Probiotics could help people with autoimmune diseases – Innovita Research

Millions of people around the world are suffering from autoimmune diseases. It is conditions when immune system mistakenly attacks body’s healthy cells. Think Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Now scientists from Victoria University in Australia found that  a common probiotic could help people with autoimmune diseases by reducing inflammation in immune cells.

Yogurt is filled with probiotics, which are good for you microbiome. Image credit: Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

You know what probiotics are. It is compounds, commonly found in yoghurt, cheese, and other dairy products, that can aid adding good bacteria to a person’s microbiome. What you might not know is that person’s microbiome – those trillions of microorganisms living in the gastrointestinal tract – are very active in body’s immune response. Scientists believe that microbiome is also a piece of the puzzle of autoimmune diseases. In other words, by helping person’s microbiome, we can help regulate the immune response so that immune cells would stop attacking body’s healthy cells.

Two separate studies have found that Streptococcus thermophiles (ST285), a common dairy probiotic, is able to alleviate symptoms of those living with MS and other autoimmune disorders, because it suppresses inflammatory processes in cells. In other words, it could slow down the progression of autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, scientists found that this probiotic can help restoring normal immune function.

Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos, one of the researchers, said: “While we have long known that probiotics have therapeutic potential, ST285 shows particular promise for treating chronic autoimmune conditions”.

However, there is still a long way to go before these results can be confirmed. So far scientists only experimented with mice – human trials are still ahead. On the other hand, these probiotics are healthy – people with autoimmune diseases can try including more of them in their diet.

MS affects more than two million people worldwide. This disease  destroys the fatty substance (myelin) that coats and protects nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord, disturbing the normal function of the central nervous system. People with MS eventually start having problems with their motor function and can become completely dependent on their caretakers. MS, of course, is incurable disease, although there are some medications that can slow down the progression of this condition.

Autoimmune diseases are incurable. But, hopefully, studies like this can help people living with these conditions. Especially because probiotics are common and you need no prescriptions to include them into your daily diet.


Source: Victoria University