Home Arthritis Escaping gut bacteria may trigger Rheumatoid Arthritis

Escaping gut bacteria may trigger Rheumatoid Arthritis


Rheumatoid arthritis appears linked to a bacterium Prevotella copri, which has escaped from the gut into the bloodstream and causes inflammatory compounds to be produced.

We have covered the role of gut bacteria in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) several times before. One particular bacterium that features repeatedly in investigations of rheumatoid arthritis is Prevotella copri and this was mentioned in our review on Rheumatoid Arthritis along with other potential bacterial contributors.  Most usually P. copri is a ‘friendly’ bacterium that helps you process fibre and derive benefits such as lowered glucose and visceral fat.

However, it appears to live a double lifestyle. It has also been linked to gut inflammation, higher blood pressure and even insulin resistance.

In a new study from the University of Colorado (1), researchers compared 98 established RA patients with 67 people at high risk of developing the disease. They matched these exactly with a sample of healthy people.  When looking for antibodies to a P. copri protein called p27, then found higher less of antibodies to the protein in the blood stream.  Those with the disease had IgA and IgG; those at high risk or just developing the disease had only IgG.

From this they concluded that the P. copri had escaped into the blood stream, somehow, from the gut. “But we know that people with RA usually have a history of gut issues. Serious yeast infections are common. And yeasts lay tiny filament roots across the gut wall creating small holes. A sandwich can deliver gluten to the gut and this will turn on zonulin in the gut wall that makes the holes bigger. Having large levels of antibodies in the bloodstream is what Doctors for years have called an ‘Auto-immune disease’. In reality, it’s an illness they haven’t tried to understand and have no understanding of how to fix”, said our own Chris Woollams who has written books on the microbiome and how to fix your gut.

In 2013, 75 per cent of RA patients were found to have P copri in their microbiome. By contrast it is present in just 20 per cent of  healthy people (2).

Chris Woollams added, “You can start to heal a leaky gut by avoiding gluten, dealing with your yeasts – with supplements such as oregano oil – and by taking butyrate. Butyrate can be a huge benefit if you have gut problems. Bosewellia, is a strong anti-inflammatory and can help with gut wall problems too.”

Go to: Four ways to fight arthritis



  1. Association of antibodies to Prevotella copri in anti-CCP-positive individuals at-risk for developing rheumatoid arthritis and in those with early or established rheumatoid arthritis; Jennifer A. Seifert MPH et al; Arthritis & Rheumatology; 19 Oct 2022
  2. Gut microbes linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis – NIH Research Matters, November 28th 2013