Researchers at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany have discovered that a high-fiber diet can positively influence the course of chronic inflammatory joint disease and can strengthen bones.
The researchers were able to show that it is not the intestinal bacteria themselves, but their metabolites that affect the immune system and thus increase the risk of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is still unclear how the understanding between intestinal bacteria and the immune system works and how, if necessary, the bacteria could be positively influenced.
The focus of the researchers is the short-chain fatty acids propionate and butyrate, which are formed within fermentation processes of the intestinal bacteria. Among other things, these fatty acids are found in the synovial fluid and are believed to have an important influence on the functioning of the joints.
The scientists were able to show that a healthy, fiber-rich diet changes the intestinal flora so that more short-chain fatty acids, especially propionate, are formed. They were able to detect an increased concentration of short-chain fatty acid, among others in the bone marrow, where the propionate caused the number of bone-degrading cells to decrease and thus significantly slowed 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,” the study’s authors conclude. The findings provide a promising approach for the development of innovative therapies for inflammatory joint disease and for the treatment of osteoporosis .