Whole-Foods Diet May Protect Against Leaky Gut And Multiple Sclerosis Progression

Maureen Newman | Inflammatory Bowel Disease News Today | October 7, 2014

A decade ago, Shahram Lavasani, PhD, from Lund University in Sweden, was hard-pressed to find fellow scientists who agreed “leaky gut syndrome” could play a role in multiple sclerosis. “Back then, the scientists and professionals did not believe in involvement of the gastrointestinal tract in development of ‘extraintestinal’ autoimmune disease,” said Dr. Lavasani in a news article on Healthline.  

While there is no solid evidence leaky gut syndrome — which refers to an increased permeability of the intestines that allows toxins, microbes, and other substances to cross the intestinal membrane into the body cavity — causes multiple sclerosis, the theory of a possible association is gaining popularity. Dr. Lavasani and his team of fellow scientists became believers when they noticed a positive benefit of probiotic bacteria on protecting against multiple sclerosis. They were further motivated to investigate how leaky gut is involved in multiple sclerosis rather than focus on more “natural” diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Writing in the journal PLOS One, Dr. Lavasani and co-authors Mehrnaz Nouri, Anders Bredberg, and Björn Weström induced multiple sclerosis in mice via the typical experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis method. Following disease induction, the team analyzed intestinal permeability and morphology and found intestinal manifestations even before neurological symptoms appeared. There was also an increase in inflammatory T-cells, which become more prevalent in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis...