Healthy Living

The Relationship Between Rheumatoid Arthritis, Probiotics, and the Gut

Probiotics could be used as adjunct therapy in the near future

Probiotics could be used as adjunct therapy in the near future

Many physicians question the validity of the use of probiotics for the treatment of any ailment, much less rheumatoid arthritis.

However, in a 2014 study published in the journal Nutrition, 46 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were divided into two groups. One group received daily supplements containing Lactobacillus casei and the other group received a placebo. After an eight-week period, several markers of inflammation were significantly lower in the probiotic group, leading researchers to state that, although further studies are needed to confirm the results, these conclusions may lead to the use of probiotics as an adjunct therapy for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

“People with inflammatory arthritis have been shown to have inflammation of the intestinal tract, which results in increased intestinal permeability,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Sonya Angelone, nutrition consultant and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This enables certain bacteria to cross the intestinal barrier, get into the bloodstream and trigger an inflammatory response. “Probiotics may be able to help decrease the inflammation associated with increased intestinal permeability,” she says.