Meat Eating Link to Inflammation, Worse Gut Health and MS

Could eating less meat help millions of people living with multiple sclerosis?

New scientific evidence to help sufferers of MS

Until now, the leading cause of multiple sclerosis (MS) has been unknown. It’s considered an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, specifically the nervous system. The NHS, the UK National Health Service, states, ‘ Exactly why someone develops multiple sclerosis (MS) isn’t known.

Furthermore, the NHS states, ‘It’s not caused by anything you have done, and it’s not clear whether it can be prevented.’  This could be about to change.

multiple sclerosis
Meat Eating Link to Inflammation, Worse Gut Health and MS 2

Australian scientists have carried out a complex study of 49 people, 25 MS patients, and 24 healthy controls (healthy people). The study’s purpose has been to ‘tease out the exact relationships between diet, immune response, and MS by using advanced multi-OMICS, a biological analysis approach combining multiple datasets.They have found a link between eating meat and having worse MS conditions. The scientists also claim a strong link between eating meat and having poor gut health.


The team hopes to expand its future research to include more people, including those with a more severe form of MS. Eventually, the team ‘hope to understand more of the cause-and-effect between diet, bacterial ecosystems in the gut and immune response, and potentially help prevent or mitigate MS symptoms in people suffering from the disease.’

MS and poor gut health are both terrible afflictions to live with. Although fewer than three million people suffer worldwide, the severity of the condition means it has a massive public health cost. In the US, MS sufferers cost $28 billion annually to support.

MS symptoms that affect both women and men

  • muscle spasms.
  • numbness.
  • balance problems and lack of coordination.
  • difficulty moving arms and legs.
  • unsteady gait and trouble walking.
  • weakness or tremor in one or both arms or legs.

Unhealthy gut symptoms

  • upset stomach
  • feeling constantly tired
  • trouble sleeping
  • food intolerances
  • extreme food cravings, especially sugar
  • sudden weight gain or loss
  • skin rashes

Mayo Clinic, UK based health care providers state ‘Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In MS , the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.’

MS is particularly prevalent in White people, those of Northern European descent, are at highest risk of developing MS . People of Asian, African or Native American descent have the lowest risk.


What happens when you eat too much meat

The scientists analysis linked higher meat consumption to a decrease in the population of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron (most common bacteria found in human gut microbiota) in people’s gut ecology.

When people have decreased Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, they are less affective at digesting carbohydrates from vegetables. This was found across all participants, including the healthy “control” group.

Increased T-helper 17 cells when you eat meat

The study found that when MS patients increase their meat consumption, there is a linked increase in ‘ T-helper 17 cells in the immune system and an increase in S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) in their blood.’


T cells play a key role in the functioning of a healthy immune system. They assist B cells to make antibodies, activate the microbe killing capacity of macrophages, and recruit other immune cells to be infected or inflamed areas of the body. However, in autoimmune conditions and inflammatory disorders, the increased presence of T-Helper cells, which are usually used by the body to fight, have an adverse effect when the body fights against itself.

Eat less meat and have a healthier gut

The discovery of increased T-helper 17 cells and an increase in S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) in the blood when MS patients increase meat consumption has helped the scientists discover what can make MS symptoms worse. Eating more meat creates changes in the blood, immune system, and gut ecology. Whether you are healthy or suffer from MS, Associate Professor Laura Piccio advises that “meat should be eaten in moderation for several reasons including that it is high in saturated fats and that it can promote the production by the gut bacteria of substances with potentially detrimental effects on our health,”

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