Researchers are looking at the ability of the gut flora to battle autoimmune diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, a major multiple sclerosis organization is on the hunt for volunteers that will assist in proving it.

Gut flora (also known as gut microbiota, or gastrointestinal microbiota, is the complex ecosystem of microorganisms that reside within the digestive tract. It is very important and essential to the overall well-being of a person.

The intestines contain bacteria that assist in digestion. These bacteria also convey signals or messages to your immune system and form tiny molecules that may assist in proper brain function.

Everyone receives their gut flora at birth. However, after that, the gut flora is mainly influenced by diet and lifestyle. An unhealthy diet and lifestyle results in an unhealthy gut flora.

Experts have concluded that patients suffering from certain diseases usually possess a dissimilar combination of bacteria in the intestines, in comparison to healthy people.

Over 80 autoimmune diseases are present today in which the human body triggers itself. In reaction to an unidentified trigger, your immune system starts developing antibodies that assault your body’s tissues, rather than fight the infection.

Autoimmune diseases affect women more than men, which is why some doctors consider hormones to be an important factor. These diseases are considered by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) as a major health issue. In fact, at least 23 million Americans were estimated to be suffering from these chronic diseases.

The good news is that there is a possible solution.

The Gut Microbe and Autoimmune Diseases

Recently, in one study that has been funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the U.S. Department of Defense and, experts from the University of Iowa and Mayo Clinic determined that the gut microbe is able to assist in treating various autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS).

Although the topic requires further study, this discovery is very interesting and exciting.

The team of experts tested samples of gut microbial from people on a mouse model of MS. It was discovered that a microbe known as prevotella histicola was able to increase a group of cells that battle disease while decreasing two kinds of pro-inflammatory cells.

It has been concluded by the experts that this kind of gut microbe could have a huge role in treating MS. Take note that in MS, the Myelin sheath—an insulation covering brain nerves and the spinal cord—is attacked by the immune system.

Due to this emerging proof, the MS Society is funding the iMSMS (known as the International MS Microbiome Study) today. The research involves scientists from the UK, US, Argentina and Germany.

Stool and blood samples will be collected from 4,000 patients in order to record different microbiota populations. In that way, they could determine the exact species which are neutral, protective, and high risk.

Researches will be assisted by all the information that will be gained from this study. As they examine the possibility of influencing gut microbiota to change the progression of MS and other illnesses that are immune-related.

If you want to know more, visit the National MS Society website.