New Study Finds Link Between Gut Bacteria and Parkinson’s

Volume 14    |   Issue 15

Conditions like constipation and inflammation in the digestive system are certainly unpleasant. But many people tend to ignore them, assuming they're simply related to various diet choices or are an inevitable side effect of aging. Here's why you don't want to do that.

As more and more research reveals the importance of the microbiome and gut bacteria to our health, we're finding links between disruption in the gut microbiome and a number of diseases. And according to research published in the journal Movement Disorders, one of those diseases is Parkinson's.

Researchers from the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham investigated the gut microbiomes of 197 Parkinson's patients and 130 control participants. They found a number of differences between the two groups. Interestingly, they also found variations based on the drugs patients were taking to treat Parkinson's. And they found variations depending on what region of the country they were from (the study drew participants from Seattle, New York, and Atlanta). But overall the Parkinson's patients seemed to have fewer healthy bacteria than the control participants.

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The researchers note that this is still a chicken-and-the-egg situation. They don't yet know if having an unbalanced gut microbiome makes you susceptible to Parkinson's or if having Parkinson's can unbalance your gut. However, they did point out that one service our friendly gut bacteria do for us is to help us flush out xenobiotics, or chemicals, including those from pollutants in our environments. And previous studies have linked exposure to such pollutants to Parkinson's.

The researchers are hopeful that this line of study could help them develop new therapies to regulate imbalances in the gut and, in turn, slow or stop the progression of neurological diseases before they have significant effects. Until they do so, it's worth taking what steps you can to keep your gut bacteria happy and healthy. This includes eating plenty of fiber-rich foods (bacteria love to snack on fiber) and taking a good probiotic, such as Advanced Probiotic Formula, to make sure the good guys outnumber the bad guys.

If you do suffer from constipation, following these steps, along with taking Advanced Constipation Relief, can help. However, if constipation is a persistent issue for you, you should discuss it with your doctor. Having constipation is a lot more common than having Parkinson's, so you shouldn't be too concerned. But believe it or not, it can be an early warning sign of a neurological condition for some people. This research into the gut microbiome helps explain why there's a connection. So it's something to keep an eye on. And make sure those fiber-rich foods you're consuming to help with constipation are organic — you want to keep your pesticide exposure to a minimum, particularly if you're concerned about Parkinson's.

Better Health and Living for Women,

Erin M. Hill-Burns, Justine W. Debelius, James T. Morton, William T. Wissemann, Matthew R. Lewis, Zachary D. Wallen, Shyamal D. Peddada, Stewart A. Factor, Eric Molho, Cyrus P. Zabetian, Rob Knight, Haydeh Payami. Parkinson's disease and Parkinson's disease medications have distinct signatures of the gut microbiome. Movement Disorders, 2017; DOI: 10.1002/mds.26942.
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