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Am New Research Suggests Autoimmune Diseases Are Created By Bacterium In The Gut

New Research Suggests Autoimmune Diseases Are Created By Bacterium In The Gut

We’ve talked about the likely cause of autoimmune diseases here for a long time. And one that seems to come up time and time again is the human biome and how bacterium in the gut is likely the cause of many autoimmune diseases out there. Since these diseases are so new to medical attention and so mysterious in each person, it’s been difficult for scientists and medical experts to get a good grasp on just why people get sick with these diseases. It seems like there are always more questions than answers about many of the diseases, and that can be a bit overwhelming when you’re diagnosed with one of these diseases.

In March 2018, a research group at Yale University released a study specifically looking at how the gut affects autoimmune diseases. The group wanted to take a deeper look at one of the many theories about where these illnesses come from – the gut. These researchers were able to find some reasons to believe that bacteria hanging out in the gut can move to other parts of the body and create these chronic diseases.

Here’s what we know about the latest research done on the human biome and the gut.

What kind of research was done in this study?
Like many early-stage medical studies, this one was first used on mice in a lab. These mice were basically engineered to be susceptible to an these harmful diseases. (Poor mouse, am I right?) The group of researchers then specifically studied the gut of the mice to see what was happening to make them get an autoimmune disease.

What were the results?
These researchers did find that a bacteria in the gut called Enterococcus gallinarum (if that is of any interest to you to know exactly what it’s called) is linked to harmful reactions in the body. They found that when these kinds of bacteria leave the gut, they travel to other organs, such as the spleen, liver or lymph nodes.

When these organs come into contact with the bacteria, the body begins believing the organ is sick. Then it becomes attacking these otherwise healthy tissues. As we know, this is how an autoimmune disease is created.

What does this mean for those of us who have an autoimmune disease?
The researchers in this study claim that not only were they able to find the cause of these diseases, they were also able to find ways to reduce autoimmune symptoms in their studies.

Now that researchers have confidently discovered this cause of these illnesses, we can hope that this will get us closer to finding ways to stop harmful bacteria from leaving the gut and entering other places in our bodies. We’d really like to think that once many experts in the medical fiend can agree on the cause, they will be able to create solutions.

This certainly doesn’t mean it’s an end of all autoimmune diseases. There are still so many kinds of diseases and so many differences between them. But this is a very positive step toward experts coming up with ways to treat at least some of the diseases that we see today.

If you are interested in reading more about this research, there are some great articles at GEN News and Reliawire.

It’s important to remember that every study does that creates some kind of new information or result is a step in the right direction for all of us. It may take many more studies and a lot more time, but hopefully someday we will have medications, treatments and (dare I say it?) cures for many of the diseases that we’re currently battling on a day-to-day basis. We’d love to believe that at some point in the future, having an autoimmune disease won’t be nearly as life changing and mysterious as it is today. Maybe, just maybe, this study is the start of that.


About the Author
Katie Cleary is founder of  She lives with her autoimmune conditions and her family in Austin, Texas.

This blog post was originally published by, written by Katie Cleary, and first published on Apr 13, 2018.

This post contains the opinions of the author. Autoimmune Association is not a medical practice and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is your responsibility to seek diagnosis, treatment, and advice from qualified providers based on your condition and particular circumstances. Autoimmune Association does not endorse nor recommend any products, practices, treatment methods, tests, physicians, service providers, procedures, clinical trials, opinions or information available on this website. Your use of the website is subject to our Privacy Policy.

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