Probiotic supplements may have clinical and metabolic benefits for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.
After 8 weeks of taking probiotics, patients with RA showed improvement in Disease Activity Score of 28 joints (DAS-28), serum insulin levels, homeostatic model assessment-B cell function (HOMA-B), and serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) concentrations.
The study included 60 patients with RA aged 35 to 70 years. Each participant was randomized to receive probiotic capsules (n=30) or placebo (n=30). Participants in the probiotic group received a once-daily capsule for 8 weeks that contained 3 probiotic strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus (2 × 109 colony-forming units [CFU]/g), Lactobacillus casei (2 x 109 CFU/g), and Bifidobacterium bifidum (2 x 109 CFU/g). Participants in the placebo group received capsules filled with cellulose once-daily for 8 weeks. The researchers took fasting blood samples from participants at the beginning and end of the study period.
Compared with the placebo group, participants in the probiotic group showed improvements in DAS-28 (-0.3 ± 0.4 vs. -0.1 ± 0.4). Participants in the probiotic group also had significant decreases in serum insulin levels (-2.0 ± 4.3 vs. +0.5 ± 4.9 μIU/mL), HOMA-B (-7.5 ± 18.0 vs. +4.3 ± 25.0) and serum hs-CRP concentrations (-6.66 ± 2.56 vs. +3.07 ± 5.53 mg/L) compared with placebo.
Zamani B, Golkar HR, Farshbaf S, et al. Clinical and metabolic response to probiotic supplementation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Int J Rheum Dis. Published online May 2, 2016. doi:10.1111/1756-185X.12888.