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Rheumatoid Arthritis

Updated: Jan 27

 ●      Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a type of arthritis where our immune system attacks our own tissue lining the joints. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting chronic pain at rest, stiffness, swelling and tenderness, fatigue, weight loss and fever.

●      The immune system may be activated years before symptoms appear. Immune cells cause inflammation of inner lining of joint called Synovium. It pushes further into the joint and destroys the cartilage and bone within the joint.

●      The surrounding structures like muscles, ligaments and tendon become weak over time and do not work as well.

●      They are many risk factor that play a major role in this autoimmune chronic inflammatory disease – Age, Sex, Family history, Smoking, Obesity, Lung diseases.

●      Rheumatoid Arthritis can effect other parts of organ like Lung, Heart, Skin, Kidneys, Nerves, Blood Vessels and Muscles. [1]



  Rheumatoid Arthritis – Gut Microbes


● Research indicates that Collinsella aerofaciens, a gut bacterium more common in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, can weaken the intestinal barrier in human cells. Changes in the gut microbiota can precede the onset of RA and are closely related to disease activity afterwards. [2]


● Prevotella copri has been found to be elevated in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis. [3]


● Scientists believed that a gut immune response to S. didolesgii might spread throughout the body. To test this, they gave mice the bacterium orally and watched their immune and physical reactions. The mice developed antibodies and T cells that attacked their joints, causing noticeable swelling. The observed immune changes in the mice extended over time from the gut to various parts of the body. [4]


● The microbes mentioned above are among the common ones associated with the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Ongoing research aims to pinpoint the exact causes of these microbes, with many more likely to be added to the list in the future.


 Microbes shield against Rheumatoid Arthritis


●      Vitamin C (ascorbate) was thought to help prevent arthritis by supporting collagen production, calming the immune system, and reducing inflammation. The breakdown of vitamin C was linked to bacteria like Escherichia coli and Streptococcus bovis. [5]


●      Certain probiotics, like Lactobacillus casei, can greatly reduce the production of substances like interferon gamma (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and interleukin-1β. This helps prevent damage to the joints. [6]


●      Enterococcus is a potential probiotic that has a wide range of inhibitory effects on pathogenic and spoilage bacteria by producing bacteriocins. [7]


Flavorful solutions for Rheumatoid Arthritis


●      Can changing my gut microbiome help my rheumatoid arthritis?

●      Undeniably, but aren’t regulated the same way as medicines. Dietary fibers play a major role, it’s called as prebiotics as they feed good bacteria in gut.

-       Fatty Fish

-       Peas and Beans

-       Bananas

-       Nuts like Hazelnut, Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, Pine Nuts. [8]


Another way to change the microbes is my probiotic foods or supplements like

-       Lactobacillus

-       Bifidobacterium

-       Streptococci

-       Saccharomyces Boulardii

-       Yogurt

-       Kombucha [9]


Steer Clear: Foods to avoid

-       Alcohol

-       Red Meat

-       Added sugars

-       Processed food like baked goods, high in refined grains, fructose.

-       Food high in salt

-       Bacon

-       Smoking [10]



1. NIH, "National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

2. T. Zhao, "Gut microbiota and rhenumatoid arthritis: from pathogensis to novel therapeutic opporunities," 2022.

3. Y. Maeda, "Role of Gut Microbiotaa in Rheumatoid Arthritis," MDPI, 2017.

4.M. E. Chriswell, "Clonal IgA and IgG autoantibodies from individuals at risk for rheumatoid arthritis identify an arthritogenic strain of Subdoligranulum," Science Translational Medicine, vol. 14, 2022.

5.M. C. Yan Zhao, "Hidden link in gut-joint axis: gut microbes promote rheumatoid arthritis at early stage by enhancing ascorbate degradation," 2021.

6.H. Pan, "A single bacterium restores the microbiome dysbiosis to protect bones from destruction in a rat model of rheumatoid arthritis," National Library of Medicine, 2019.

7.H. Hanchi, "The Genus Enterococcus: Between Probiotic Potential and Safety Concerns-An Update," National Library of Medicine , 2018.

8.S. Taylor, "Arthritis Foundation," [Online]. Available:

9. K. K. Morgan, "Gut Health and Rheumatoid Arthritis," webMD.

Writer- Dr. Bhavya Seri 





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