(HealthDay News) – Total flavonoid intake is significantly associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in men, particularly the intake of anthocyanins and berries, according to a study published online April 4 in Neurology.

To investigate the impact of flavinoid intake on PD risk, Xiang Gao, MD, PhD, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined data from 49,281 men in the Health Professional Follow-up Study and 80,336 women from the Nurses’ Health Study. Intake of flavonoid-rich foods (tea, berry fruits, apples, red wine, and orange/orange juice) was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire.

During 20–22 years of follow-up, the researchers found that 805 participants (438 men and 367 women) developed PD. After adjustment for multiple confounding variables, men in the highest quintile of total flavonoids had a 40% reduced risk of PD compared with those in the lowest quintile (HR, 0.6; Ptrend=0.001). There was no significant association seen for women (Ptrend=0.62) or in pooled analyses (Ptrend=0.23). In the pooled subclass analyses, anthocyanin and berry intake correlated significantly with a reduced risk of PD (HR comparing two extreme intake quintiles, 0.76 for anthocyanins and 0.77 for berries).

“Our findings suggest that intake of some flavonoids may reduce PD risk, particularly in men, but a protective effect of other constituents of plant foods cannot be excluded,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry and Unilever.

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