By now most of us know that our intestinal system is home to trillions of bacteria busy doing their job populating their ecosystem in the lining of out intestines. Collectively they are called the gut microbiome or gut flora. The beneficial bacteria in the gut have names that we see on the list of ingredients in a good yogurt such as lactobacillus acidophilus. These bacteria help maintain a consistent environment, protect the body from foreign invaders, communicate with the immune system and the brain.
The gut microbiome is complex and gut imbalances have been implicated in the development of RA as in other inflammatory diseases. “Larger-than-normal populations of specific gut bacteria may trigger the development of diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and possibly fuel disease progression in people genetically predisposed to this crippling and confounding condition,” according to Mayo Clinic Researchers.
An imbalance in the gut microbiome coupled with a genetic predisposition to RA may be the initiating factor in the RA disease process. There is a lot of research being done. Using probiotics medically as therapy for RA is a ways off, but a probiotic supplement is a reality for today.
Fermented foods are excellent for the intestinal flora. Fresh sauerkraut, good quality yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour pickles, pickled beets are good examples. Commercial preparations such as, NOW’s Probiotic-10 25 Billion is what I use. I may not be able to undo my RA, but I should be able to help my body by improving the microbiome in my intestinal flora.