How a fibre rich diet and gut bacteria help to prevent arthritis and the loss of bone density
Every adult has approximately 2 kilograms of benign bacteria in their intestines. This bacteria helps digestion by breaking down fibre to be absorbed by the body. A by product of this process are short chained fatty acids (short chain fatty acids provide energy, stimulate intestinal movement and have an anti inflammatory effect). New research published in Nature Communications found that it is not the intestinal bacteria themselves but their metabolites which affect the immune system. This process has a positive effect on autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers found that short chain fatty acids propionate and butyrate formed during the fermentation process by intestinal bacteria are also found in joint fluid and bone marrow, important for the functionality of joints as well as slowing down bone loss by causing a reduction in the number of bone degrading cells.
”We were able to show that a bacteria friendly diet has an anti inflammatory effect as well as a positive effect on bone density,” explained Dr Mario Zaiss from the Department of Medicine 3 - Rheumatology and Immunology at the University of Erlangen, Nuremberg.
NOTE: Nature Communications is a peer reviewed open access scientific journal covering natural sciences, physics, chemistry, Earth sciences and biology.