Certain changes in the intestinal flora appear to promote neurodegenerative diseases and thus increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. However, a healthy diet and physical activity could help modulate the intestinal flora in such a way that the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease is significantly improved.
A new study attempted to understand the pathomechanisms and disease progression that are related to the intestinal flora and contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The results are published in the “Journal of Education, Health and Sport”.
Intestinal flora linked to neurodegenerative diseases
According to the researchers, it has recently become apparent that there appears to be a connection between changes in the intestinal flora and the occurrence of neurodegenerative diseases.
To investigate this connection in more detail, the team searched the PubMed and Google Scholar databases for research papers on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, intestinal flora and neurodegenerative diseases.
Experts explain that the progression of neurodegenerative processes is associated with a different progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
How does the intestinal flora affect Azheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease?
The researchers cite inflammation and a decrease in the amount of bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids as likely reasons for the connection between the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and the intestinal flora.
According to the experts, an early switch to a Mediterranean diet could potentially reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s through its effects on the intestinal flora. However, further studies are necessary to clarify the exact connections between the intestinal microbiome and the risk of disease.
Role of the gut-brain axis
Another study published in the English-language journal “Food Science and Human Wellness” also points to an influence of intestinal flora on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The experts involved report that the intestinal flora influences the brain via the so-called gut-brain axis and that signaling pathways related to Alzheimer’s disease can also be affected.
Improvement of cognitive functions
In addition, the results of the second study show that the intestinal flora can apparently be influenced by diet and physical activity in such a way that various advantages for cognitive functions arise.
According to the researchers, modulating the intestinal flora through diet and physical activity could represent a promising option for preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. However, further studies are necessary to verify this, as the scientific evidence can currently be viewed as controversial. (as)