Written by Kristy Coleman
Look, us mere mortals never really get to find out what is going on in the world of science. Well, not unless it’s (sometimes) sensationalised in the press. So, we wanted to bring you a snapshot of the latest science to whet your appetite to find out more if it’s something that piques your interest. Or simply to keep you all in the “gut world” loop. Remember most of the studies are VERY new science, so keep your critical thinking cap on!
Our report is brought to you by our student research squad who have their ears to the lab floor ground to keep us all informed.
Osteoarthritis affects approximately 22% of the adult population. It is characterised by pain, often leading to disability.
This study was published in Nature Communications on 25 October. It looked at whether there is a link between certain bacteria in the guts of 1427 individuals and osteoarthritic knee pain.
An abundance of Streptococcus in the gut is associated with increased knee pain. Which is driven by inflammation in the knee joint.
This observational study looked at the microbiome composition of 1427 participants (57.5% women) by taking a stool sample. 124 had knee osteoarthritis and 285 reported osteoarthritic knee pain. There was no follow-up.
Some bacteria in your gut produce endotoxins lipopolysaccharide (LPS), elevated LPS is associated with more severe knee osteoarthritis, pain, and inflammation. This study found that an abundance of Streptococcus species in the gut is associated with increased knee pain. Independent of other factors that may contribute to osteoarthritis, such as obesity.
This study only looks at knee joints in a limited population. We need more research on other joints, further follow-up studies, and blood and joint tissue to be examined. In addition, this study does not identify the species or strain of Streptococcus involved in the pain response nor causality, just the association.
This study shows that our gut microbiome composition has the ability to influence other areas of the body, including pain and inflammation of joints.
About the Author
Kristy Coleman is a Nutrition Practitioner, registered with the CNHC and a member of BANT (British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine). Kristy specialises in gut health and runs a private nutritional therapy clinic in London. She provides nutrition workshops, and writes for several health and wellbeing publications.