Can Probiotics Treat Multiple Sclerosis?

Can probiotics help treat multiple sclerosis (MS)?

The National MS Society reports on a recent study that looks into the idea that probiotic treatment or parasitic worms, called helminths, may be used to treat MS. It is thought that the fairly harmless parasitic worms could alter immune activity in MS patients.

People in underdeveloped regions of the world experience less autoimmune disease and allergies than those in more developed countries. Interestingly, there are more cases of MS where higher standards of hygiene prevail.

Researchers wonder if early exposure to common infectious agents stimulate the bodyís immune regulation and encourage healthy immune responses. Perhaps a lack of exposure to those infectious agents at a young age causes the overreaction of the immune system that triggers MS and other autoimmune disease like Chronís disease.

In a study supported by the National MS Society, researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, gave subjects a drink containing helminth eggs over a three-month period to determine safety and preliminary impact in treating relapsing/remitting MS.

It sounds like something out of a bad science fiction movie, but the eggs hatch within the body. They mature to the approximate size of an eyelash, then head toward the intestines. Upon reaching the large intestine, the immune system kills them.

With only five participants, the study was admittedly very small. Three of the subjects had mild gastrointestinal symptoms 30 days after the first dose, but the symptoms improved within six days. There was no worsening in neurologic symptoms.

Given the small number of subjects, it is difficult to draw conclusions, but analysis indicated a vigorous immune response. Study authors caution that follow-up studies with more participants are needed, and they do not encourage patients to use these preparations outside of clinical trials. A follow-up study is already underway.

Related Reading: The Scoop on Poop and Probiotics

48 comments

Emefa Dekonor
Emefa Dekonor3 years ago

thank you

Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

jane richmond
jane richmond5 years ago

interesting

Pradip C.
Pradip Chavda5 years ago

Does it mean that Probiotic dairy products available in the shops like yoghurt, ice-creams etc are good for people with MS??

Sharon S.
Sharon S.5 years ago

Children surely get plenty of immune stimulation when they attend a public school. This theory seems lame.

Julia Perry
Julia Perry5 years ago

Thanks but not sure on this one, it is true all our homes are too clean and we need to improve our immune systems, but the rest I'll keep an open mind on.

Helena Plum Bowyer
Helena B.5 years ago

Maybe the moral of the story is that we need our immune systems stimulated naturally for them to develop. I've always wondered why there are so many allergies now and wondered if tha in clean houses it doesn't have much to do and turns in on itself. Also the number of chemicals in the home.
There is also a silk worm derivative which is said to break down scar tissue on the nerve endings of MS patients.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers5 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers5 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Marie W.
Marie W.5 years ago

Wouldn't surprise me.