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Could folic acid help to treat Parkinson’s?

Research recently carried out in Leicester indicates that folic acid could be beneficial in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The research has received coverage on ITV and has also been published in the journal Nature.

Fruit fly study

The team of researchers used fruit flies as part of the study but only flies with a genetic mutation that is linked to a rare and inherited form of the disease were used. The mutation led to problems with the fly’s mitochondria, which powers nerve cells; this in turn killed off all dopamine-producing nerve cells and made the flies inactive and slow. By feeding these flies folic acid, their mitochondrial functions improved and nerve cell death was prevented, restoring their mobility.

Further research

The average adult needs around 0.2mg folic acid a day and most people get this amount through diet, it’s found in foods such as liver and brussel sprouts. The Research Communications Officer for Parkinson’s UK, Beckie Port, commented: “This research suggests that folic acid may be able to protect the nerve cells lost in Parkinson’s. The research team has already exploring the effects of folic acid in human cells. A lot more research is needed to find out if taking folic acid has any benefits for people living with the condition.”