You have an autoimmune disease
Because of your gut’s connections to the immune system, autoimmune disease, in which your body attacks itself, has also been linked to an unhealthy microbiome. “Research has indicated that abnormal levels and/or species of gut microbiota are also suspect in causing or contributing to some autoimmune diseases – studies have shown links to type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and lupus,” Dr Angle says. “A possible mechanism suggested for MS is that certain species of bacteria produce biochemicals that directly affect the T-cells in the immune system, perhaps triggering demyelination [loss of the insulation around the nerves].”
You have joint pain
Among the secrets pain doctors won’t tell you: Your joint pain may be affected by the type of bacteria living in your gut. “Gut dysbiosis [imbalance] is implicated in the development of chronic inflammatory diseases” that cause joint pain, Dr Angle says. “Different specific changes in the microbiome have been linked to rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthritis.” It is not yet clear if these changes are present before the diseases manifest or as a result of the disease, she says. “However, they make a good case for maintaining optimal gut function as a long-term preventative measure.”
You’re allergic to everything
Allergies are on the rise – and you’re likely at risk. One theory behind why so many more of us are prone to allergies and asthma is that our gut microbiomes have been altered in the past couple of generations, likely due to diet changes and antibiotic use, according to 2017 research published in the Journal of Immunology. And this increased likelihood of allergies and asthma may start soon after birth – 2016 research in Nature Medicine found that specific microbes in babies’ guts predicted a higher risk of allergies by age 2 and asthma by age 4.
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