The vast majority of symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease relate to motor function.
Strangely, despite the condition being so debilitating, some of the early predictors of Parkinson’s disease don’t relate to physicality at all.
According to the authors of a new study published in the journal Neurology, diet patterns account for a significant number of non-motor prodromal features of Parkinson’s disease, including depression, poor sleep, and inconsistent bowel movements.
Subjects featured in the report who adhered to the Mediterranean diet were roughly 33% less likely to experience three or more early Parkinson’s symptoms compared to those who did not. Adherence to The Alternative Healthy Eating Index diet pattern produced a similar outcome.
To strengthen their data, the authors paired previously conducted research with a new subset of participants.
“These analyses included 47,679 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Since 1986, both cohorts have collected dietary information every four years and calculated scores for adherence to different diet patterns, including the alternate Mediterranean diet (aMED) and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI). In 2012, participants responded to questions regarding constipation and probable rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder,” the authors wrote. “For a subset of 17,400 respondents to the 2012 questionnaire, five additional prodromal features of PD were assessed in 2014-2015. We used multinomial logistic regression to estimate the association between baseline (1986) diet pattern score quintiles and number of prodromal features in 2012-2015.”
Not unlike a recent report premised by the correlative factors that contribute to ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, the new paper elects a diet rich with nuts, vegetables, and legumes as ideal with respect to disease risk reduction.
Participants who evidenced a high-take of vegetables, nuts, and legumes dramatically decreased the likelihood of developing any of the aforementioned symptoms.
After examing all of the data from the preceding studies featured in the report, the authors identified the following as the most common non-motor early signs of Parkinson’s disease:
-Loss of sense of smell
-impaired color vision,
-rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder
The authors made a point to note that none of these symptoms share a robust relationship with Parkinson’s disease on their own.
“Comparing extreme aMED diet quintiles, the odds ratio for ≥3 versus 0 features was 0.82 at baseline and 0.67 for long-term diet; results were equally strong for the association with AHEI scores. Higher adherence to these diets was inversely associated with individual features, including constipation, excessive daytime sleepiness, and depression,” the authors continued.
“The inverse association between these diet patterns and prodromal PD features is consistent with previous findings and suggests adherence to a healthy diet may reduce the occurrence of non-motor symptoms that often precede PD diagnosis.”
More research needs to be conducted to determine the significance of early non-motor symptoms and the development of Parkinson’s disease, but as it stands, researchers have gained one more compelling argument in favor of plant-based regimens.
“While this study does not show cause and effect, it certainly provides yet another reason for getting more vegetables, nuts and legumes in your diet,” explained study author Samantha Molsberry, Ph.D., of Harvard University in Boston, Mass in a press release. “More research is needed to determine whether eating a healthy diet could delay or even prevent the development of Parkinson’s disease among people who have these preceding symptoms already.”