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Gut Bacteria Linked to Onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Scientists are discovering more and more links between gut bacteria and various ailments. One recent study has found that the presence of certain bacteria may be linked to the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

For the study, researchers performed DNA analysis on 114 stool samples from rheumatoid arthritis patients and controls. They performed additional shotgun sequencing on a subset of 44 of those samples.

The researchers found that people who had recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis were more likely to have high levels of the bacteria Prevotella copri (P. copri) than individuals without the disease and those who had had the disease for a long period of time.

More specifically, 75% of the people who were recently diagnosed had P. copri in their stools, compared with 21.4% of healthy participants, 11.5% with chronic rheumatoid arthritis, and 37.5% with psoriatic arthritis.

The researchers are not sure why P. copri levels spike around the time of diagnosis, but they hypothesize that it may be contributing to inflammation in those individuals.

Researchers from the NYU School of Medicine conducted the study. It was published on November 5, 2013, in eLife Journal.

If you’re looking to improve gut bacteria diversity and ward off harmful bacteria like P. copri, the solution can be as easy as taking a probiotic supplement. Having a varied composition of bacteria in your digestive system is essential for good gut health and for good health overall. Previous studies have linked healthy gut bacteria with strengthening the immune system, lowering cholesterol levels and improving digestion and oral health.

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