The importance of gut health goes beyond avoiding an upset stomach and boosting our immune system. In fact, new research suggests that healthy gut bacteria might be key in reversing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis!
A recent study published in the journal Genome Medicine looked at the gut bacteria from 32 participants with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Samples were collected on two separate occasions about six to 12 months apart. Researchers found that those with those more variety in their gut bacteria experienced improvements with RA symptoms such as joint pain and inflammation.
They noted that gut health is tied to the body’s immune response to fight viruses, infections, and diseases. And healthy gut bacteria can be essential in reducing the negative effects of a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease like RA. “Ultimately, our study reveals that modifying the gut microbiome to enhance clinical outcome may hold promise as a future treatment for rheumatoid arthritis,” senior co-author of the study, Jaeyun Sung, PhD, said in a statement.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans, with 75 percent of RA patients being women. Thankfully, this study gives us more insight on how to lessen and avoid RA symptoms. Plus, it’s a little reminder to maintain good gut health, which isn’t hard to do on a daily basis!
Start with adding more foods such as cocoa, apples, and oats to your diet. These foods are rich in prebiotics, which are compounds that feed gut bacteria to allow them to thrive in your digestive tract. Fermented dairy products including yogurt and kefir are gut-friendly foods that are delicious to eat any time of day. An herb like fresh mint is also a great option because it contains compounds including eriocitrin, luteolin, and hesperidin that relieve inflamed gut tissues caused by bad bacteria (no more tummy aches!).
Probiotic supplements offer another way to nix any harmful gut bacteria while replenishing the beneficial varieties. (Psst: We have a list for the best gut-healing probiotic supplements to eliminate any guesswork.) Just be sure to speak with your doctor before starting a new supplement and to learn more about warding off RA altogether.