Gut Microbiota Seen to Differ in People with Relapsing MS, Especially Those with Active Disease

Click here to receive MS news via e-mail
gut micro biome and MS

Fecal samples from a group of people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) showed evidence of a different gut microbiota than that found in healthy controls, and may be a non-genetic reason for the altered immune system responses seen in MS patients. The study, “Multiple sclerosis patients have a distinct gut microbiota compared to healthy controls,” was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Both genetic and environmental factors are known to play a role in MS. Recent studies suggest that gut microbiota, the complex community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract, are a key environmental factor for MS.

Researchers here investigated whether the gut microbiome differs in patients with relapsing MS, particularly, when compared to age- and gender-matched people serving as controls. The scientists analyzed microbial DNA extracted from fecal samples from 31 RRMS patients and 36 healthy people using DNA sequencing.

They observed that RRMS patients carry a distinct fecal microbiome when compared to the controls: specifically, they detected an increased abundance of microbes belonging to the Pseudomonas, Mycoplana, Haemophilus, Blautia, and Dorea genera in MS patients, while controls showed higher levels of Parabacteroides, Adlercreutzia and Prevotella genera.

Previous studies have linked some of the most frequent type of bacteria now identified in MS patients to inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, researchers noted that further studies with larger patient cohorts are needed to define the role of the gut microbiota abundant in MS patients.

Notably, in this study, RRMS patients with active disease showed a reduced richness in microbial species when compared to patients in remission and to controls. This suggests that less diverse microbial communities may lead to disease exacerbation.

Overall, results support the hypothesis that MS patients indeed have a gut microbial imbalance (dysbiosis), and  Additionally, suggest that gut microbiota is a potential environmental factor triggering disease progression in genetically susceptible individuals.

Larger studies, with detailed and controlled time for sample collection and analysis, are required to more fully investigate the functional changes in the intestinal microbiota and understand how gut microbiota may exacerbate abnormal immune responses, leading to inflammatory diseases like RRMS.

Click here to receive MS news via e-mail


  1. Ana Ion says:

    Good job, Patricia! I think you are definitely on to something. Every time I had an attack, I was having problems with my digestive system. I had a 10 yr pause/remission in between 2 periods of active disease. Now, I am back to being fine. I have never been on medication.

  2. polinezia1 says:

    Is there a specific diet to keep this under control? Things to avoid maybe? Or how can patients make use of this information until further research.

  3. FC says:

    One diet one may try is Terry Wahls paleo-like diet. I know many people get good results from that kind of diet, weather they have MS, diabetes or reumatism.

    I too think the area of the microbiome and its effect on the body can be hot topic in the future (if it already isn’t).

  4. Sam says:

    Encouraging to hear that this is being looked into. I hear so many stories of how adjusting diets has really helped people with their MS and the same has been for me. Remarkably so. The Best Bet Diet is the one I have used with most success. I have also found eating fermented food with it’s probiotics helpful at calming my gut if ever I slip up. Saurkraut is good, just make sure no vinegar is used otherwise it won’t have probiotic properties.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *