An unhealthy gut can increase your risk of arthritis – gut bacteria ‘communicate’ with joints

Arthritis is a painful and potentially debilitating condition that affects millions of Britons. Depending on the type you have, this can cause inflammation and difficulty moving. Although it is usually associated with aging, there are other triggers as well.

For example, osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, can be the result of an injury.

It can also be due to family history and other joint problems such as gout.

One expert says that your risk of arthritis may also be related to your diet and, in particular, the health of your gut microbiome.

The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms living in the intestinal tract.

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Mainly made up of bacteria, it plays a role in the digestion of food as well as the absorption of nutrients.

Shireen Kassam, founder and director of Plant-Based Health Professionals UK, explained: “An area of ​​active research is the role of the gut microbiome in the development of arthritis.

“People living with arthritis tend to have a less healthy gut microbiome than people without it, suggesting that our gut health may be important in preventing arthritis.

“A key determinant of gut health is our diet, and it is possible that a healthy, plant-based diet can restore gut health, thereby reducing inflammation and helping to manage symptoms such as pain.

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“It is interesting to learn that our gut bacteria can communicate directly with our joints through the production of chemicals and the activation of immune cells.

“Not only is a healthy diet rich in fiber important for the gut microbiome, but regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, minimizing stress, and spending time in nature is also important.”

The benefits of a plant-based diet

Mr. Kassam suggested that switching to a plant-based diet could not only help the gut microbiome, but also prevent other diseases.

He said: “People living with arthritis have an increased risk of other chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

READ MORE: Some meats are among the worst foods for the eyes and can cause “profound” vision loss.

“A healthy, plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of these conditions by maintaining a healthier weight, improving blood pressure, and lowering blood lipids.

“In fact, studies have shown that people with the healthiest gut microbiome eat 30 different types of plants per week.

“It’s important to supplement with vitamin B12 if you’re on a 100 percent plant-based diet, and vitamin D if you’re not getting enough sun exposure.”

ZOE Health Study experts suggest eating the following foods to help your gut microbiome:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes
  • whole grains
  • Probiotic fermented foods such as natural yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut.
  • Coffee.

He also recommends avoiding ultra-processed foods and sugary foods.

What Research Says

One study published in Nature Reviews Rheumatology in 2021 examined the link between rheumatoid arthritis and microbes in the intestinal tract.

It states: “Data from mouse models of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and studies of preclinical stages of the disease also support the hypothesis that these changes in the microbiota precede the onset of the disease.

“Furthermore, several therapeutic options widely used for the treatment of RA are associated with changes in the gut microbiota, suggesting that modulation of the gut microbiota and/or intestinal barrier function may be beneficial in preventing or treating RA.”

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