The study shows that a diet rich in isoflavone, a phytoestrogen or plant-based compound that resembles estrogen, protects against multiple sclerosis-like symptoms in a mouse model of the disease. Importantly, the isoflavone diet was only protective when the mice had gut microbes capable of breaking down the isoflavones. The findings were published in Science Advances.
A new University of Iowa study suggests that metabolism of plant-based dietary substances by specific gut bacteria, which are lacking in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), may provide protection against the disease.
Isoflavones are found in soybeans, peanuts, chickpeas and other legumes. The study also found that mice fed the isoflavone diet have a microbiome that is similar to the microbiome found in healthy people and includes the bacteria which can metabolize isoflavones. Conversely, a diet lacking isoflavones promotes a microbiome in mice which is similar to one observed in patients with MS and lacks beneficial bacteria that can metabolize isoflavone.
Release date: 12 July 2021
Source: University of Iowa Health Care