New Hope for Parkinson’s Patients: Vitamin K2

Parkinson's diseaseThe breakthrough by Dr.Patrik Vestereken, Neuroscientist brings a new ray of hope for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He was successful in undoing the effect of one of the genetic defect that leads to Parkinsonism using Vitamin K2.

Dr .Patrik Vetereken says: “It appears from our research that administering vitamin K2 could possibly help patients with Parkinson’s. However, more work needs to be done to understand this better”. Dr.Patrik is associated with VIB and KU Leuven and worked on the research with the colleagues from Northern Illinois University (US) which was published online in a science journal.

To put in plain words about what happens in Parkinson’s patients, he compares cells to small factories and mitochondria to be the power plant of the cells, which supply energy for their functions. The energy is generated by transferring of electrons. In Parkinson patients, the transportation of electron and mitochondrial activity is disrupted resulting in insufficient production of energy for the cell. This leads to the death of cells in certain parts of brain disrupting communication between neurons. The consequences are the typical symptoms’ of Parkinson’s: Muscle stiffness, tremors and lack of movement (akinesia).

Although the exact root of Parkinson’s diseases is unknown, scientists are successful in unfolding several genetic defects (mutations) found in Parkinson’s patients, including PINK1 and Parkin mutations, both of which lead to reduced mitochondrial activity. By studying these mutations, scientists hope to untangle the mechanisms underlying the disease process.

Dr.Patrik and his team used fruit flies (Drosophila), the most commonly used insect for their short life spans and breeding cycles for the research. They used fruit flies with genetic defect in PINK1 or Parkin that is similar to the one associated with Parkinson’s. They found that the flies with PINK1 or Parkin mutation lost their ability to fly.

Detailed examination revealed defective mitochondria in theses flies similar to those seen in Parkinson’s patients because of which they generated less intracellular energy, and could not fly. When Vitamin K2 was given to the flies, the energy production of the mitochondria was restored and the insects’ ability to fly improved. The researchers determined that the Vitamin K2 improved electron transport in the mitochondria which in turn lead to improvement in the energy production.

Researchers concluded that Vitamin K2 plays a role in the energy production of defective mitochondria and that Vitamin K2 potentially offers hope for a new treatment for Parkinson’s.