Trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other organisms live in your digestive system. Collectively known as your gut microbiome, normally these microbes coexist peacefully, working together to support digestion, immunity, and overall health. However, if something such as a dramatic change in diet occurs, it can throw off the balance of the gut microbiome and affect your health, putting you at risk of developing certain diseases — among them, multiple sclerosis (MS).
Studies have consistently found people with MS to have markedly different gut microbiomes from those who don’t have the disease, although what this means for people living with MS isn’t fully understood. Here’s what researchers do know.
The Link Between Gut Health and MS
The relationship between the gut and MS is complex, according to J. William Lindsey, MD, director of the division of multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “It involves interactions between diet, nutritional status, the bacteria in the gut, and the activity of the immune system,” he explains.
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