There is a growing recognition of the role of gut bacteria as a potential factor in MS and its treatment.
Gut microbiota is increasingly being seen an important environmental risk factor for multiple sclerosis, and strategies to correct an imbalance in intestinal flora, also known as microbial dysbiosis, are being encouraged as ways to potentially help in the treatment of MS.
Four research articles published in the last year support the idea that gut microbiota — the ecological community of microorganisms that live in the gut — may play a role in the development of MS.
The first study, “Multiple sclerosis patients have a distinct gut microbiota compared to healthy controls,” published in Scientific Reports, found that people with relapsing-remitting MS have altered fecal microbiota and may have microbial dysbiosis. According to the team of researchers led by Dr. Ashutosh Mangalam, an assistant professor of pathology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, this could be due to factors such as stress, food habits, an overly sterile environment, sunlight, smoking, or certain infections.
“These factors could lead to an increase in harmful bacteria or a decrease in beneficial bacteria,” Mangalam told Neurology Advisor. “Any one of these factors – either alone or in combination – might be the reason for altered microbiota in MS.”
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