Your belly aches... you're doubled over with cramps... and you're dashing to the toilet yet again.
When you've got inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) -- whether it's ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease -- the "inferno" raging in your gut makes life downright miserable.
And unfortunately, those "flames" aren't confined to the space below your navel.
We know that inflammation in your gut can ramp up inflammation elsewhere in your body, upping your risk of heart attacks... high blood pressure... and even diabetes .
But according to a new study, that blaze may also spread to your BRAIN -- because having IBD increases the chances that you'll develop Parkinson's down the line.
In the study, Danish researchers followed a group of over 76,000 folks diagnosed with IBD, as well as a healthy control group without IBD, for nearly 40 years.
By the end of the study, it turned out that those with IBD were 22 percent MORE likely to have developed Parkinson's than those without this gut-wrenching disease.
And when the researchers zeroed in on those with ulcerative colitis in particular, they found a 35 percent greater risk of Parkinson's among this IBD subgroup than among the healthy controls.
Now, the study didn't determine precisely how IBD makes you more vulnerable to Parkinson's. But we know from previous studies that chronic inflammation in your central nervous system is a hallmark of Parkinson's .
So, one theory is that when you've got IBD, the "flames" in your gut may travel to your brain via what's known as the "gut-brain axis."
Another theory has to do with the millions of bugs that live in your belly, a.k.a. your microbiome.
Previous studies have shown that having a healthy balance of flora in your gut PROTECTS against Parkinson's -- because these good gut bugs can trigger an immune response that discards damaged brain cells and preserves healthy ones .
But in IBD, certain bad actors -- like harmful bacteria and fungi -- gain a foothold and dominate, crowding out the beneficial bugs that support your immune function.
What's more, your gut is also your first line of defense against toxins that sneak into your body through food and water. An unhealthy, "leaky" gut can allow those toxins into your bloodstream, where they can hitch a ride to your gray matter, setting off Parkinson's.
So, if you've got IBD, you want to do everything you can to rein in inflammation and balance your gut.
Switching to the Paleo (a.k.a. "caveman") diet will eliminate the sugars, grains, and processed foods that are known to kick up inflammatory processes in your body.
And eating fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, along with taking probiotic supplements, can help beef up your good belly bugs.
You'll not only slash your risk of Parkinson's... you'll also have way fewer IBD flare-ups.