In patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), probiotic supplementation may be associated with slower progression of disability, reduction in depressive symptoms, and improvements in general health, according to the results of a meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.
Previous research has theorized that an imbalance in the gut microbiome can trigger autoimmune diseases like MS. Researchers believe that supplementing with probiotics, which contains strains of beneficial bacteria, may be a way to correct the gut microbiome and aid in the treatment of MS. Although the effect of probiotics on MS has been studied in the past, most of these studies have involved a small sample size and for a short period of time.
The objective of the present study was to analyze the pooled data on probiotic supplementation in patients with RRMS in order to draw a more robust conclusion about its effect on clinical outcomes and general health.
The meta-analysis included 4 clinical trials in English that included a pooled cohort of 213 patients (average age, 34-40 years) with RRMS with an average disease duration between 4.3 and 6 ,7 years. The researchers also identified 6 other studies that had the same interventions but different results and included these trials in a systematic review.
A total of 106 participants were randomly assigned to a probiotic supplementation group, while 107 were randomly assigned to a control. Probiotic content in included meta-analyzed studies Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus fermentum, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Lactobacillus reuteri, among several other bacteria.
In all studies, researchers found significant improvements after probiotic supplementation in the expanded disability status scale (weighted mean difference [WMD], -0.43; 95% CI: -0.65 to -0.20; P <.001 beck depression inventory-ii ci to>P P <.001 in contrast there was no significant change body weight ci to>P = 0.923) and body mass index (ADM, 0.04; 95% CI, -0.92 to 1.00; P = .939) after probiotic supplementation.
According to the researchers, the small number of trials as well as their relatively short treatment times represent the main limitations of the meta-analysis.
The researchers “recommend that doctors and dieticians consider probiotic supplements proven to manage the health problems associated with MS.”
Mirashrafi S, Hejazi Taghanaki SZ, Sarlak F, et al. Effect of probiotic supplementation on disease progression, depression, general health, and anthropometric measures in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Int J Clin Pract. Published online August 11, 2021. doi: 10.1111 / ijcp.14724