(NaturalHealth365) One of the most promising areas of personalized medicine is the continued research of gut microbiology and its pivotal role in human health and longevity science.
A new, groundbreaking study led by researchers at The University of Helsinki Institute of Biotechnology in Finland recently published findings in The Journal of Movement that the gut microbiology of Parkinson’s patients is significantly correlated with disease progression. Compared to the control group of relatively healthy persons, those with Parkinson’s have vastly different gut bacteria.
Chronic disease gets triggered by poor digestive health
This is yet another important study that contributes to the not-to-be-ignored notion that when the bacteria in our gut are not well or thriving harmoniously, the stage is set for disease. The takeaway message I cannot stress enough to my patients is securing gut health, at an early age, to help create a more protected epigenetic landscape.
Now that this discovery has been made, researchers endeavor to understand how paying closer attention to gut microbiology, in younger patients, potentially predisposed to Parkinson’s may play a crucial role in eventually helping to prevent the disease from manifesting.
How gut health influences neuromuscular capabilities
Currently, researchers are looking at how gut bacteria may be affecting motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s. To date, the Helsinki research team found constipation to be an important non-motor symptom that often “precedes the onset of motor symptoms by years.”
Lead researcher, neurologist Dr. Filip Scheperjans noted:
“Our most important observation was that patients with Parkinson’s have much less bacteria from the Prevotellaceae family; unlike the control group, practically no one in the patient group had a large quantity of bacteria from this family.”
While researchers have not pinned down why this is the case they are following study participants to discover if gut microbiology changes and if potential changes can lead to improved prognosis.
So, what exactly is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s is diagnosed in over 50,000 Americans each year. It is characterized as a degenerative issue of the central nervous system that affects dopamine receptors and their relationship to movement. Later in the disease, thought and behavioral problems may arise.
Test your gut bacteria to promote total wellness.
There are many diagnostic tools to assess gut bacteria function and identity. Many of these tests while available for purchase online should be chosen under the supervision of your integrative healthcare provider. He or she will help choose which test is most sensitive for your personal needs.
The benefits of probiotics should NOT be underestimated.
We know that over 80 percent of the immune system is living in the gut. Modern environmental influences such as poor water and food quality, pollution, disease-states and stress can alter gut bacteria function.
Choosing a multi-strain, non-GMO probiotic will help populate your entire digestive system with the bacteria essential for a thriving immune system. Beyond that, studies have shown the favorable benefits of probiotics on arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular and neurological health.
The importance of understanding your epigenetic landscape and future research
While a genetic mutation can occur at any point throughout life, we are usually born with them. A mutation doesn’t necessarily spell trouble, just that the gene may be operating at an altered state of functioning.
Having genetic testing performed can be a liberating way to help stave off future disease. Discovering you have a genetic predisposition for something as significant as Parkinson’s can help researchers and your integrative healthcare providers create the most personalized approach to your wellness – including taking clues from the bacteria living in your gut.
Mapping your gut microbiome and giving it the attention it deserves could help stave off an entire host of health concerns, like Parkinson’s and beyond.
About the author: Christine M. Dionese L.Ac, MSTOM is an integrative health expert, medical journalist and food writer. She’s dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health. Christine practices, writes and speaks on environmental functional medicine, personalized medicine and epigenetics, food science and sustainable living.