Arthritis: Four habits impacting gut microbiome – which increases your risk and symptoms


Arthritis is a chronic disorder characterised by joint inflammation and pain that can eventually lead to bone and cartilage erosion, joint deformity or loss in mobility. Research suggests diet can impact the inflammation that causes arthritis pain. In fact, a person’s gut microbiome is so powerful it could influence the condition greatly. With this in mind, what are the four factors which impact your gut microbiome and therefore increase your risk of arthritis and symptoms associated?

A new study has found an unlikely indicator regarding whether a person with arthritis may improve their condition or not.

Researchers from Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualised Medicine discovered the answer lays in a person’s gut.

The study found that predicting a patient’s future arthritis prognosis could be possible by zeroing in on the trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi which inhabit one’s gastrointestinal tract, known as the gut microbiome.

Co-senior author of the study, Dr Jaeyun Sung said: “This is the first study to date that uses gut microbiome data to predict clinical improvement in rheumatoid arthritis disease activity independent of the initial measurement of their condition or prior treatment.”

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In the study, researchers performed a precision genomic analysis on stool samples from 32 patients with arthritis.

The team investigated the connection between the gut microbiome and the meaningful changes in clinical disease activity.

Several traits of the gut microbiome were found to be linked and could help with future prognosis.

“By looking at patients’ baseline gut microbiome profiles, we observed significantly different microbiome traits between patients who eventually showed improvement and those who did not,” said Dr John Davis, a clinical rheumatologist at the Mayo Clinic.

Dr Sung added: “Ultimately, our study reveals that modifying the gut microbiome to enhance clinical outcome may hold promise as a future treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

“This could revolutionize how we deliver care to our patients.”


Many factors can disrupt a person’s microbiome.

An inflamed gut can cause problems throughout the body due to inflammatory cells escaping into the bloodstream and travelling to other parts of the body.

According to Dr Jose Scher, a noted authority on the microbiome and director of Psoriatic Arthritis Center, the main factors which worsen your microbiome and increase your risk of arthritis are:

  • Antibiotics
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Certain foods.

The gut microbiome affects overall health. 

An imbalance in the gut microbiome is associated with chronic inflammatory disease, such as arthritis as well as other conditions, such as ulcerative colitis.

The best way to maintain a healthy gut microbiome is to maintain a healthy diet. 

A dietary change can cause a temporary shift in the gut microbiome relatively quickly, but establishing a permanent shift is difficult and uncertain.

People who want to reduce arthritis symptoms are advised to make a long-term commitment to eating a healthy diet that emphasizes plant-based whole foods.


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