Nonpharmacological Modulation of Chronic Inflammation in Parkinson's Disease: Role of Diet Interventions

Parkinsons Dis. 2019 Aug 25;2019:7535472. doi: 10.1155/2019/7535472. eCollection 2019.


Neuroinflammation is increasingly recognized as an important pathophysiological feature of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease (PD). Recent evidence suggests that neuroinflammation in PD might originate in the intestine and the bidirectional communication between the central and enteric nervous system, the so-called "gut-brain axis," has received growing attention due to its contribution to the pathogenesis of neurological disorders. Diet targets mediators of inflammation with various mechanisms and combined with dopaminergic treatment can exert various beneficial effects in PD. Food-based therapies may favorably modulate gut microbiota composition and enhance the intestinal epithelial integrity or decrease the proinflammatory response by direct effects on immune cells. Diets rich in pre- and probiotics, polyunsaturated fatty acids, phenols including flavonoids, and vitamins, such as the Mediterranean diet or a plant-based diet, may attenuate chronic inflammation and positively influence PD symptoms and even progression of the disease. Dietary strategies should be encouraged in the context of a healthy lifestyle with physical activity, which also has neuroimmune-modifying properties. Thus, diet adaptation appears to be an effective additive, nonpharmacological therapeutic strategy that can attenuate the chronic inflammation implicated in PD, potentially slow down degeneration, and thereby modify the course of the disease. PD patients should be highly encouraged to adopt corresponding lifestyle modifications, in order to improve not only PD symptoms, but also general quality of life. Future research should focus on planning larger clinical trials with dietary interventions in PD in order to obtain hard evidence for the hypothesized beneficial effects.

Publication types

  • Review