Hippocrates once said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Lately, that statement has been more popular than ever as doctors remind patients to protect their gut health. The technical name for the gut is the “microbiome,” or the collection of microorganisms that live in your intestinal tract. Research has shown that your gut microbiome can determine the state of your overall health. A recent study has shown that the gut microbiome could be related to fibromyalgia, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes pain and fatigue.
The study was published online by a team of researchers from Montreal. They collected top scientists from McGill University, the University of Montreal, and the Research Institute at McGill Health Center.
The Study’s Key Findings
One of the study’s key findings was that a fibromyalgia patient’s pain varied depending on the amount of certain bacteria found in their gut. The research team says this is the first finding of its kind. There were more than ten different gut microbiomes present in people with fibromyalgia as compared to a group of healthy people.
The scientists did point out, however, that just because these bacteria are present in fibromyalgia patients, does not necessarily mean that they cause the disease. While they might not cause fibromyalgia, these gut microorganisms may serve as a new “marker” for the disease. Doctors in the future could know if a patient has the disease based on the presence of these microbiomes.
The team believes more research will be needed in the future to know for sure if the bacteria in the gut cause the disease or if they are just markers for it. They do believe that these findings will be a breakthrough in its diagnosis, though. If doctors can find the exact combination of bacteria that is present in fibromyalgia, they can diagnose it immediately. Currently, it can take up to five years to get a diagnosis of the disease. Earlier detection can make treating it much easier for the patient, which will greatly improve their quality of life.
The study was performed with a small sample size. The patients were all from the Montreal area. Roughly 75 people with fibromyalgia and 75 people without fibromyalgia were examined. Many of the participants were biologically related to each other. The leader of the study, Dr. Amir Minerbi, said the researchers used multiple techniques in identifying the gut microbiomes present. One such technique was artificial intelligence (AI), which confirmed that the change in the microorganisms was not due to other variables like diet, age, or medication. This was important because it established the concrete correlation between the specific microbiomes and the fibromyalgia disease.
Minerbi said the next step at this point is still to do more research. The research is still in its early days, and much more follow up is needed to learn more about the connection. According to Minerbi, the next aspiration is to repeat the study with a larger sample size and with people from a different part of the world. He also believes some other animal studies could possibly reveal a causal link between the microorganisms and the symptoms of fibromyalgia. It’s clear that we do not understand everything about this link yet, and more research needs to be done.