The Autoimmune Protocol is founded on evidence that gut health is the key to reversing systemic inflammation and autoimmune symptoms.
According to recent research, it turns out that particular microbiome ‘signatures’ in the human gut can be linked to specific autoimmune conditions.
Stick with me: this stuff is important. And medically, it’s paradigm-altering.
What follows are selected quotes from a paper that was published in the January 2015 issue of Arthitis & Rheumatology, called Decreased Bacterial Diversity Characterizes the Altered Gut Microbiota in Patients with Psoriatic Arthritis, Resembling Dysbiosis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease by Dr Jose Scher and 13 other researchers.
This study adds additional scientific research to the mounting anecdotal evidence that Autoimmune Protocol pioneers have been amassing, regarding the connection between gut health and autoimmune. It begins to explore the unique constellations of intestinal bacteria that are associated with different forms of autoimmune disease.
This particular paper focuses on Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) and Psoriasis, two of the interrelated autoimmune conditions that Matthew lives with.
In our ongoing quest to hack Matthew’s health, we constantly seek new information to inform, confirm or disconfirm our observations, hunches & hypotheses. This paper confirms everything we’ve learned through our biohacking to date. It has raised some new research questions for us & could potentially revolutionize standard medical practice for treating autoimmune.
- People with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) have less diversity in the population of organisms in their gut than healthy people, and they lack particular types of of bacteria: specifically, Akkermansia and Ruminococcus.
- People with psoriasis also have reduced diversity in their intestinal microbiome, and the reduction follows a pattern, with maximum variety in healthy people, reduced flora in people with psoriasis alone, and even further reduced diversity in people who, like Matthew, have psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis.
In the words of Dr Scher et al:
“In this study…we have shown, for the first time, that patients with PsA and patients with psoriasis of the skin have decreased diversity in their gut microbiota, mainly due to the lower relative abundance of several taxa.”
In addition to less diverse intestinal flora, researchers have identified a “common gut microbiota signature in patients with psoriasis and patients with PsA.”
“Our studies constitute a novel and comprehensive approach to investigate the symbiotic relationship between gut microbiota and PsA. We have identified several organisms that are virtually absent from PsA patients (i.e., Akkermansia and Ruminococcus).”
“The gut microbiota profile in patients with psoriasis appears to be intermediate, between that of PsA patients and that of healthy subjects, suggesting that there exists a possible continuum in disappearing intestinal taxa through the natural history of the disease.”
A “key question left unanswered by our study is whether patients with current psoriasis of the skin alone will lose certain potentially protective taxa, such as Akkermansia and Ruminococcus, at the time of, or prior to, transition into PsA. This is crucial because, although it is established that 25-30% of patients with psoriasis will develop arthritis over time, there is currently no possible way to predict progression.”
Similar research has previously focused on the constellations of gut flora in people with rheumatoid arthritis. A comparable lack of diversity was found, but with a different signature. “We have previously utilized this same approach to examine the intestinal microbiome in treatment-naive patients with new-onset rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and found that expansion of Prevotella copri was associated with enhanced susceptibility to as yet untreated human RA. This is contrast with our present findings in PsA patients and suggests that there is a distinctive pattern associated with each condition.”
Potential Treatment & Further Study
“These investigations may ultimately lead to novel diagnostic tests and interventions, in the form of probiotics, prebiotics, specific microbiome-derived metabolites or molecular targets, and even bacterial transplant techniques.”
“The role of the gut microbiome in the continuum of psoriasis-PsA parthenogenesis and the associated immune response merits further study.”
What if replacing the missing Akkermansia and Ruminococcus could assist in reversing Psoriatic Arthritis? This would likely not be as simple as repopulating the gut with these bacteria. Favorable gut conditions would probably need to be cultivated to allow these extinct organisms to thrive. And re-population might need to be done through ‘bacterial transplant techniques’ including, perhaps, fecal transplants.
We think these findings could revolutionize medical treatment for autoimmune arthritis (and autoimmune conditions generally).
Find the full Decreased Bacterial Diversity Characterizes the Altered Gut Microbiota in Patients with Psoriatic Arthritis paper here.