Nutritional Risk Factors, Microbiota and Parkinson’s Disease: What Is the Current Evidence
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a frequent neurodegenerative disease among elderly people. Genetic and underlying environmental factors seem to be involved in the pathogenesis of PD related to degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the striatum. In previous experimental researches oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, homocysteine, and neuroinflammation have been reported as potential mechanisms. Among environmental factors, nutrition is one of the most investigated areas as it is a potentially modifiable factor. The purpose of this review is to provide current knowledge regarding the relation between diet and PD risk. We performed a comprehensive review including the most relevant studies from the year 2000 onwards including prospective studies, nested case-control studies, and meta-analysis. Among dietary factors we focused on specific nutrients and food groups, alcoholic beverages, uric acid, and dietary patterns. Furthermore, we included studies on microbiota as recent findings have shown a possible impact on neurodegeneration. As a conclusion, there are still many controversies regarding the relationship between PD and diet which, beside methodological differences among studies, may be due to underlying genetic and gender-specific factors. However, some evidence exists regarding a potential protective effect of uric acid, poly-unsaturated fatty acids, coffee, and tea but mainly in men, whereas dairy products, particularly milk, might increase PD risk through contaminant mediated effect.
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