What is arthritis?
Simply put, arthritis is swelling, tenderness, or pain in the joints. It can occur in almost any joint in the body, but most frequently affects the wrist, knuckles, hips, knees, ankles, and spine.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the most prevalent forms of the condition. The former involves breakdown of the cartilage tissue that cushions bones, while the latter is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, starting with the lining.
Both are debilitating and all too common. Today, rheumatoid arthritis affects almost 1 in every 50 people in Australia, with osteoarthritis impacting as much as 4 in every 50. These are more than double the rates observed in 1990.
What is the microbiome?
Sometimes referred to as gut flora or gut microbiota, the human microbiome is composed of all the viruses, immune cells, bacteria, fungi, and parasites that live inside the digestive system. Some of these organisms can be harmful, as in the case of toxic strains of E. coli, while others are beneficial, such as the ‘good’ bacteria that assist with breaking down and absorbing nutrients.
It may seem simple, but the truth is the gut microbiome is actually one of the most complex and poorly understood components of the body. Having said that, recent scientific research has shed light on how this system influences everything from blood pressure, to mental health, to ageing.
What’s the link between arthritis and the microbiome?
Many factors can contribute to the development of arthritis, but a growing pool of evidence suggests that the gut may play an important role in initiation and progression of the condition.
In 2020, the US National Library of Medicine published a review examining the link between the gut microbiome and osteoarthritis. They found a strong correlation between the two, with gut dysbiosis (imbalance) pervasive amongst those experiencing joint degeneration. Though the exact mechanism by which the systems interact was not identified, they stated that microbial community shifts induced by antibiotics, a germ-free environment or high-fat diets were important underlying factors in osteoarthritis. Accordingly, strategies to restore microbiome diversity demonstrated efficacy in mitigating degeneration.
Rheumatoid arthritis may have a similar association with gut health according to a 2023 meta-analysis entitled “Relationship between gut microbiota and rheumatoid arthritis: A bibliometric analysis”. After examining 255 original articles and 204 reviews, it determined that “There has been abundant evidence from research on humans and animals that RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and GM (gut microbiota) have a mutual influence on each other”. Among the included studies was a 2014 trial that saw significant improvement in RA disease activity and inflammatory status when participants were given a probiotic (‘good bacteria’) supplement.
So how can we improve microbiome health?
The best way to restore gut health is to not only ingest good bacteria, but to do so in conjunction with prebiotic fibre. This acts as a source of fuel for the probiotic, allowing it to populate and rebalance the gut.
Foods rich in probiotics include yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kimchi, and specialty products. Prebiotic fibre can be found in most fruits and vegetables, including whole grains, bananas, oats, blueberries, onions, chia seeds, and garlic.
Balance Your Gut Microbiome with Biotica
With over 1 billion colony forming units of Bacillus subtilis probiotic, and prebiotic in the form of chicory root, Biotica Water allows you to nourish your gut and maintain the microbiome balance needed to live a long, healthy life.
The unique ingredients in our Bio-Az formula work synergistically to impart maximum benefit. The good bacteria found in each bottle pass through the harsh environment of the stomach unharmed, while the soluble fibre allows them to multiply once they reach the gut.
All Biotica Water products are entirely plant-based, gluten free, allergen free, and sugar free. They’re available in four delicious, all-natural flavours, including Plain, Lemon Myrtle and Yuzu, Cucumber and Mint, and Pomegranate. Can’t decide? Try all four in our new mixed pack!
Explore the delicious sparkling range today, and be sure to peruse our blog for more information.