B Vitamins Target Gut-Brain Axis for Parkinson’s Treatment

by Ella

Researchers from Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan have uncovered a significant link between gut microbiota and Parkinson’s disease (PD). Their study, published in npj Parkinson’s Disease, reveals a deficiency in gut bacteria responsible for synthesizing essential B vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B7 (biotin). This deficiency correlates with decreased levels of agents crucial for maintaining the integrity of the intestinal barrier, which protects against bloodstream toxins and inflammation associated with PD. The findings suggest that supplementing B vitamins could potentially serve as a treatment for PD.

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by physical symptoms such as tremors, slow movement, stiffness, and balance issues, significantly impacting daily life, particularly in individuals aged 55 years and older.


Gut microbiota, the microorganisms residing in the digestive tract, play pivotal roles in various physiological processes. Under optimal conditions, these microbiota produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and polyamines, which bolster the intestinal barrier, preventing harmful toxins from entering the bloodstream. Blood-borne toxins can traverse to the brain, triggering inflammation and affecting neurotransmitter functions critical for mental health.


To delve deeper into the microbial aspects of PD, Hiroshi Nishiwaki and Jun Ueyama conducted a metanalysis using shotgun sequencing of stool samples from PD patients across Japan, the United States, Germany, China, and Taiwan. This technique comprehensively sequences genetic material in samples, providing insights into microbial communities and genetic compositions.


Their analysis identified a notable reduction in bacterial genes responsible for riboflavin and biotin synthesis among PD patients. Riboflavin and biotin, sourced from both diet and gut microbiota, possess anti-inflammatory properties that may counteract neuroinflammation observed in PD.


B vitamins are pivotal in metabolic processes influencing SCFAs and polyamines, which uphold intestinal barrier integrity. Analysis of fecal metabolites indicated diminished levels of these compounds in PD patients.

“These findings offer insights into PD progression,” explained Nishiwaki. “Deficiencies in polyamines and SCFAs could compromise intestinal mucus layers, increasing permeability and exposing nerves to toxins. This exposure contributes to abnormal alpha-synuclein aggregation, activates brain immune cells, and fosters chronic inflammation.”

Nishiwaki further proposed, “Supplementation targeting riboflavin and biotin shows promise as a potential therapy to alleviate PD symptoms and retard disease progression.”

The study underscores the intricate interplay between gut microbiota, metabolic pathways, and neurodegeneration. Future therapeutic approaches could potentially be tailored based on individual microbiome profiles, offering personalized treatment strategies to delay PD symptom onset.

“We envision conducting gut microbiota analyses and fecal metabolite assessments,” Nishiwaki outlined. “These insights could identify individuals with specific deficiencies, enabling targeted oral supplementation of riboflavin and biotin to effectively combat PD.”

This research heralds a prospective avenue for PD treatment, highlighting the evolving role of gut-brain axis studies in understanding and managing neurodegenerative diseases.



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