Posted on: October 11th, 2022

Can the use of probiotics improve Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptoms? Increased use and marketing of probiotics over the last decade have led to researchers looking at many potential benefits. 

Probiotics refer to any foods or supplements that contain healthy bacteria meant to benefit health. As a whole, probiotics make up a very large category of dietary products. Probiotics work by encouraging a healthy balance of microbiota in the gut microbiome.

Does the Gut Affect Parkinson’s?

The microbiome in patients with Parkinson’s might be different than in those without the disease. Research interest into whether manipulating gut bacteria in PD using probiotics is beneficial has increased over the past few years. The gut microbiome consists of countless microscopic organisms living in a delicate balance. How it affects the rest of the body is still being researched.

There have been several clinical trials testing whether probiotics can treat the symptoms of PD. Most have focused on the treatment of GI symptoms. Two, however, have focused on the improvement of motor system impairment due to Parkinson’s.

These studies have suggested that using certain probiotic mixtures may improve gastrointestinal symptoms associated with PD. These treatments have not been compared to increasing prebiotic use, which may be even more effective. Unfortunately, no data currently supports the use of probiotics for the motor symptoms of PD.

Upcoming Clinical Studies & Trials

Research into how probiotics may help other symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease is ongoing. The American Parkinson Disease Foundation lists some of the most exciting studies currently going on, which include:

  • Probiotic effects on treating anxiety related to PD
  • Probiotic effects on treating depression related to PD
  • Lactobacillus casei and its effects in treating constipation related to PD
  • Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Enterococcus and their effect on motor symptoms, constipation, and sleep-related to PD
  • Lactobacillus Plantarum PS128 affects motor symptoms of PD
  • Effect of Lactobacillus acidophilus and prebiotic fibers on motor symptoms of PD

All of the research mentioned in this article is still in the early stages. None of the information is meant to treat Parkinson’s Disease. Please speak to your doctor if you have any questions regarding options for medically recommended ways of treating PD.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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