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Fight Inflammation Caused by MS! Study Shows That a Vegetable-rich Diet Can Help.

November 30, 2017

A recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology called “Immunological and Clinical Effect of Diet Modulation of the Guy Microbiome in Multiple Sclerosis Patients: A Pilot Study” found that a diet rich in vegetables and low in protein can reduce inflammation in MS Patients.

The gut microbiome plays a large role in multiple sclerosis. One’s diet can alter the interactions between the microbiome and the immune system, just as antibiotics do. One study in particular with the established mouse model for MS showed that a low-calorie diet had a positive effect in the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), while a diet high in sodium increased disease severity by increasing the activity of immune cells called Th17 cells.

A team of researchers decided to put this to the test, they studied whether or not MS disease activity could be affected by dietary patterns. The small pilot study conducted included relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients (RRMS) using patients from an MS rehabilitation unit in Milan, Italy.

The participants’ gut microbiome and their immune systems were analyzed at the time they were recruited. Patients followed two different diets for at least one year; a Western diet (WD) and a high vegetable/low-protein diet (HV/LP). There were 10 patients participating in the WD, which researchers said was characterized by the “regular consumption of red meat, processed meat, refined grains, sweetened food, salt and an overall intake of saturated and omega-6 fatty acids.” There were another 10 participants in the HV/LP group.

Patients that followed the HV/LP diet had seen their microbiome become enriched in Lachnospiraceae bacteria and showed a decrease in their pro-inflammatory profile. Lachnospiraceae produces a compound called butyrate which has been found to reduce inflammation and promote immunotolerance. The relapse rate in this group were also significantly reduced during the 12 month follow-up period.

On the other hand, those following the Western diet were found to have an increase in bacteria that belonged to the phylum Euryarchaeota which was found to be associated with a shorter disease relapse rate in pediatric MS patients.
The results of this study support the possibility that a change in diet could be a good tool to use in order to modulate the immune system in an anti-inflammatory way due to changes in the gut microbiota.