Diet, Gut Microbiome and Multiple Sclerosis
The gut microbiome aids in immune, endocrine and neural system functions and development. A disruption in the homeostasis of normal intestinal microbiota, known as dysbiosis, can result in changes believed to lead to pathological pathways which may mediate the development and progression of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). When compared with healthy individuals, clinical evidence shows those with autoimmune diseases have distinct microbiota, and those with MS have altered concentrations of specific microbial taxa. Diet is a key modulator of the composition of the gut microbiota and the risk for MS is two-times greater in individuals who are obese during adolescence. Therefore, dietary interventions as a possible therapeutic to modulate the composition of the microbiome and thus reduce the incidence or severity of disease are a crucial next step and could be a breakthrough in the treatment of MS. In this chapter we discuss the most salient experimental and clinical studies that explore diet as a potential avenue to treat this devastating disease. Although promising results arise, further studies are needed to assess the exact mechanism by which the gut microbiota and diet are impacting disease occurrence and progression.