Dietary fiber alleviates chronic inflammatory joint diseases
Researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) found that a high-fiber diet can have a positive effect on the course of the disease of chronic inflammatory joint diseases and can strengthen the bones.
The researchers were able to show that it is not the intestinal bacteria themselves, but their metabolites that influence the immune system and thus also have an effect on autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is still unclear how the communication between intestinal bacteria and the immune system works and how the bacteria could possibly be influenced positively.
The researchers focus on the short-chain fatty acids propionate and butyrate, which are formed during fermentation processes in the intestinal bacteria. These fatty acids can be found in the synovial fluid, among other things, and it is believed that they have an important influence on the proper functioning of the joints.
The scientists were able to show that a healthy, high-fiber diet changes the intestinal flora so that more short-chain fatty acids, especially propionate, are formed. They were able to demonstrate an increased concentration of the short-chain fatty acid, among other things, in the bone marrow, where the propionate caused the number of bone-degrading cells to decrease, which also significantly slowed the bone loss.
"We were able to show that a bacteria-friendly diet is anti-inflammatory and at the same time has a positive effect on bone strength," summarize the study authors. The findings would provide a promising approach for the development of innovative therapies for inflammatory joint diseases and for the treatment of osteoporosis.