Parkinson’s disease is a disorder that affects muscle control, balance, and movement. Research conducted during the last 20 years has shown that it is associated with a number of gastrointestinal systems. More and more studies now suggest that the disorder might have something to do with the gut. Some patients are even seen to have had digestive symptoms earlier.
Many patients who suffer from Parkinson’s disease also suffer from diseases such as constipation. A better understanding of the role of the gut in Parkinson’s disease will help to understand the origin of the disease and to improve its treatments. Research shows that patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease also have abnormal protein aggregation in the gut.
The link between the gut and Parkinson’s disease will help to diagnose the disease much sooner and will also help to slow down its progression. Till date, by the time the disease is diagnosed, most of the cells in the brain are already affected by the disease and it becomes difficult to slow down the progression of the disease.
With research establishing the role of the gut in the Parkinson’s disease, dietary changes and the use of pro- and prebiotics will help. Reducing constipation and improving gut function will reduce the occurrence of Parkinson’s disease.
There have also been studies that suggest that the micro-organisms that live in the gut, called the gut microbiota will have a bearing on the new therapies to be developed for Parkinson’s disease.
Research has also shown that the stomach and the brain send messages to each other through the vagus nerve. This directly connects the nervous system of the gut to the central nervous system. Researchers have been targeting improvement in the gut health which will slow down Parkinson’s disease or enable its early detection.