Estimates say that up to 400,000 people in Germany suffer from Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Diagnosing the disease remains difficult as symptoms are far-ranging and vague: vomiting, gastrointestinal spasms, abdominal pain, and diarrhoea may be caused by a number of diseases.
In this context, Swedish and British scientists have made the important discovery that Crohn’s disease is often accompanied by chronic, inflamed skin rashes. People suffering from Crohn’s disease are five times more likely to develop psoriasis than non-sufferers. Vice versa, psoriasis patients are more at risk from Crohn’s disease.
Studies were able to show that Crohn’s disease patients had a reduced amount of specific bacteria called Faecalibacterium prausnitzii in their gut.
In this case, the gut flora is disturbed; bacterial diversity has become unbalanced. There is a similar phenomenon regarding skin flora in skin diseases such as as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis.
Faecalibacterium prausnitzii bacteria produce, among others, butyric acid which has an anti-inflammatory effect in the gut. Therefore, the scientific community aims to support this bacterial strain in the gut or to identify the bacteria’s anti-inflammatory molecules in addition to butyric acid and, based on these, develop specific drugs. This would help sufferers in restoring a healthy intestinal mucosa which is more resistant to harmful bacteria.