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Constipation and Parkinson's with Dr. Stuart Gillim

In the world of neurological disorders, Parkinson's disease is often viewed from a strictly neuro-centric perspective. However, recent research has unveiled a fascinating relationship between our gut health and neurological well-being, with a specific focus on Parkinson's disease. In this podcast episode, Dr. Stuart Gillum, a specialist in internal medicine and gastroenterology, enlightens us on this complex connection, diving into the world of gut microbes, the brain, and how this relationship can affect nerve cells in the intestinal tract.

Constipation is a common early symptom of Parkinson's, which can occur years before the onset of motor symptoms. According to Dr. Gillum, the changes in the microbiome could potentially harm the nerve cells in the intestinal tract. The brain and the gastrointestinal tract are connected through two components: the vagus nerve and the parasympathetic nervous system. Interestingly, people who have had the vagus nerve cut and start developing symptoms of Parkinson's disease, tend to develop the disease much more slowly.

Diet plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals, and olive oil can positively impact gut health. Additionally, the inclusion of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha can also be beneficial.

Beyond diet, there are potential triggers of Parkinson's disease that need to be considered. One potential trigger discussed is the role of dairy products in our diet. However, the correlation between dairy and Parkinson's might not be as direct as it seems. The real culprit could be the toxins in milk, particularly from fields where herbicides and pesticides are used.

Physical activity is another important aspect of managing Parkinson's disease. Forced, intense exercise has been shown to slow the progression of the disease. The therapeutic benefits of exercise in conjunction with a balanced diet can potentially slow down the progression of Parkinson's.

The role of dopamine-based medications in the management of Parkinson's is also discussed. These medications do not alter the progression of the disease but can relieve symptoms and improve lifestyle. However, their efficacy depends on the subset of Parkinson's a patient has.

In conclusion, managing Parkinson's disease involves a multi-pronged approach. Regular physical activity, a balanced diet, and appropriate medications are key to managing the disease. Furthermore, a strong medical team proficient in the management of Parkinson's is essential. The fascinating discussion in this podcast episode serves as a hopeful beacon for those seeking insights into managing Parkinson's disease.



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