Prevalence of dietary supplement use of individuals with Parkinson’s disease

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an incurable, progressive neurological disease that appears with motor and non-motor symptoms such as tremors, muscle rigidity, impaired gait, mood disorders, constipation, and sleep disorders.1,2 Although its etiology is unknown, oxidative stress is believed to be involved in the development and progression of PD. This has prompted interest in dietary supplements with antioxidant functions as a potential strategy to mitigate these processes.2 However, individuals with PD may self-medicate with dietary supplements that are poorly regulated.3,4,7 The primary aims of this study were to explore the prevalence of dietary supplement use among individuals with PD and to identify the most common supplements being taken. This cross-sectional study utilized a questionnaire that was administered through Qualtrics to those with PD via support group websites. Dietary supplement users were also asked if they spoke with a healthcare professional about their supplement use. In addition to descriptive statistics, Mann-Whitney U, Fischer’s Exact, and chi-square tests were used to determine differences in demographic characteristics between supplement users and non-users. Spearman’s correlations were used to identify possible associations between demographic variables and dietary supplement use. The percentage of respondents who reported using at least one dietary supplement in the past thirty days was 83.4% (171/205). The most commonly used dietary supplements were vitamin D, multivitamins, vitamin B12, fish oil, melatonin, CoQ10, and calcium. However, 94 different supplements were identified. More than one in four respondents reported that they had not discussed their supplementation with a physician or other healthcare professional. These results demonstrate a high prevalence of dietary supplement use among individuals with PD as well as a wide variety of supplements being taken. This study’s findings also indicate the need for better dialogue between patients and healthcare providers regarding the use of dietary supplements.

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