Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating inflammatory, demyelinating, and autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. MS is characterized by dyskinesia, cognitive impairment, numbness, fatigue, depression, anxiety, vision loss, dizziness, and gastrointestinal dysfunction.

According to a review published in Food & Function, researchers evaluated the efficacy of probiotics in multiple sclerosis.

This systemic review consisted of 22 preclinical animal studies as well as a meta-analysis of three randomized clinical trials including 173 patients with MS. As are result, the patients receiving probiotics demonstrated significant beneficial effects on mental health parameters including the expanded disability status scale scores, Beck depression inventory scores, general health questionnaire scores, and depression anxiety and stress scores.

In addition, the patients receiving the probiotic supplements showed a significant improved insulin resistance (insulin, HOMA-IR, and QUICKI), inflammatory (IL-6, hs-CRP, and NO) and oxidative stress markers (plasma TAC, GSH, and MDA).  

This study is the first meta-analysis to demonstrate a significant difference in mental health parameters (EDSS, BDI, GSH and DASS scores) among those receiving probiotic supplementation.

Preclinical studies have demonstrated that probiotic supplementation decreases the risk and severity of MS, delays MS progression, and improves motor impairment with beneficial alterations of immune and inflammatory markers as well as intestinal microbiome compositions in MS. These results show that probiotics may have beneficial effects on the prevention and treatment of multiple sclerosis.

The gastrointestinal tract is 80% of our immune system. Whenever you have inflammation present, the tight junctions and intestinal mucosa can become damaged compromising the lining of the GI tract. Then toxic byproducts in the digestive tract can be absorbed into the bloodstream forming immune complexes which eventually affect numerous systems throughout the body causing inflammation, food sensitivities and autoimmune disorders.

Gut bacteria has been identified as an important environmental factor in overall health and all autoimmune disease. Patients may need anti-microbials, botanicals, enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics to optimize the gastrointestinal environment. 

All practitioners treating patients with autoimmune disorders should consider a comprehensive digestive stool analysis for these individuals, which modern research supports. There are several other factors that play a role in autoimmunity such as, gluten intolerance, food sensitivities, gastrointestinal infections, hormone imbalances, heavy metal toxicity, and nutrient deficiencies (ie. vitamin D, magnesium, EFAs). These environmental influences filtered through genetic predisposition are fundamental factors in the expression of disease, and a successful treatment approach must include investigation into these factors.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN

Source: Jinchi Jiang, Chuanqi Chu, et al. Efficacy of probiotics in multiple sclerosis: a systematic review of preclinical trials and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Food Funct. 2021 Mar 21;12(6):2354-2377.

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