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Could eating TURKEY protect against MS? Key molecule 'prevents inflammation that triggers brain degeneration'

  • A molecule in turkey could help protect against multiple sclerosis
  • High levels of the amino acid, tryptophan, lowers brain inflammation
  • Inflammation can trigger the neuro-degeneration that occurs in MS
  • Experts hope discovery will lead to new therapies to treat the disease

Eating turkey could help protect against developing multiple sclerosis, experts today revealed.

The discovery came as scientists investigated the link between the bacteria living in the gut and the activity of cells in the brain.

The theory is that bacteria in the gut is involved in controlling inflammation and neuro-degeneration.

Scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston analysed samples from MS patients.

They found evidence that changes in diet and gut microbiota could influence the astrocytes - cells in the nervous system found in the brain.

That influence, they believe, can lead to the neuro-degeneration characteristic of MS.

Specifically, the influence is linked to the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in abundance in turkey.

Put simply, the higher the level of tryptophan in a person's system, the less likely it is that inflammation will occur.

The discovery, experts hope, will lead to new therapies to treat MS, for which there is currently no cure.

Dr Francisco Quintana, an author of the study, said: 'For the first time, we've been able to identify that food has some sort of remote control over central nervous system inflammation.

'What we eat influences the ability of bacteria in our gut to produce small molecules, some of which are capable of traveling all the way to the brain.

'This opens up an area that's largely been unknown until now: how the gut controls brain inflammation.'

Previous studies have suggested a connection between the gut microbiome and brain inflammation.

But, how the two are linked and how diet and microbial products influence this connection has remained largely unknown.

To explore the connection further, Dr Quintana and his team performed genome-wide transcriptional analyses on astrocytes - star shaped cells that reside in the brain and spinal cord - in a mouse model of MS.

By doing so they were able to identify a molecular pathway involved in inflammation.

They found that molecules derived from dietary tryptophan - an amino acid found in turkey and other foods - act on this pathway.

They discovered that when more of these molecules are present, astrocytes were able to limit brain inflammation.

In blood samples from MS patients, the team found decreased levels of these tryptophan-derived molecules.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by DAILYMAIL
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length


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