This supplement may benefit people with multiple sclerosis, new study finds

Supplementing with probiotics may help ease disability, depression, plus improve the overall health of people with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), a new study has found.

The link between gut bacteria and autoimmune conditions is still emerging, although experts are hopeful that normalising the microbiome in the gut could be a possible treatment. Taking probiotic supplements is a way to add beneficial bacteria to the gut.

Researchers in Iran did a meta-analysis of four previous clinical trials investigating the effects of probiotic supplements in people with MS. Most clinical trials investigating the potential benefits of probiotics for MS have been small and limited, which has meant any positive results could not be deemed conclusive. In a meta-analysis, researchers look at data from a variety of studies, which means conclusions are more meaningful.

The results of the analysis showed that supplementing with probiotics led to a significant decrease in Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores, as well as significant improvements on depression severity, measured by the Beck Depression Inventory-II, plus improvements on the General Health Questionnaire.

“The current meta-analysis found a significant improvement in disease disability, depression, and general health after probiotic supplementation [in] MS patients,” the researchers concluded. They said that the results of the study showed probiotics might be of benefit for some people with MS but did stress the limited nature of their analysis due to the limited data available to them, meaning more research is needed.