Can Gut Bacteria Unlock Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Bacteria: “Gut health plays a role in RA” sounds like the title of an episode of Dr. Oz. In fact, an episode discussing just that caused an uproar in online communities for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and its counterpart, juvenile idiopathic arthritis. But strange as it seems, it could be true.
Leaky gut syndrome and other gastrointestinal problems could trigger flare-ups in diseases like RA, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. So achieving microbial balance in the gastrointestinal tract could be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to managing RA symptoms.
In fact, the gut microbiome has been linked to arthritis in various animal studies. Researchers are exploring whether the same is true in humans. A 2013 study by rheumatologists at New York University found that patients with RA were more likely to have the bacteria Prevotella copri in their intestinal tracts than patients without the disease. The findings suggest that this bacterium may somehow trigger the autoimmune response that leads to joint inflammation. However, more research needs to be done to examine the link.
The study also showed that the presence of P. copri corresponded with a loss of healthy microbes in the gut. The loss of these microbes could contribute to other symptoms or related health conditions.
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The bacteria that can be found inside the gut plays a major function in the immune system, providing protection from illnesses people may be unaware of. When this bacteria is out of balance, it can develop complications, such as autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, which have been linked to the presence of harmful microorganisms. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.
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