with high manganese intake, may be related to risk for PD.”2


1. Scott B, et al. Gender differences in Parkinson's disease symptom profile. Acta Neurol Scand. Jul2000;102(1):37-43.
2. Powers KM. Parkinson’s disease risks associated with dietary iron, manganese, and other nutrient intakes. Neurology. Jun 2003;60;1761-6.