Probiotic Dietary supplements Tied to Improved Outcomes in Relapsing Remitting MS

In patients with recurrent multiple sclerosis (RRMS), probiotics supplementation may be associated with slower disability progression, fewer depressive symptoms, and general health improvement, according to 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 such as MS. Researchers believe that a probiotic supplement containing beneficial strains of bacteria could be a way to correct the gut microbiome and aid in MS treatment. Although the effects of probiotics on MS have been studied, most of these studies were small in sample size and short in duration.

The aim of the current study was to analyze pooled data on probiotic supplementation in patients with RRMS in order to draw a more robust conclusion about its impact on clinical outcomes and overall health.

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The meta-analysis comprised 4 English-language clinical studies that included a pooled cohort of 213 patients (mean age range 34–40 years) with RRMS with a mean disease duration between 4.3 and 6.7 years. The researchers also identified a further 6 studies with the same interventions but different results and included these studies in a systematic review.

A total of 106 participants were randomly assigned to a probiotic supplement group, while 107 were randomly assigned to a control. The probiotic content in the meta-analyzed studies included Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus fermentum, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium lactis and Lactobacillus reuteri.

Across studies, the 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 <0.001), Beck Depression Inventory-II (MWMD, -3.22; 95% CI, -4.38 to -2.06; P <0.001) and General Health Questionnaire (WMD, -4.37; 95% CI , -6.43 to.) −2.31; P <.001). In contrast, there were no significant changes in body weight (WMD, 0.16; 95% CI, -3.01-3.33; P = 0.923) and body mass index (WMD, 0.04; 95% CI, -0.92-1.00; P = .939) after probiotic supplementation.

According to the researchers, the small number of studies and their relatively short duration of treatment represent primary limitations of the meta-analysis.

The researchers “encourage doctors and nutritionists to consider the confirmed probiotic supplements for addressing health concerns in MS.”


Mirashrafi S, Hejazi Taghanaki SZ, Sarlak F, et al. Effect of probiotic supplementation on disease progression, depression, general health, and anthropometric measurements in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. Int J Clin Pract. Published online 11 August 2021. doi: 10.1111 / ijcp.14724

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