Drinking Beer Slows Down Alzheimer's And Parkinson's Disease
A visitor reaches for of the one of the first mugs Reuters/Stringer

A high level of uric acid may signify a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease in men. According to a study published online in the journal Neurology on Jan. 13, the results suggest that urate may help protect against the slow progression of the disease in its very early stages before symptoms are observed.

Urate is formed when purines are broken down in the body. Foods, such as pork, beer, spinach and beans are some of the sources of purines, some of which are the building blocks of DNA. Urate is an antioxidant that forms 60 percent of the free radicals found in the blood, however, experts have now understood that it may play a protective role with brain cells.

Study author Xiang Gao, from the Pennsylvania State University in University Park and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, remarked that the results are groundbreaking. The research team conducted blood tests to compare the urate levels of 388 participants with Parkinson’s with 1,267 people who do not have the disease.

The researchers observed that the men with the lowest levels of urate had less than 4.9 milligrammes of urate per decilitre (mg/dl). The highest level recorded was 6.3 to 9.0 mg/dL. Apparently, the normal range for uric acid is 3.5-7.2 mg/dl.

The ones with the highest were almost 40 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s. The participants’ lifestyle practices such as age, caffeine intake and smoking have also been taken into account. The researchers note that uric acid level was not associated with the development of Parkinson’s in women.

"These results suggest that urate could protect against Parkinson's or slow the progression of the disease in its very early stages before symptoms are seen,” Gao concluded. “The findings support more research on whether raising the level of urate in people with early Parkinson's may slow the disease down."

However, the researchers say that this study does not confirm that high urate levels actually protect against Parkinson’s. This study only shows the association.

Nevertheless, this may suggest that manipulating urate levels may be employed in future therapies. Still, more research is needed to further understand the impact of sex differences in the relationship between urate and Parkinson’s.