Parkinson's disease (PD) in elderly patients is the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease. The pathogenesis of PD is associated with dopaminergic neuron degeneration of the substantia nigra in the basal ganglia, causing classic motor symptoms. Oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and neuroinflammation have been identified as possible pathways in laboratory investigations. Nutrition, a potentially versatile factor from all environmental factors affecting PD, has received intense research scrutiny.
A systematic search was conducted in the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and WEB OF SCIENCE databases from 2000 until the present. Only randomized clinical trials (RCTs), observational case-control studies, and follow-up studies were included.
We retrieved fifty-two studies that met the inclusion criteria. Most selected studies investigated the effects of malnutrition and the Mediterranean diet (MeDiet) on PD incidence and progression. Other investigations contributed evidence on the critical role of microbiota, vitamins, polyphenols, dairy products, coffee, and alcohol intake.
There are still many concerns regarding the association between PD and nutrition, possibly due to underlying genetic and environmental factors. However, there is a body of evidence revealing that correcting malnutrition, gut microbiota, and following the MeDiet reduced the onset of PD and reduced clinical progression. Other factors, such as polyphenols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and coffee intake, can have a potential protective effect. Conversely, milk and its accessory products can increase PD risk. Nutritional intervention is essential for neurologists to improve clinical outcomes and reduce the disease progression of PD.