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Reading research can be confusing; eating healthfully isn’t however

Why should you care about recent research done on Desulfovibrio bacteria?

Because these bacteria commonly found in soil, sewage, and brackish water are also in your mouth, intestines, and feces. And the research revealed far fewer Desulfovibrio bacteria present in fecal samples submitted by 10 healthy people when compared to samples submitted by their not-as-healthy spouses.

The not-as-healthy spouses had all been recently diagnosed with the unrelenting brain disorder that causes uncontrollable bodily movements that usually worsen with time.

Parkinson’s disease.

Those shakes and tremors combine with progressive muscle stiffness, fatigue, memory loss, and sleep difficulties to make once-easy tasks, like talking and walking, major challenges. And the number of diagnosed cases in the United States has skyrocketed - an increase of 50% between what a 2022 study funded by the Parkinson Foundation found and the prior annual estimated rate.

Two people close to me have been done in by the disease, so I read the study about the research performed at the University of Helsinki and published in the May 2023 issue of Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, with full focus - and my trusty Meriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary by my side. The good old book got quite a workout.

For proof as to why, a single snippet from the study should suffice. “Isolated Desulfovibrio strains were used as diets to feed Caenorhabditis elgans nematodes which overexposes human alpha-syn [which is technically] the neuronal protein alpha-synuclein, known to be a key factor in the pathology of Parkinson’s disease.” Constantly consulting the dictionary, however, was well worth it.

This research team led by Per E. J. Saris may have found a way to one day prevent the disease that’s referred to in their paper as PD.

What the researchers did, in layman’s lingo, was take the Desulfovibrio bacteria from the feces of the human subjects, feed it to worms, and analyze the worms’ insides. They discovered the worms fed Desulfovibrio bacteria from the people afflicted with PD developed more and larger clusters of the aforementioned neuronal protein needed to transmit nerve impulses.

An excess of this protein, though, has been linked to the development PD in humans.

Moreover, the worms fed Desulfovibrio bacteria from those with PD died “in significantly higher quantities” than worms fed Desulfovibrio bacteria from the healthy spouses.

Now let’s be clear here. While one study doesn’t equate to scientific certainty, Saris is well within his right to say his study’s “significant” - as well as proclaim that certain strains of Desulfovibrio bacteria are the likely cause of Parkinson’s disease in most cases.

And I’m well within my right to proclaim that something else Saris mentions in a press release justifies a few things I’ve written repeatedly in the past.

That you can never be too diligent about your diet. And that the study of nutrition is still in its infancy, but it’s beginning to appear that what you eat, when you eat it, and in what amounts affects virtually every part of your being.

To wit: Only about 10% people who get PD show a genetic tendency for it. Overwhelmingly, it’s triggered by environmental factors, like the area you inhabit, the air you breath, the water you drink, and - you guessed it - the food you eat.

When asked about the Desulfovibrio bacteria study, Dr. Melita Petrossian, a neurologist and director of the Pacific Movement Disorders Center at Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, California, told Medical News Today she believes these bacteria cause Parkinson’s disease by creating “bacterial misalignment or bacterial overgrowth” in the gut microbiome which is “most likely contributed to by the Western diet and the lack of fiber” in it.

So there you have it. Just one more example of the far-ranging affect of how what you put into your mouth, chew, and swallow affects more than just your weight and mood.

And it’s an especially important one - albeit a bit confusing. But as today’s title states, there’s far more clarity when it comes to eating healthfully.

While it’s also clear a number of diets allow you to do that, I’m of the belief there’s one that’s best if you want to work out hard, look the part, and hardly ever lack energy.

If you follow the principles of Nutrient Partitioning and are willing to experiment with specific foods to fine tune your diet, doing so becomes the roadway - not the roadblock - to good health.

Truth be told, Nutrient Partitioning is not so much a diet as it is an understanding of the three macronutrients - proteins, carbohydrates, and fats - that really function as five since there clearly are both “good” and “bad” carbs and fats.

So a meal constructed by a nutrient partitioner will feature protein, to build and maintain muscle; good carbs, to provide best energy for both the brain and muscles; and good fats, to moderate blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and enable good gut bacteria to thrive.

Since the first two don’t get stored as fat as easily as “bad” carbs and “bad” fat, you can consume more calories eating this way.