Consuming peppers and other plant sources of dietary nicotine could help to protect against the onset of Parkinson's disease later in life, according to a new study.
Researchers based at the University of Washington in Seattle have conducted a study which indicates that a pepper called Solanaceae may offer a protective effect against the neurodegenerative condition Parkinson’s disease. Solanaceae are a flowering plant family some species of which produce foods that are edible sources of nicotine.
According to the Times of India, a variety of different plants were examined. From this, peppers were shown to offer the most pronounced benefits in terms of reducing the risk of Parkinson's. Peppers are in the same botanical family as tobacco. Other foods such as tomatoes were also shown to offer advantages.
This is the first study to investigate the link between dietary nicotine and the likelihood of being affected by this condition. The initial symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include hand tremors, limb rigidity, and problems walking. As the disease progresses, cognitive problems may develop and advance into dementia.
The evidence was collated from a review of the diets and medical assessments of 490 Parkinson’s patients, collated between 1992-2008. The findings suggest that decreased risk of the disease grew stronger with increasing pepper consumption.
Dr Susan Searles Nielsen of the University of Washington in Seattle is quoted as saying: "Similar to the many studies that indicate tobacco use might reduce risk of Parkinson's, our findings also suggest a protective effect from nicotine - or perhaps a similar but less toxic chemical - in peppers and tobacco."
The findings have been published in the Annals of Neurology in a paper titled “Nicotine from edible Solanaceae and risk of Parkinson disease.”