Research Highlights: Vitamin B12 May Alleviate Parkinson’s Disease

Verywell / Katie Kerpel

Vitamin B12 May Alleviate Parkinson’s Disease

  • Cobalamin, also known as Vitamin B12, is a water-soluble vitamin associated with metabolism.[2]
  • Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the normal functioning of the nervous system.[2]
  • Myelin works as an insulator of nerve cell axon to increase the rate of electrical impulses.[3]
  • Severe vitamin B12 deficiencies have been associated to damage of learning and memory ability, cognitive decline, and neurological diseases.
  • Alpha-synuclein is a protein with unknown function usually found in neural tissue making up as much as 1% of all proteins in the cytosol of brain cells.[4]
  • Alpha-synuclein is predominantly expressed in the neocortex, hippocampus, substantia nigra, thalamus, and cerebellum.[5]
  • Defective and clustering of alpha-synuclein into insoluble fibrils is linked with the beginning and progression of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological movement disorder which affects tens of millions of elderly patients around the world.
  • One topic of intense research is the development of new inhibitory drugs that can obstruct the clustering of alpha-synuclein.
  • Researchers analyzed the inhibitory capability of vitamin B12 against the development of fibrils and cytotoxicity of alpha-synuclein.
  • Results suggest that vitamin B12 could inhibit alpha-synuclein fibril development in a dose-dependent manner.
  • Data suggest that vitamin B12 delays the conversion of alpha-synuclein into β-sheet rich structures.
  • As a result, vitamin B12 significantly reduced the cytotoxicity of alpha-synuclein clusters.
  • Additionally, vitamin B12 was found to disassemble preexisting mature alpha-synuclein fibrils and reduce the subsequent cytotoxicity.
  • The study provides a comprehensive understanding of the inhibitory capability of vitamin B12 on alpha-synuclein fibril development and identify an important nutrient source that possesses significant potential to be developed as a new functional food ingredient to help relieve Parkinson’s disease.


Jia, L., , Wang, Y., , Wei, W., , Zhao, W., , Lu, F., , & Liu, F., (2019). Vitamin B12 inhibits α-synuclein fibrillogenesis and protects against amyloid-induced cytotoxicity. Food & function10(5), 2861–2870.


[3] Bean, Bruce P. (June 2007). “The action potential in mammalian central neurons”. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 8 (6): 451–465. doi:10.1038/nrn2148. ISSN 1471-0048. PMID 17514198. S2CID 205503852

[4] Iwai A, Masliah E, Yoshimoto M, Ge N, Flanagan L, de Silva HA, et al. (February 1995). “The precursor protein of non-A beta component of Alzheimer’s disease amyloid is a presynaptic protein of the central nervous system”. Neuron. 14 (2): 467–75. doi:10.1016/0896-6273(95)90302-X. PMID 7857654. S2CID 17941420