publish date 2022-02-02 09:16:28
After the darling of millions has already taken some serious scientific blows in recent years, a new study has found a link between meat consumption and symptoms of a serious neurological disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.
In recent years, we have come to see meat as a controversial food choice. Despite its high protein and vitamin B12 content, meat has also been repeatedly shown to contribute to high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Now a new study hammers another nail in the meat coffin – its researchers report an increased risk of multiple sclerosis among meat eaters, compared to vegetarians.
This is a relatively small study, in which researchers from Washington and Connecticut collaborated and found changes in the composition of the gut bacteria (microbiome) known to affect the immune system, and between multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease, according to healthy.walla.
An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the body actually attacks itself, when the immune system mistakenly recognizes an agent in the body as foreign or hostile and acts against it.
In the case of multiple sclerosis, the immune system attacks the nervous system, brain and spine. The damage causes nerves to stop working or malfunction.
Patients are left with limited functionality that can include difficulty with mobility and visual impairment.
The researchers hypothesize that changes in the composition of the gut bacteria, associated with eating meat, initiate a chain reaction that contributes to the formation or exacerbation of this medical condition.
It is not yet known what exactly stimulates the immune system and causes it to attack nerves.
But there are studies that have found a link between the microbiome and nearly every possible function, from breaking down the food we eat and preventing infection to boosting the immune system.
In their study – which they claim is the first of its kind – researchers from the University of Connecticut and the University of Washington analyzed the composition of the microbiome, immune system, nutrition and blood tests of 25 patients with multiple sclerosis.
The researchers then compared the data collected against identical criteria from 24 healthy people, which served as the control group.
Research author Dr. Yangyao Zhou said she and her colleagues “discovered the relationship between levels of certain bacteria and multiple sclerosis and its severity.”
“What’s really interesting is how these systems are intertwined and how nutrition affects that relationship,” Zhou said.
The analysis found that people who ate meat had lower levels of bacteria associated with the digestion of vegetables (the thiothomicron bacteria).
They also found that MS patients consumed more meat, which led them to hypothesize that there is a link between diet and disease.
Moreover, blood samples from patients with sclerosis showed higher levels of T-helper 17 immune cells, whose function is to help other T cells identify targets for attack.
The combination of results led the researchers to suspect that some disorders may occur in patients with multiple sclerosis, which lead to the separation of these cells from the immune system and then react as if there was an infection attacking the body.
As a result, the body increases production of 17 T-helper cells, which researchers believe cause the nerve damage that characterizes sclerosis.
Dr. Laura Picchio, one of the researchers, said, “This is the first study that uses an integrated approach to analyze the interaction between nutrition, microbiome, immune system and metabolism and their contribution to the formation and course of disease in MS. It provides a new paradigm for future scientific examination that looks not just at a single factor. , but in the complex interactions between several factors.”
With their study published in the journal EBioMedicine, the researchers said they intend to expand and deepen their work to a broader sample, which will also include more serious patients with multiple sclerosis.
They hope the study will lead to new insights into the relationship between nutrition, gut bacteria, and immune responses that can prevent and relieve sclerosis symptoms.
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