Saturday, April 13, 2024
Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Parkinson’s And Gut Health

How Your Support Made This Research Project Possible

Everything Parkinson’s: Gut-Brain Connection with Dr. Melita Petrossian

Appel-Cresswells new project builds on earlier research to study the fungal microbiome, a project Parkinson Canada supported. That was one of the grants that then facilitated a whole lot more work, she says.

Its really the seed funding, particularly with these pilot grants, that allows us to go way beyond that. Its the necessary start to any of these projects.

Seed or pilot grants allow researchers to leverage funding from other sources.

You have to start somewhere, and that is the seed that is planted and has really grown into a whole program that is very interconnected and makes use of all these synergies between all these fields, she says.

What Is Known About The Gut

How signals from the gut influence the brain has fascinated and intrigued researchers. There have been three main hypotheses about the pathways involved.

First, emerging research in immunology over the past decademuch of which has been conducted at Yale, including by Ruslan Medzhitov, PhD, Sterling Professor of Immunobiologyhas shown that the immune system has significant functions beyond simply fighting infection, including tissue regulation and cellular homeostasis. Some researchers postulated that motile immune cells in the gut are programmed to move to places theyre needed within the body to fulfill these purposes. Some of these immune cells might be homing in on the brain. Andrew Wang, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and of immunobiology and Hafler are investigating how T cells migrate from the gut to the brain, both in healthy individuals and in experimental animals to better understand the role of the immune system in nervous system homeostasis.

Second, scientists believed that the microbiome could influence the brain through the neuronal circuitry that links the gut to the brain via the vagus nerve, which acts as a superhighway between our organs and the central nervous system, says Palm.

And finally, researchers hypothesized that the connection could be due to chemical communication through metabolitessmall molecules made by the microbiome to break down food, drugs, and other natural and synthesized substances.

Metabolites By Intestinal Bacteria

Intestinal bacteria produce SCFAs, as well as vitamins B2, B6, B12, and K, folic acid, pantothenic acid, biotin , serotonin, and polyamines. Serotonin promotes intestinal peristalsis. Intestinal SCFAs are decreased in PD . Serum polyamines are also decreased in PD . We will focus on the roles of SCFAs and polyamines in this communication.

Fig. 3.

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Q Can You Discuss How Protein Intake And Sinemet Interact

A. You are referring to the protein effect, which means that for some people with PD, eating dietary protein can interfere with the absorption of levodopa. If you do not have this problem and protein does not interfere with medication absorption, then there is nothing to worry about. The way to determine if you have this problem or not is to take a dose of medication with and without the food of interest and note your response to the medication. If it is the same, then you can continue eating whatever you like, whenever you like. If the protein does seem to decrease the efficacy of your medication, then the solution is to wait about one hour between protein ingestion and taking medication. Many people simply eat meals without protein during the day and save their protein for the evening meal when they do not expect to be as active. You can read more about how to deal with this and other issues relating to food and carbidopa/levodopa in this article.

Gi Symptoms As An Early Indicator Of Pd

Bacterial community in the gut of Parkinson

Constipation is extremely common in the PD population, affecting as many as 80% of patientsoften preceding motor symptoms by years.20 Constipation is not the only GI tract concern for Parkinson patients, however, as excess saliva production, difficulty swallowing, indigestion, and abdominal pain are common.21

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Low Intake Of Alcohol Sugar And Processed Foods

All of these things lead to neuronal death which means they increase neurodegeneration.

I had the honor of learning from Dr. Laurie Mischley one of the greats when it comes to preventing the progression of PD. Dr. Mischley has dedicated her life to early diagnosis and preventing the progression of PD. On average the typical patient with PD gets worse within a year but 80% of Dr. Mischleys patients get better within a year!

I do my best to take her teachings to help patients dealing with PD prevent the progression of their disease. I do this by helping to heal the gut, addressing the root cause of their disease, and working with their neurologist to optimize their health.

If you or a loved one is dealing with PD, schedule a complimentary consult with me so we can see how we can work together to prevent the progression of PD!


Chen, H., O'Reilly, E., McCullough, M. L., Rodriguez, C., Schwarzschild, M. A., Calle, E. E., Ascherio, A. . Consumption of dairy products and risk of Parkinson's disease. Retrieved from 
Crews, F. T., &  Nixon, K. . Mechanisms of neurodegeneration and regeneration in alcoholism. Retrieved from 
Dyall, S. C. . Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: A review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA and DHA. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience,7. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2015.00052

Parkinsons Disease: Are Gut Microbes Involved

Parkinsons disease is a common neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor and gastrointestinal deficits. Despite its prevalence, the pathophysiology of PD is not well understood. Recent studies highlight the role of gut microbiota in neurological disorders. In this review, we summarize the potential role of gut microbiota in the pathophysiology of PD. We first describe how gut microbiota can be influenced by factors predisposing individuals to PD, such as environmental toxins, aging, and host genetics. We then highlight the effect of gut microbiota on mechanisms implicated in the pathophysiology of PD, including disrupted microbiota gut brain axis , barrier dysfunction, and immune dysfunction. It is too early to connect the dots between gut microbiota and PD to establish causation, and experiments focused on investigating interrelationship between gut microbiota and associated metabolites on GBA, barrier dysfunction, and immune activation will be crucial to fill in the gaps.

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But How Does A Bad Microbiome Produce Parkinsons

A 2017 study has revealed at least one of the major reasons why the gut microbiome can produce Parkinsons. Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham tested 197 Parkinsons disease patients along with 130 healthy control subjects. To offset for local diets, the study tested people from the South, people from the Northeast and people from the Northwest. The researchers tested each persons gut bacteria and analyzed the different species that populated each persons gut.

The findings were eye-opening.

First, the study once again established that Parkinsons disease patients have abnormal populations of gut bacteria compared to healthy people. But it was the particular species of bacteria that became the most revealing aspect. Dr. Haydeh Payami, a neurology professor in the school of medicine at the University of Alabama explained:

Our study showed major disruption of the normal microbiome the organisms in the gut in individuals with Parkinsons.

The researchers found that probiotic species that are involved in helping the body remove toxic chemicals from the body were glaringly low among the Parkinsons disease patients. Probiotic families at lower levels included:

Bifidobacteriaceae Pasteurellaceae Verrucomicrobiaceae

This is significant. Why? Because other research has linked Parkinsons disease to the exposure of chemicals in pesticides and other consumer products.

Downsides Of Probiotics For Parkinsons

What is the Parkinson’s Gut Health Protocol?

Although probiotics are generally considered safe, there are some potential concerns with probiotic supplementation in people with Parkinsons disease .

First, some Enterococcus species found in some probiotic supplements may inactivate levodopa, a dopamine-replacement medication used in the treatment of PD. However, this needs more research and clarification in PD patients .

Further, probiotic supplementation may exacerbate SIBO , common in people with Parkinsons disease .

Its also unknown which probiotic strains are most effective in treating PD symptoms and if theyre more effective in combination or taken as single strains.

An individualized assessment of the microbiome may be warranted to determine the best course of action (

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Potential Mechanisms Underlying Gutbrain Axis Communication In Parkinsons Disease

Studies involving the maturation of GF animals have provided evidence supporting the theory that the gut microbiota are essential for the appropriate development of both the ENS and CNS . Further, the complete absence of bacterial colonization in the gut of these GF animals has been associated with distinct alterations in the functionality of the CNS and ENS including delayed gastric emptying, increased intestinal transit time, reduced migrating myoelectric complex periods , enlarged cecum, altered gene expression related to regulation of neurotransmitters, muscular contractile proteins, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor . Animals raised in GF conditions have also demonstrated increased BBB permeability through decreased expression of tight junction proteins, potentially due to a lack of bacterial-derived SCFAs, capable of improvement following colonization with commensal microbiota . Taken together, these studies suggest the inherent presence of a bidirectional pathway between the gut and the brain, mediated by the microbiota, is vital for proper nervous system maturation and function.

Intestinal Infections In The Microbiome

Clinicians are already aware of changes in the microbiome that are actual intestinal infections that can have effects on PD.

  • Helicobacter pylori is a common bacteria which can cause gastritis and ulcers. Infection with Helicobacter pylori has been linked to worsened motor fluctuations in PD. It can be diagnosed with a urea breath test that analyzes exhaled air.
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is a condition in which there is excessive bacteria in the small intestine and can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, chronic diarrhea and weight loss. It is also linked to worsened motor fluctuations in PD and can be diagnosed by a glucose hydrogen breath test.

These two conditions may be considered in a person with unexplained and unpredictable fluctuations of PD symptoms. They are typically diagnosed by a gastroenterologist and are treated with antibiotics.

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Microbiota As Current Therapeutic Approaches To Pd

Till now, no therapeutic approach has been found that have a beneficial effect on PD pathophysiology. Modifying the existing microbiota to maintain the intestinal homeostasis by various microbiota-targeted interventions, such as antibiotics, prebiotics, probiotics, synbiotics or fecal Microbiota Transplant are current therapeutic approaches under consideration . We have discussed how these interventions have been shown to favourably affect gut homeostasis and the

Leaky Blood Brain Barrier And Parkinsons Disease


which explains how both the blood brain barrier and the gut lining can lose their protective functions in a variety of ways. Given that leaky gut and leaky brain are both heavily implicated in the disease, the road blocks between chemicals produced in the gut reaching the brain is not so assured for people with Parkinson√Ęs. For example, unusually high levels of histamine, which is naturally produced in the gut as part of digestion, have been found in the brains of people with PD

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Parkinson’s Disease Linked To Gut Bacteria

Microbiome research is exploding and new trials are published on a daily basis, linking our microbes with lots of different aspects of health. A lot of this research is very exciting but it is still in the early days. We still need more gold standard human clinical trials and better understandings of the mechanisms of action, especially with neurodegenerative conditions. These conditions can be caused by numerous factors, not one clear cause has been determined. It is not well defined whether dysbiosis and unbalanced immune system may cause neurodegenerative conditions or whether they are side effects. Therefore, it may be that probiotics may aid as one part of the approach to help alleviate side effects or improve the condition, but other interventions may also be required.

A study led by Filip Scheperjans M.D, from the Helsinki University Central Hospital , in partnership with researchers from the University of Helsinki, examined the microflora of patients suffering from Parkinsons disease1. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative, movement disorder that belongs to the group of conditions called motor system disorders.

Parkinson’s patients may have an imbalanced gut flora

What is not understood is whether this altered microbiota is in some way responsible for the onset or worsening of disease symptoms, or whether the dysbiosis occurs as a result of the Parkinsons disease.

Do high levels of intestinal Enterobacteriaceae worsen Parkinson’s symptoms?

Q Is Prucalopride Effective Are There Side Effects

A. The medication prucalopride is a selective serotonin-4 receptor agonist that improves bowel motility. It was approved in 2018 to treat chronic constipation as well as gastroparesis or delayed gastric emptying. Common side effects include GI symptoms, headache, fatigue, and dizziness. Less common is its potential to cause changes in mood including depression.

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Feel More Comfortable In Your Own Body

We get it – GI issues, mental health struggles, and neurological conditions can all be uncomfortable sometimes. Thats why we are getting the word out about our unique neurologically active probiotic and the science behind it. Since 2015 our product has become a trusted helper for autistic people, folks with Parkinsons disease, and so many others around the world. Check out our science. Read our story. Then try Neuralli for yourself or your loved one.

Should You Take A Probiotic For Parkinsons

Movement Break for Gut Health in Parkinson’s

Though research on probiotics for treating Parkinsons is a relatively new topic, taking a probiotic may be beneficial in some cases.

If you are experiencing constipation related to PD, you may benefit from taking a probiotic supplement. Though, which formulations are best is yet to be determined.

Beyond this, there isnt enough evidence to provide specific recommendations. Scientists are just beginning to understand the role of the gut microbiome and probiotics and their role in PD. So, its too early to recommend probiotics as a treatment .

If youre interested in probiotics to help alleviate some of your PD symptoms, you should speak to a qualified healthcare professional.


Since research is still in its early stages, its too soon to recommend probiotics to help manage or treat PD symptoms.

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Can An Altered Microbiome Contribute To A Diagnosis Of Pd

Research studies in animals have shown that an altered microbiome might contribute to PD pathology. For example, one study showed that in a mouse model of PD that overexpressed alpha-synuclein, there was more alpha-synuclein accumulation in the brain of the mice with an intact microbiome as compared to the same mice who were raised in a germ-free environment with no bacteria in their gut. This supports the theory that abnormal alpha-synuclein accumulation in the brain is enhanced by a particular microbiome in the gut.

Other studies showed that transplantation of fecal material from PD mice to normal mice, thereby introducing a PD microbiome into mice without PD pathology their brain, led to impairment of motor function and a decline in brain dopamine. These studies also support the theory that a particular microbiome might be integral in causing PD pathology in the brain.

Can The Microbiome Predict Parkinsons

  • A study finds that Parkinsons disease is associated with changes in the composition of the gut microbiome.
  • In Parkinsons disease, the gut bacterias ability to break down fat is altered, making it harder to regulate bile acid production.
  • Disruptions in bile acid production could be a potential indicator of the condition.
  • Treatments targeting the microbiome and bile acids may help delay the progression of Parkinsons disease.

The gut microbiome influences many systems of the body.

It can create neurochemicals, such as serotonin, and communicate with the central nervous system. Its relationship with the brain may influence dementia and autism.

In a new study, researchers investigated the link between gut bacteria and Parkinsons disease.

Its becoming increasingly clear that gut health has tight links with brain health, says Dr. Peipei Li, a former postdoctoral fellow at Van Andel Institute and the studys lead author.

Our findings provide exciting new opportunities for better understanding this relationship and possibly for developing new ways to diagnose and even treat Parkinsons.

The researchers published their results recently in the journal Metabolites.

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How The Gut Can Help Diagnose Parkinsons

Dr. Scheperjans explains the motivation for the study, saying, Better understanding the role of the gut in will help us to understand the origin of the disease and to improve treatments.

There is accumulating evidence that at least in some patients, the origin of the disease may lie in the gut with possible involvement of abnormal protein aggregates, local inflammation, and the gut microbiome.

Therefore, further studies into the role of the gut in are important and may reveal new possibilities for diagnosis and treatment, he explains.

In their review, Dr. Scheperjans and colleagues identified four main takeaways:

Furthermore, the study authors appreciate that in the next few decades, the gut microbiota will play a special role in the development of new therapies for Parkinsons. Such therapies can include dietary changes, the use of pro- and prebiotics, and fecal transplants.

Our understanding and appreciation of the importance of the gut-brain connection in grown rapidly in recent years, says Dr. Scheperjans.

We are confident that the coming 2 decades of microbiome-gut-brain-axis research will see an even accelerated development in this area that will reshape our understanding of the pathogenesis of , he adds.

Changes in the gut might be utilized to diagnose earlier new therapies targeting these changes might slow disease progression, reduce constipation, and improve gut function in patients who have already been diagnosed.

Dr. Patrik Brundin, Ph.D.


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