One of the most important things you can do for your gut is feed is good bacteria! Probiotics are beneficial bacteria whose primary goal is to have a positive effect on the digestive & immune system. These simple benefits have led to more studies on the effects of good bacteria, which have come back with some impressive results.
The Mayo Clinic and the University of Iowa recently worked together on one of these studies. The two entities combined to study the effects of three different bacteria when used outside the digestive system. At this point, only one, Prevotella histicola, has been found to have a use outside of the gut, but it is massive. The disease the doctors focused on studying outside of the digestive system was Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
The study showed that Prevotella histicola worked with reducing inflammation. It would reduce the inflammation that harms parts of the brain. It also showed that the myelin sheath, which is a membrane that helps protect nerve cells and a lack of it can lead to MS, saw less destruction with the help of the bacteria. Prevotella histicola also brought in important cells that are used in fighting diseases.
The researchers at the Mayo Clinic and UI show that good gut bacteria can help fight and ward off Multiple Sclerosis. While the exact cause of the disease is not yet known, the study showed that this bacteria combats several problems associated with the disease. Dr. Ashutosh Mangalam of UI stated, “our research suggests that Prevotella has the ability to promote special kinds of immune cells, which can suppress disease-causing cells in MS. We think Prevotella boost our body’s defense system by promoting immune cells responsible for keeping other MS-causing immune reactions in check.”
Dr. Mangalam and his team are not the only ones to have found the need for positive gut bacteria when trying to counteract MS. Teams from the University of California, San Francisco and the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Germany administered similar tests. UC-San Francisco compared bacteria between groups of people with MS and those without. The participants without MS averaged four times more of the bacterial group of Parabacteroides than those with the disease.
The group in Germany found similar patterns. As stated earlier, brain inflammation is a major problem in Multiple Sclerosis. MS restricts the communication between nerves in the brain, and the researchers from the Planck Institute found that the good bacteria helped reduce the inflammation.
Sergio Baranzani led the research at UC-San Francisco. He hopes that one day these studies will be able to lead to treatments and possibly a cure. While he believes that it is “still too early to think about that.” the statement does lead to something extremely important. These studies show the importance of good bacteria. Those battling the disease and those at risk, need to make sure their bodies have adequate amounts of these specific bacterial strains. While a cure for MS may not lie solely in these bacteria, it is a large piece of the puzzle that highlights just how important gut health really is at preventing and reversing chronic disease.