As we talked about in the previous blog post, certain foods have been correlated with a quicker progression of PD. You may be wondering how what you eat can impact what is going on in your brain. The answer is the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is a nerve that begins in the brain stem and had connections in the gut.
About half of people with PD experience constipation prior to the onset of their first motor symptom related to PD. There is some exciting research being down now looking at treatments starting in the gut to impact PD progression.
There is growing evidence that this may be a primary route for triggers of PD to travel from the GI tract to the brain. One study found that individuals who had a vagotomy (where the vagus nerve is cut) showed a lower risk for developing Parkinson's. Another study performed in mice found that when alpha-synuclein protein was injected into the GI tract it traveled to the brain via the vagus nerve.
There is emerging research to show a correlation between inflammation in the gut and developing PD. One study found that individuals with Crohn's or ulcerative colitis were 28% higher risk for developing PD compared to healthy individuals. This same research team found that individuals who took a medicine to help reduce inflammation there was a 78% drop in developing a neurodegenerative disease.
Not everyone who has PD also experiences a disorder of the GI tract. It is thought that this may be one of several routes for PD to develop. What research is finding that if you are able to reduce intake of dietary inflammatory foods this can help manage your PD symptoms.
The take home from this is changing your diet can be hard but this is an important part of managing your PD symptoms.
For some delicious and healthy recipe ideas, be sure to check out our ebook featuring foods found to slow down PD symptoms at brainbodybetter.com
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