A new study from the University of Washington revealed that some foods containing small amount of nicotine may be effective against Parkinson's disease.

In a new study, researchers found that Solanaceae, a family of flowering plants, which includes some species that produce edible nicotine, play a vital role in preventing Parkinson's disease. Previous studies have linked nicotine intake as a protective measure for Parkinson's, while this new study sheds more light on foods containing small quantity of nicotine such as peppers and tomatoes, to be effective against the disease.

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system where the dopamine producing cells are deceased. The common symptoms of the disease are tremors at rest, stiffness, slow movement of hands and arms and loss of balance. Currently, there is no scientific evidence for death of dopamine producing cells and has no cure. But, physical therapies and medications are used to fight the symptoms of the disease.

In this study, Dr. Susan Searles Nielsen and colleagues from the University of Washington in Seattle examined 490 patients diagnosed with Parkinson's and 644 participants without any neurological conditions who acted as a control group. Researchers noted their regular diet and tobacco use.

During the study, researchers found that the consumption of edible Solanaceae decreased the risk of Parkinson's. They found pepper to have the strongest influence than other nicotine containing foods.

Researchers found a limitation to the effectiveness of these nicotine foods was mainly in men and women with history of minimum or no use of tobacco. Other vegetables did not show any effect in the prevention of Parkinson's.

"Our study is the first to investigate dietary nicotine and risk of developing Parkinson's disease," Dr. Searles Nielsen said. "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."

Currently, more than a million American's have Parkinson's with an addition of 60,000 each year. Overall, up to ten million people suffer from the disease across the world, according to Parkinson's Disease Foundation. Authors of this study insist on further research to confirm the findings, which can help millions of people and find effective treatments to prevent Parkinson's disease.

The study was published in the Annals of Neurology, a journal of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society.