by Dr. Victor Marchione
July 17, 2014
from NaturalBlaze Website

Spanish version




Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years.

Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine.

He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The Food Doctor newsletter.

Dr. Marchione has also served as Principal Investigator in at least a dozen clinical research projects relating to serious ailments such as bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).







Did you know that the key to relieving the terrible pain of rheumatoid arthritis may lie… in your stomach?

Inside every single human on the planet - including you - there is a community of millions residing. It's called your microbiome, and it's made up of millions of tiny bacteria that work to help keep your body functioning. In fact, these little creatures are so abundant that they outnumber your cells by about 10 to one.

These bacteria largely live in your gut and serve a number of purposes that help your body function properly. We're getting to know the microbiome a little more, but for the most part, it is largely misunderstood.

But here's what I can tell you from what we know so far…

We know that these bacteria are largely good bacteria and that they live comfortably and amicably. They help to break down food, absorb nutrients, expend energy, and remove waste. They also aid in combating foreign intruders, so you stay healthy.


After all, there are even more bacteria living outside you - on every surface - that can make you sick. When one of these types of bacteria gets inside of you, your microbiome kills it. Your microbiome plays a major role in your immune system, constantly providing protection from illness of which you're likely unaware.

Your microbiome is largely determined by genetics, but it can be altered through diet and other lifestyle and environmental factors. Therefore, it is in flux depending on how you live. When you eat poorly, smoke, get older, have a hormonal imbalance, or get infected, your microbiome changes.


An imbalance is created, and this can cause a number of problems. One of which may be rheumatoid arthritis.

I recently read about this research team who did some tests on patients to take a look at their microbiomes. They examined fecal matter from patients who fell into the following three groups: those who were healthy; those who had chronic, treated rheumatoid arthritis; or those who had just been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

What they found was that patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis had a substantially higher number of a bacteria strain called Prevotella copri (P. copri) compared to the healthy individuals and patients with chronic, treated rheumatoid arthritis.


Furthermore, growth of P. copri was associated with lower amounts of beneficial gut bacteria.

This is interesting because gut bacteria has been previously linked to autoimmune disorders and inflammation. And although rheumatoid arthritis is genetic, it can also be affected by lifestyle and environmental factors, like the ones I listed earlier. So basically, the only common denominator for causation of rheumatoid arthritis is an imbalanced microbiome.

Now, it's very important to mention that this is still in the early stages of exploration and a lot more work has to be done.


For starters, researchers need to learn whether or not elevated P. copri is a cause or consequence of rheumatoid arthritis. Once they learn that, they have to learn how to treat it. It is conceivable, however, that a probiotic supplement might help.

Currently, the known way to improve or encourage a healthy, balanced microbiome is through dietary measures.


A healthy, balanced diet is reflected in your microbiome, and eating foods with probiotics and prebiotics is a great way to keep flora energized and effective - and maybe even prevent the onset of arthritis.







Gut Bacteria Linked to...

Rheumatoid Arthritis
by Julie Deardorff

July 2, 2014

from ChicagoTribune Website




Rheumatoid arthritis

has confounded efforts to identify its trigger.

Mounting evidence points to a new suspect:

a disturbance in the bacteria that live in the intestines.


Scientists can't predict what triggers rheumatoid arthritis, a mysterious and painful autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints.


But they're targeting an intriguing new suspect: the trillions of microbes living and working inside the gut.

Animal models have long suggested that intestinal bacteria can influence the development of some autoimmune diseases. This may also be the case with rheumatoid arthritis, according to emerging research, a finding that could lead to novel treatments and diagnostic methods.

Though long ignored by researchers,

"these bacteria clearly exert a great deal of influence on many physiological processes in the body, including metabolism, digestion and the nutrients we take in," said Dan Littman, professor of pathology and microbiology at the New York University School of Medicine and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.


"The part that's less appreciated is the profound influence the microbiota can have on the immune system."

Bacteria and other microbes, such as viruses and fungi, form the microbiota that reside in and on the human body.


These germs outnumber the body's own cells 10 to 1, helping us break down food and overwhelm infectious germs. In exchange, we give them a nice place to live.

But when certain bacteria are allowed to proliferate, upsetting the internal ecosystem, health problems may develop. Changes in gut bacteria may have a role in everything from obesity and circadian cycles to irritable bowel syndrome and multiple sclerosis, research suggests.

Dan Littman's team of scientists was the first to show in humans that disturbances in the digestive tract may play a role in autoimmune attacks on the joints, according to 2013 research published in the open-access journal eLife.

Using a sophisticated DNA analysis technique, the scientists compared the gut bacteria from fecal samples of patients with rheumatoid arthritis with those of healthy people. They found a bacteria known as Prevotella copri was more abundant in patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis than in healthy people or patients with chronic, treated rheumatoid arthritis.

Moreover, the overgrowth of P. copri was associated with fewer beneficial gut bacteria.

"There's a lot of speculation about autoimmune diseases being associated with changes or disturbances in the microbiota," Littman said. He called his team's study results "the clearest association with a particular microbe to date."

Still, while the connections have been made in animal models, more research needs to be completed in humans.


Scientists first need to figure out whether the microbes are a cause or a consequence of the disease, said Yasmine Belkaid, senior investigator and chief of the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases' Mucosal Immunology Section at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Then scientists may need to develop,

 "ways to selectively remove one microbe in a complex microbiota," she said.

Moreover, even if certain bacteria can trigger the disease,

"we also don't know whether that is something that can be treated once the disease is out of the gate," Littman said.

An estimated 1.3 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis, in which the immune system attacks tissues, inflaming joints and damaging organs.

The condition is known to have a strong genetic component. But not all patients carry the genes, so environmental factors - smoking, hormones, aging and infections - must be involved too, said researcher Veena Taneja, an associate professor of immunology at the Mayo Clinic.

"The gut seems to be the common link," said Taneja, whose work looks at whether bacteria can be manipulated to change the course of disease. "The gut microbiome is influenced by the genes and exposed to these things every day."

The relationship between bacteria and the immune system begins at birth as the baby passes through the birth canal, collecting microbes that will colonize its body.


As the child's environment and food habits change, so do the bacteria.

"If there is immune system dysfunction, there can be an imbalance that results in disease and in inflammation," Littman said.

Dysbiosis, or the abundance of certain bacteria because of factors such as antibiotics, stress and diet, can change the profile and trigger inflammation, Taneja said.


If so-called unfriendly bacteria outnumber good bacteria,

"it leads the body to produce a lot more of the pro-inflammatory cytokines," or substances secreted by cells of the immune system, she said.


"We've shown in mouse models that the presence of certain bacteria is associated with the pro-inflammatory status of the gut."

According to one theory, if there is an imbalance in good and bad bacteria, metabolites are also unbalanced, Taneja said.


This can cause a leaky gut, allowing for various metabolite or bacterial products to move outside the gut into the body.

"Outside of the gut, these bacterial products may be seen as foreign, and the body starts to make an immune response to them," she said.

It's possible to change the type of bugs in the digestive tract by altering diet and using antibiotics,

"but not in a way we can control very well," Littman said.

One day, scientists hope to develop pills containing particular microbes,

"that will establish themselves and change the composition of the microbiota from one that may make someone prone to disease to one that is beneficial," he said.

For now, the best way to alter gut flora seems to involve permanent dietary and lifestyle changes.



New York chef Seamus Mullen adopted a strict diet after being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

He believes there's a direct link between food and the variety of bacteria in the gut.

(Brian Harkin/for the Chicago Tribune)



New York chef Seamus Mullen, 40, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2007 after living with symptoms for several years. He tried the usual treatments, starting with anti-inflammatory drugs, biologics and steroids, with no luck.


Finally, he saw a doctor who suspected his arthritis was driven by an imbalance in his microbiome because of an infection.

Mullen said he followed a strict yearlong protocol, one that involved more exercise, more rest and the elimination of refined sugars and grains. He ate more fermented foods, which are naturally high in probiotics, took supplements and low-level antibiotics and avoided meat and poultry unless they came from grass-fed animals.


Mullen also used acupuncture and diligently monitored how he was feeling. After nine months, his blood values had returned to normal for the first time in a decade, and his arthritic symptoms had receded, he said.


Though he realizes his case is anecdotal, he's convinced,

"there's a direct correlation between the foods we eat and the spectrum of bacteria in our guts," he said.


"Food is a fundamental part of the journey," Mullen said. "It's not enough to say, 'Oh, I'll have some ginger today and some greens tomorrow,' and expect a turnaround in your health.

"To really see change, it requires a wholesale reboot of how you live your life. Compliance isn't easy, but it's a small price to pay."