Background: Unsaturated fatty acids are important constituents of neuronal cell membranes and have neuroprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Objective: To determine if a high intake of unsaturated fatty acids might be associated with a lower risk of Parkinson disease (PD).

Methods: In the Rotterdam Study, a prospective population-based cohort study of people ages 55, the association between intake of unsaturated fatty acids and the risk of incident PD was evaluated among 5,289 subjects who were free of dementia and parkinsonism and underwent complete dietary assessment at baseline.
PD was assessed through repeated in-person examination, and the cohort was continuously monitored by computer linkage to medical records. The data were analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regression models.

Results: After a mean follow-up of 6.0 years, 51 participants with incident PD were identified.
Intakes of total fat, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) were significantly associated with a lower risk of PD, with an adjusted hazard ratio per SD increase of energy-adjusted intake of 0.69 (95% CI 0.52 to 0.91) for total fat, of 0.68 (95% CI 0.50 to 0.94) for MUFAs, and 0.66 (95% CI 0.46 to 0.96) for PUFAs.
No associations were found for dietary saturated fat, cholesterol, or trans-fat.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that high intake of unsaturated fatty acids might protect against Parkinson disease.