Psoriasis linked to gut health: Leaky gut could be caused by microbiome composition
06/13/2018 // Frances Bloomfield // Views

There have been numerous studies linking gut health to all kinds of diseases, including – but not limited to – diabetes, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease. Leaky gut among psoriasis patients can be added to that growing list, courtesy of a study published in Scientific Reports.

For their study, the researchers used 52 patients who'd been diagnosed with plaque psoriasis. Of the 52 patients, 13 were identified as positive for bacterial translocation (BT), which is the passage of bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract to other parts of the body.

Genome sequencing allowed the team to identify and analyze the intestinal bacterial composition of the patients via blood samples. The results were then compared to the gut bacteria of healthy individuals who were part of the Human Microbiome Project. Key differences between the two groups lay primarily in the smaller population of Bacteroides and the greater presence of Faecalibacterium among psoriasis patients.

The abundance of Faecalibacterium was of particular interest to the researchers due to its association with a variety of diseases. In one study from 2016, the authors noted that a higher number of this bacterium was linked to the increased risk of inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease. A different study published in the same year found that infants diagnosed with eczema had more Faecalibacterium in their guts as well. (Related: The health of your gut microbiome could predict your risk of heart disease, researchers find.)

"In our case, the results point to a relationship between the increase in Bacteroides and healthy status," wrote the researchers.


Comparing the BT-positive and BT-negative blood samples showed that certain bacterial species were differentially present solely in the BT-negative blood samples. Though the researchers deemed the differences as “a punctual result” due to the small sampling size, they noted that further studies would be necessary to confirm the significance of these findings.

They added: "Analyzing differences within different enterotypes, our results suggest that psoriatic patients with a relevant presence of Prevotella in the intestinal microbiome (enterotype 2) and lower ratio Bacteroides/Faecalibacterium, can be more prone to BT."

According to, there are three main gut microbiome enterotypes. People who fall under enterotype 2 are characterized by the abundance of gut Prevotella. These are anaerobic bacteria that are more likely to thrive in the guts of people who subsist primarily on plant-based diets. While largely harmless, Prevotella bacteria have been linked to detrimental health conditions like gum and  lung infections, and inflammation.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that an imbalance of certain gut bacteria groups increased the risk of BT among psoriasis patients. As noted by, the results of the study are noteworthy due to earlier studies suggesting that plaque psoriasis flare-ups were connected to the circulation of bacterial DNA in blood. As such, treating these flare-ups may become easier if BT were detected early on, which in turn could be done via bacterial composition analysis in stool samples.

"The microbiome differences found here are the first step towards understanding the complex ecological dynamics that are happening in the gut of psoriatic patients," said study author Empar Chenoll. "A probiotic blend specifically designed to balance the microbiome of psoriatic patients is in the pipeline for further investigations and applications."

In addition to prebiotics, there are other ways to restore gut bacteria balance. Eating fermented foods encourages the growth of good bacteria, so consuming a good amount of non-pasteurized yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi will do. Cutting out sugars and unhealthy oils from one’s diet is just as effective.

Discover other methods of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome by visiting today.

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