What Evidence Suggests That Parkinson's Disease May Start In The Gut And Spread To The Brain? Here Is What To Know

Let’s find out ‘What Evidence Suggests That Parkinson’s Disease May Start In The Gut And Spread To The Brain?’ What potential significance for Parkinson’s disease does the gut microbiota have? The expanding corpus of studies connecting the health of the gut microbiota to neurodegeneration was expanded by a recent study published in Nature Communications.

Microbial DNA was compared in the stool samples of 490 patients with Parkinson’s disease and 234 “control” healthy people. The sequencing results showed which microbial traits were present or enhanced in the Parkinson’s fecal samples compared to the control samples.

The Parkinson’s fecal samples had lower levels of short-chain fatty acids that reduce inflammation, but interestingly, they had higher levels of probiotics that are typically regarded as “good” probiotics, like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. What does this entail, then? The discovery of important new information about the gut microbiome of Parkinson’s patients by the researchers may pave the way for future investigations, research, and treatments for the disease, which is currently incurable.


What Evidence Suggests That Parkinson's Disease May Start In The Gut And Spread To The Brain? Here Is What To Know
What Evidence Suggests That Parkinson’s Disease May Start In The Gut And Spread To The Brain? Here Is What To Know

“Polymicrobial clusters of PD-associated species expand or contract together and some engage in competition. With the reduction in anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective factors limiting the ability to recover, the PD microbiome is disease permissive as evidenced by the overabundance of pathogens and immunogenic components, dysregulated neuroactive signaling, preponderance of molecules that induce alpha-synuclein pathology, and over-production of toxicants “This new data is confirming in humans what was previously known only through animal (mouse) studies, according to the study abstract, which makes the crucial point. What more do we know about gut health and Parkinson’s disease? What the experts have to say is as follows.


Parkinson’s And Constipation

Numerous studies have been done on the effect of the gut microbiota on Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s has a gut-brain link, according to Kuldip Dave, PhD, former director of research programs at The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and vice president of research at The ALS Association. “Constipation is one of the disease’s initial signs, beginning before the majority of patients receive a diagnosis. Parkinson’s sufferers’ colons have been revealed to have hazardous versions of the protein alpha-synuclein in studies. People with Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcerative colitis are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, other studies have revealed that the microbiomes of people with Parkinson’s disease are altered and contain more H. pylori bacteria.”


The Michael J. Fox Foundation is acknowledged and thanked in the acknowledgements of the Nature Communications publication. According to Dr. Kuldip, “fundamental concerns concerning the microbiota and Parkinson’s disease remain unresolved.” “What does the microbiome secrete, and can we measure it? What distinguishes the gut microbiota of Parkinson’s patients from healthy individuals? Perhaps most crucially, what should we change about the microbiome in order to improve health, and how should we go about doing that? As we continue to fund research into the microbiome and the gut-brain connection in Parkinson’s, obtaining these answers will help us prioritize our investments.”


Parkinson’s And Short-Chain Fatty Acids

It is significant that recent study has revealed reduced SCFA levels in the Parkinson’s microbiome, which supports earlier findings. According to the American Parkinson Disease Association, short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are one of the microbiome’s primary products. “According to research, SCFAs can enter the brain and increase nerve growth factors to have neuroprotective effects. Numerous studies have revealed that there are fewer SCFAs in fecal samples from people with PD than from healthy controls, and this may be related to a lack of neuroprotection, which in turn feeds the progression of the disease.”


Ali Keshavarzian, MD, a gastroenterologist, “Constipation, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea are just a few of the GI symptoms that PD itself can bring on, and these symptoms can also coexist with other GI conditions. Therefore, a person with PD should not assume that a new GI symptom is connected to PD. Instead, a more thorough GI evaluation is required.”


Parkinson’s And Bad Dreams

Parkinson’s disease has been connected in the past to disturbed sleep. According to Dr. Rachel Dolhun, “A person with REM sleep behavior disorder acts out their dreams. People will scream, punch, kick, or even jump out of bed in these nightmares since they frequently include being pursued or assaulted. The REM stage of sleep is when we dream. Typically, during this time the brain inhibits muscle movement. People with RBD are able to move to act out their dreams because the neural pathways in the brain that control muscle activity are disrupted.


What Evidence Suggests That Parkinson's Disease May Start In The Gut And Spread To The Brain? Here Is What To Know
Bad Sleep


PD symptoms like REM sleep behavior disorder might manifest for years before the condition is officially diagnosed. People with Parkinson’s disease frequently experience sleep issues, including RBD, according to Dr. Dolhun. “However, research indicates that REM sleep behavior disruption, which can manifest years before motor symptoms, may potentially be one of the early signs of Parkinson’s disease. (Other potential early warning indicators include sadness, constipation, and a loss of smell.) These studies show a strong correlation between RBD and a later diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or other conditions with symptoms similar to PD, such as dementia with Lewy bodies or multiple system atrophy. However, PD does not always progress from RBD.”

Weight Loss And Parkinson’s

Constipation brought on by Parkinson’s disease might cause weight loss, according to specialists. Parkinson’s disease frequently causes weight loss, but it is typically modest or at most moderate, according to Dr. Dolhun. “With Parkinson’s disease (PD), changes can happen at any moment, albeit they could be more common in its latter stages. Weight loss should be recognized and treated since it may result in malnutrition or aggravate both motor and non-motor symptoms. A change in diet may be necessary or mealtimes may be challenging due to swallowing issues, smell loss, depression, slowed stomach emptying, constipation, abdominal bloating, or a full feeling after eating only small amounts of food.”


What Evidence Suggests That Parkinson's Disease May Start In The Gut And Spread To The Brain? Here Is What To Know
Weight Loss


A healthcare expert should always be consulted for unexplained weight loss. According to Dr. Dolhun, significant weight loss in people with PD is linked to a worse quality of life. “Due to the difficulty in managing both motor and non-motor symptoms, as well as the elevated risk of infection and bone loss (osteoporosis). Be careful to consult your doctor if you detect a change in your weight. He or she can keep an eye on your weight, and you two can work to identify the cause. Your doctor might start by inquiring about any changes in your eating or sleeping patterns, swallowing problems, or constipation.”

Parkinson’s And Inflammation

Research on the part of inflammation in Parkinson’s disease is ongoing. Dr. Dave explains that the immune system is our body’s defense against harmful substances. “Virals, bacteria, and the idea of good and bad inflammation. Inflammation is helpful when it causes redness and swelling after a burn or cut, for example. That is what we desire. But when that continues for a long time, when it begins to interfere with our cells’ and tissues’ normal functions, at that point it becomes harmful to our bodies, and that is what we refer to as bad inflammation.


What Evidence Suggests That Parkinson's Disease May Start In The Gut And Spread To The Brain? Here Is What To Know
Mature Woman Sleeping Peacefully


“If we can comprehend how good and bad inflammation interact in Parkinson’s disease, we can use the immune system to develop more effective PD medications. We do not completely comprehend and appreciate where and when it occurs. Does it occur prior to Parkinson’s disease onset, after it has already begun and aids in the disease’s progression, or perhaps a little of both? If we could better comprehend that, we would be able to use the immune system to develop more effective Parkinson’s treatments.”

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