Nutritional habits, risk, and progression of Parkinson disease

Roberto Erro, Francesco Brigo, Stefano Tamburin, Mauro Zamboni, Angelo Antonini, Michele Tinazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Parkinson disease (PD) is a multifactorial disease, where a genetic predisposition combines with putative environmental risk factors. Mounting evidence suggests that the initial PD pathological manifestations may be located in the gut to subsequently affect brain areas. Moreover, several lines of research demonstrated that there are bidirectional connections between the central nervous system and the gut, the "gut-brain axis" that influences both brain and gastrointestinal function. This opens a potential therapeutic window suggesting that specific dietary strategies may interact with the disease process and influence the risk of PD or modify its course. Dietary components can also theoretically modulate the chronic activation of the inflammatory response that is associated with aging, the strongest risk factor for PD, that has been suggested to hasten the underlying neurodegenerative process in PD. Here, we reviewed the evidence supporting an association between certain dietary compound and either the risk or progression of PD and have provided an overview of the possible pathomechanisms linking nutrition and neurodegeneration. The results of our review would not support a clear role for any dietary components in reducing the risk or progression of PD. However, the evidence favouring a connection between gut abnormalities, inflammation, and neurodegeneration in PD have become too compelling to be ignored, so that further research, also in the field of nutritional genomics, is highly warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-23
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


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