“We think that testosterone is suppressing the effect of the healthy bacteria,” says Luo. “Before our study, researchers had never looked at male hormones suppressing the probiotic effect before.”
The team says that further studies are now needed to determine whether or not their findings apply to humans, but they believe that Lactobacillus has the potential to benefit women with lupus nephritis.
“If a lupus patient is female and also has kidney inflammation, there would be no harm in adding yogurt or a probiotic supplement to the diet.”
The researchers now plan to investigate whether there are “bad” bacteria that exacerbate lupus. “If that can be found,” says Luo, “we can target the bad bacteria and remove them to ameliorate disease symptoms.”