Both nature and nurture are probably to blame for multiple sclerosis (MS).

A painful and debilitating autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system, MS has no definitive origin story but involvement of genes and environment are becoming more clear. Clues: Women are more likely to suffer as are denizens of more affluent countries. Researchers are working to decipher the evidence and come up with effective therapies.

One newer area of interest is the gut microbiome.

The International Probiotic Association recently published A Role for Probiotics in Multiple Sclerosis. The article looks at the gut microbiome in MS as well as any evidence for altering the gut microbiome in managing MS.

Here is an excerpt:

One connection to microbes concerns the hygiene hypothesis, whereby little exposure to oral and fecal microbes at an early age predisposes to autoimmune diseases. In support, MS is more prevalent in developed countries where overuse of antibiotics, water chlorination, limited green space, and delivery by cesarean section, have led to changes in the microbiota.

Indeed, people with MS may have altered microbiomes or dysbiosis and increased intestinal permeability as well as other changes. Gut microbiota may contribute to MS pathogenesis by modulating host immunity through the regulation of multiple metabolic pathways. Studies show that dysbiosis leading to low-grade endotoxemia and systemic autoimmune inflammation may be valid also in the pathogenesis of MS.

Don’t miss the entire article.