Vitamins, food supplements and special diets

Eating a well-balanced diet will give you a good amount of vitamins and minerals, and can help to ease certain symptoms of Parkinson's. Here, we also provide information on special diets for Parkinson's, and managing low blood pressure through your diet.

Eating a well-balanced diet will give you a good amount of vitamins and minerals.

For many vitamin and mineral supplements, there’s no clear scientific evidence they have any health benefits (although there is evidence for the benefits of vitamin D - see below).

So, if you feel you need more of a particular vitamin or mineral, it's better to try to eat more of the foods containing it, rather than buy expensive supplements.

You also need to be aware that some vitamins, when taken in large doses, can have side effects.

Some supplements, such as vitamin B6 and iron, may also affect the absorption of your Parkinson's medication.

Before purchasing any 'over the counter' mineral and vitamin supplements from chemists or health food shops, consult your GP, specialist, Parkinson's nurse or registered dietitian for advice.

Calcium and vitamin D

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, causing them to become weak and fragile and more likely to break. It is often diagnosed in people with Parkinson's.

It's believed that increased severity of Parkinson's symptoms is linked to reduced bone density.

Some experts suggest that people with Parkinson's should be taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement daily, especially those who are bed-bound, house-bound or immobile.

This is because most of our vitamin D comes from exposing our skin to the sun.

Your levels of calcium and vitamin D should be assessed in the early stages of your condition to prevent or lower the risk of poor bone health.

Speak to your health professional if you think you may need to take calcium or vitamin D.


Antioxidants are chemicals produced by your body or taken from your diet that work to stop the damaging effects of free radicals.

Free radicals are damaging molecules that can be produced by normal chemical reactions in your body or absorbed from outside sources (such as cigarette smoke, pollution or spending too long in the sun).

Free radicals only last in your body for a very short time, but can damage cells during that time. Antioxidants keep cell damage under control, trapping and neutralising free radicals.

Currently, there is no evidence that antioxidants will slow the progression of Parkinson’s or improve symptoms.

Your antioxidant needs will be met as long as you're eating a well-balanced diet that includes lots of different fruits and vegetables.

Taking excessive amounts of antioxidant supplements can have a negative effect on your health and wellbeing.

You should speak to your GP, specialist, Parkinson's nurse or dietitian before taking any supplement.

Co-enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10 is naturally present in very small amounts in a wide range of foods, such as offal, beef, soya oil or oily fish, and has strong antioxidant properties.

There's currently no evidence to recommend co-enzyme Q10 as a treatment for Parkinson's.

If you wish to take additional co-enzyme Q10, talk to your healthcare professional first.

There are many websites and other sources that give dietary advice or make claims about diets that are suitable for people with health conditions.

We do not recommend that you follow this advice without reliable medical evidence that it works.

If you want to know whether a health information website is reliable, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Who has produced the content? Is it owned or sponsored by a reputable organisation? (Most sites will have an 'About us' or 'About this site' section where you can get more information about the site and who has set it up).
  • Are contact details available for the website owners? (Be wary if there is no way of contacting them).
  • Is the health information consistent with other materials you have read?
  • Does the website give information about both the benefits and risks of potential treatments?
  • Is the information recent?
  • Are they asking for money to access diet plans or to take part in research? (Be wary of any websites asking for money. Remember that you should never be asked to pay to take part in research).

It's important for anyone who is considering trying any special diet to discuss this first with a health professional.


Some diets include periods of fasting, and there are also religious reasons for fasting, such as during Ramadan for Muslims.

Speak to your GP, specialist or Parkinson's nurse before you consider fasting. It may have an impact on your symptoms or increase the risk of experiencing side effects from your medication.

You can read more about Ramadan, fasting and Parkinson's here.

People with Parkinson's can experience low blood pressure, particularly postural hypotension.

Postural hypotension (also known as orthostatic hypotension) is a large drop in blood pressure when standing or changing position.

This can be a symptom of Parkinson's or may be caused by the drugs used to treat Parkinson's, such as levodopa.

Common symptoms of low blood pressure include:

  • feeling dizzy or light-headed (especially when you stand up after sitting or lying down)
  • blurred vision
  • feeling weak
  • feeling muddled or confused.

These symptoms are most likely to happen when there's an increased demand for blood, such as:

  • after meals as the stomach and intestines need more blood, which lowers blood pressure in other parts of the body
  • when you're dehydrated. A lack of fluids and salt in your body makes it harder for your autonomic nervous system to regulate your blood pressure. Drinking alcohol can cause dehydration and that can disturb the control of blood pressure, so try to drink water between alcoholic drinks
  • if you're constipated (a common problem for people with Parkinson's), sometimes the effort of straining may cause you to feel faint.

If you have low blood pressure, your symptoms may be managed by:

  • avoiding large meals
  • reducing your carbohydrate intake, especially sugary foods
  • increasing the amount of salt in your diet
  • increasing your fluid intake, particularly caffeinated drinks. You may also find it helpful to have a glass of water before getting up (for example, out of bed)
  • decreasing how much alcohol you drink.

For more advice on how to manage these symptoms speak to your GP, specialist, Parkinson's nurse or dietitian.

Download PDF or order a printed copy

Diet and Parkinson's (PDF, 5.1MB)

We know lots of people would rather have something in their hands to read rather than look at a screen, so you can order printed copies of our information by post, phone or email.

Bone health and Parkinson's

People with Parkinson’s have a higher risk of fracturing a bone than the general population, so it’s especially important to look after your bone health. We learn more with Dr Donald Grosset, our Clinical Director. 

Last updated

Next update due 2026 

If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected]