A nutritional approach to microbiota in Parkinson's disease

Biosci Microbiota Food Health. 2019;38(4):115-127. doi: 10.12938/bmfh.19-002. Epub 2019 Jun 29.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor impairment and the accumulation of alpha-synucleinopathy (α-syn), which can affect different levels of the brain-gut axis. There is a two-way communication between the gastrointestinal tract, and brain that includes the gut microbiota. This bidirectional communication between the gut microbiota and the brain includes many pathways, such as immune mechanisms, the vagus nerve, and microbial neurometabolite production. The common cause of constipation in PD is thought to be the accumulation of α-syn proteins in the enteric nervous system. Recent studies have focused on changes in microbial metabolites and gut microbiota dysbiosis. Microbiota dysbiosis is associated with increased intestinal permeability, intestinal inflammation, and neuroinflammation. Many factors, such as unbalanced nutrition, antibiotic use, age, and infection, result in alteration of microbial metabolites, triggering α-syn accumulation in the intestinal mucosa cells. Increased evidence indicates that the amount, type, and balance of dietary macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats); high consumption of vegetables, fruits, and omega-3 fatty acids; and healthy diet patterns such as the Mediterranean diet may have a great protective impact on PD. This review focuses on the potential benefits of prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics to regulate microbiota dysbiosis along with the effect of diet on the gut microbiota in PD.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease; alpha-synuclein; gut-brain axis; microbiota; nutrition; probiotics.

Publication types

  • Review