Gut bacteria and gut health may well lie behind arthritis

Gut health seems linked to arthris

There is arthritis, often occurring after damage to a joint, and there is rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which is known to be strongly influenced by diet. Arthritis is usually located in one place - for example a damaged knee. Whereas Rheumatoid arthritis is usual evident in both hands, or both shoulders.

My friend had RA in both hands. An allergy test linked it to shell fish. He hasn’t eaten them in five years and has totally recovered.

RA is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the finger, wrist, and other joints throughout the body. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissue, such as the membranes that line the joints.

Environmental factors, such as cigarette smoking, diet and stress, are thought to play a role in triggering the disease. Historically, treatments have usually involved medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. That might well be ending.

The gut microbiome has been linked to arthritis in animal studies.

To find out more about the gut microbiome and what you can do TODAY to take control and improve your health read ‘The Secret Source of Your Good Health’.

To confirm the finding that gut health and arthritis were linked, a team of researchers from NYU School of Medicine examined 114 people, some who were healthy, some who had newly diagnosed and untreated rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis (November 5, 2013, eLife online).

The researchers found that 75 per cent of people with arthritis had the bacterium Prevotella copri in their gut microbiome, whereas it was only present in 21 per cent of the healthy group. Further studies showed it was present in only 12 per cent of already treated RA sufferers and 38 per cent of people with psoriatic arthritis.

However, this may not be the only factor.The heightened levels of P. copri linked to reduced levels of other bacteria like Bacteroides, known to play a role in reducing inflammation.

Next the research team, linvestigated DNA samples from the bacteria and showed that specific Prevotella genes correlated with the presence of RA.

A further study was then performed, this time to see if P. copri actually caused inflammation. First the team gave healthy mice a dose of P. copri . Then the mice were given a chemical that caused colitis, which inflames the intestine. The ones with P. copri had far worse inflammation.

 

Ref: Expansion of intestinal Prevotella copri correlates with enhanced susceptibility to arthritis. Elife. 2013 Nov 5;2(0). pii: e01202. doi: 10.7554/eLife.01202.