The human gut mediates the effects of various chemicals and nutrients on disease processes. A new study has suggested that lifestyle factors that are associated with a Parkinson's disease (PD) risk may be influenced by the bacteria living in the human gut. By reviewing the studies related to gut motility to microbiota compositions, the researchers suggest that there might be complex relationships between coffee, microbiome concentrations, and the altered gut motility found in PD patients.
The literature review indicated that smoking affects the gut microbiome composition and this seems to be associated with improved barrier function and anti-inflammatory effects in the colonic mucosa. Lead investigator Filip Scheperjans from the Helsinki University Hospital said, "Also a possible reverse effect of gut microbiota on smoking propensity and its relevance for PD is an interesting field for future studies."
In the case of coffee consumption, most of the direct effects on the GI tract are related to gut motility like gastro-esophageal reflux, gallbladder contraction, and increasing colonic motor activity. Interesting associations have been reported based on which microbiota could indeed play a role at the interface between environmental and lifestyle factors and PD.
The most promising areas seem to be related to gut barrier function, inflammation, oxidative stress, gut motility and metabolism. Scheperjans said, "By studying these, we may gain more insight into the hugely complex network of microbiome-host-interactions underlying the observed associations. Considering the well-established gastrointestinal abnormalities in PD and the vast interactions of gut microbiota with the human host, it seems mandatory to explore whether gut microbiota are involved in this devastating disorder."
The study was published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease.