A new Canadian study out of Toronto suggests that exposure to gut microbes affects sex hormones, with ‘potent effects’ on autoimmune diseases. While this was just a study on mice, it highlights how important the bacteria that live on and within us are in living a healthy life.
Since many autoimmune diseases (such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus) are more prevalent in women, the researchers chose to study female mice, and a strain of mice that's known to develop autoimmune diseases due to genetics. In fact, in the study, more than 85% of female mice developed autoimmune diabetes (type I diabetes).
However, when exposed to normal gut microbes--from male mice--early in life, only 25% of the females developed the disease.
“Our findings suggest potential strategies for using normal gut bacteria to block progression of insulin-dependent diabetes in kids who have high genetic risk,” suggested the lead researcher.
Surprisingly, an unexpected finding was that the gut microbes increased levels of testosterone, and this was suggested as the reason why the microbes were essential in protecting against the autoimmune diabetes. A logical extrapolation would also suggest that perhaps this is one factor in why autoimmune diseases are more prevalent in women.
There's a lot of great studies on our microbiome that have been recently published. If you don't subscribe and/or haven't read other recent studies, click HERE for some enlightenment.
Source: Sex Differences in the Gut Microbiome Drive Hormone-Dependent Regulation of Autoimmunity
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