Probiotics in Multiple Sclerosis

One of the things I love about probiotics is their reach. Probiotics show promise in many chronic diseases which are linked with inflammatory changes.

Now a particularly tough and unpredictable disease may soon find some relief with probiotics.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS); it damages the communication between nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. These signals run along axons which are insulated by myelin. In MS, this protective coating is attacked by the body’s own immune system. This triggers inflammatory response.
Progress has been made over the past decade, but much needs to be done in slowing or even preventing progression.

This is where probiotics may help in MS.

Probiotics, including lactobacilli, are already known to affect inflammatory bowel diseases and allergic disorders. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden wondered how probiotics may figure in MS.

Mice with an animal equivalent of MS were used. Five strains of probiotics were chosen: (two strains of Lactobacillus (L) paracasei, two strains of L. plantarum and the traditional yogurt bacterium L. delbrueckii, subsp. bulgaricus). Since new research shows that sometimes a certain strain works best when it has a partner or two, the scientists tried different combos on the mice.

It worked: teamwork got the job done.

None of the strains alone were helpful, but the mixture of the three lactobacilli strains suppressed the progression and reversed the clinical and histological (tissue) signs of disease in mice.

The three strains in the “Lacto-mix” were: L. paracasei DSM 13434, L. plantarum DSM 15312 and L. plantarum DSM 15313.

This is an exciting advance. Of course humans weren’t tested, so that will be a next step. Still, the Lacto-mix has a nice superhero ring to it, especially for people suffering with this debilitating disease.