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Researchers Show that a Molecule Produced by Gut Bacteria May Help To Regulate Immune Response in MS

March 18, 2020

Researchers in Germany showed that proprionic acid – a short chain fatty acid (a molecule produced by gut bacteria) – is reduced in people with MS and is associated with changes in the composition of gut bacteria (“gut microbiome”). In a 14-day clinical trial, they added proprionic acid supplements to ongoing MS medications in 91 people with MS and showed increases in immune cells called Tregs, which can turn down inflammation. Finally, they looked back at the records of 97 people with MS who had taken proprionic acid supplements for at least one year, and found evidence of reduced relapses and disability progression as compared to 57 who did not take proprionic acid supplementation; no serious adverse events were reported.

This is one of many emerging results that are shedding light on the role of the gut microbiome in MS and other disorders. More studies will help determine potential ways to alter the gut microbiome by diet, supplements, or other means in a way that may prove beneficial for people with MS.

Read more from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Read the scientific summary of the paper in Cell
 

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Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. There is currently no cure for MS. Symptoms vary from person to person and range from numbness and tingling, to mobility challenges, blindness and paralysis. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.

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