Gut Bacteria May Affect Medicines For Parkinson’s Disease – Study Shows

Gut Bacteria May Affect Medicines For Parkinson’s Disease – Study Shows

With every passing day, there is a new advancement in medical science that uncovers new information and even potentially completely changes previously existing ideas regarding the subject of the research. This why studies on a particular topic never have a full stopping point.

In today’s time and age, there have been a huge number of studies which have altered the way health conditions, their connections, and the human body are viewed.

This has also led to a better understanding of general procedures in the human body and how it may be protected as well as treated with more developed medications and therapies. For instance, there is a lot of data on how the gut plays a role in almost all organ systems and processes.

A person may also note its effects on the food and health industry. There are now a wide variety of ‘probiotics-enriched’ products available which are also rapidly bought by people as a result of higher awareness.

Previous research corroborates the fact that gut bacteria are of great importance when it comes to the treatment of a specific health condition. However, a new study now also shows that these bacteria may even be responsible for affecting any medication taken by a person.

The study was conducted at the University of California, San Francisco and its findings can be found in the journal Science.

Read the full study here. 

How Was the Study Conducted?

The majority of the research present on gut microflora is typically on its benefits or how targeting it may help in treating a condition in a better way but according to the research assistant  Vayu Maini Rekdal, this may not always be the case.

Sometimes, gut bacteria may prohibit or even change the way medicine is supposed to work for a health issue. To study more about these impacts of gut bacteria, a team of researchers led by

Prof. Emily Balskus looked at levodopa (L-dopa).

Levodopa (L-dopa) is a medicine that is commonly given to the patients of Parkinson’s disease – a neurodegenerative health condition whose definite treatment is not available at the moment.

The main reason this specific medicine was investigated was that only one to five percent of it reaches that main target area which is the brain since Parkinson’s disease mainly affect dopamine production in the patient.

Another medicine named carbidopa is given along with L-dopa to help it reach the brain more effectively. However, the way it works and its effectiveness varies from person to person. Additionally, one more issue is that L-dopa has a lot of side effects.

The person taking the medicine or increasing its dosage may suffer from cardiac and gastrointestinal issues. As the disease develops, these effects become worse with time.

What Did the Study Show?

To observe what happens when L-dopa is taken, the researchers started with the enzymes that break it down. By using the Human Microbiome Project, they discovered that one type of bacterium present in the gut, Enterococcus faecalis, consumes L-Dopa.

Carbidopa is supposed to stop this from happening but in many cases, it does not work the way it is expected to be. The reason for this happening is still unclear, by the researchers have hypothesized that it may be due to the difference between microbial and human enzyme.

For now, the biggest finding of the team was discovering that a specific molecule may help stop the bacteria without destroying them. In the future, the team hopes to carry further research on this and potentially find a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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