Probiotic supplements may have clinical and metabolic benefits for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), according to a study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

After 8 weeks of taking probiotics, patients with RA showed improvement in Disease Activity Score of 28 joints (DAS-28), serum insulin levels, homeostatic model assessment-B cell function (HOMA-B), and serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) concentrations.

The study included 60 patients with RA aged 35 to 70 years. Each participant was randomized to receive probiotic capsules (n=30) or placebo (n=30). Participants in the probiotic group received a once-daily capsule for 8 weeks that contained 3 probiotic strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus (2 × 109 colony-forming units [CFU]/g), Lactobacillus casei (2 x 109 CFU/g), and Bifidobacterium bifidum (2 x 109 CFU/g). Participants in the placebo group received capsules filled with cellulose once-daily for 8 weeks. The researchers took fasting blood samples from participants at the beginning and end of the study period.

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Compared with the placebo group, participants in the probiotic group showed improvements in DAS-28 (-0.3 ± 0.4 vs. -0.1 ± 0.4). Participants in the probiotic group also had significant decreases in serum insulin levels (-2.0 ± 4.3 vs. +0.5 ± 4.9 μIU/mL), HOMA-B (-7.5 ± 18.0 vs. +4.3 ± 25.0) and serum hs-CRP concentrations (-6.66 ± 2.56 vs. +3.07 ± 5.53 mg/L) compared with placebo.


  1. Zamani B, Golkar HR, Farshbaf S, et al. Clinical and metabolic response to probiotic supplementation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Int J Rheum Dis. Published online May 2, 2016. doi:10.1111/1756-185X.12888.