Klebsiella: The Cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis, Part 1

Klebsiella: The Cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis, Part 1

Bacteria are ubiquitous in nature, and some are more helpful in improving our health than others. Some bacteria are known as mutualists, some are commensal, and some are opportunistic. Klebsiella is one such genus of bacteria where it can be considered more towards being opportunistic, with occasional commensal benefits when it is kept in line by our immune system and microbiome.

However, if given the chance it will literally stab us in the back, cause us pneumonia, or leave our joints in an inflammatory hell.

All About Klebsiella

Different strains of Klebsiella are normal flora in our body. The bacteria is ubiquitous in nature and is found almost everywhere. As long as this Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria is kept in check by our immune system it lives as a commensal with us. Klebsiella colonizes a lot of the human body, from our nasal passages, mouth, to our digestive tracts. The bacteria’s colonization occasionally benefits us, it breaks down and ferments lactose in the intestinal tract. Klebsiella can break down easily using its enzymes, resistant starch type two and three (corn starch, potato starch, rice starch). When Klebsiella is probiotic flora, it can help to break down occasional ingestion of resistant starch for better digestion by helping to feed our microbiome. Klebsiella is also able to break down and ferment the prebiotic FOS (inulin), fructose, and mannose. Some of the carbohydrates are used by Klebsiella for fuel and some it breaks down for us or other microorganisms to further use them. 1 2 3 4 5 6

Klebsiella serves niche purposes in strengthening our overall digestive health when it is commensal by helping us assimilate carbohydrates.

Klebsiella species list: 7 8

  • K. granulomatis
  • K. michiganensis
  • K. oxytoca – human colonizer.
  • K. pneumoniae – human colonizer.
  • K. quasipneumoniae – human colonizer.
  • K. variicola

What Medical Conditions Does Opportunistic Klebsiella Cause?

I guess we should not blame Klebsiella for its breaking bad ways, most microorganisms if given the chance become opportunistic. What are known infection areas of the bacteria?

Conventional acute infection areas of opportunistic Klebsiella: 9 10 11 12

  • Blood – a cause of septicemia.
  • Brain – a cause of meningitis.
  • Lungs – a cause of pneumonia.
  • Mouth – a cause of dental caries.
  • Small intestine – a cause of SIBO-D.
  • Urinary tract – a cause of infections.

Opportunistic Klebsiella infects different parts of the body and causes many medical conditions. So what about Klebsiella colonizing and causing chronic inflammation in the joints or spine? Is it possible that Klebsiella produced endotoxins leak out of the gut and trigger certain immune responses that cause issues with collagen production and increased inflammation in the joints or spine? Why is it so hard for mainstream medicine to believe that chronic infections or immune reactions stemming from Klebsiella leaky gut can cause two different “autoimmune conditions.” 13

The next part of our blog series is going to tackle the myth of ankylosing spondylitis being a true “autoimmune” condition. AS is caused by a chronic Klebsiella infection.

See more from this series:


  2. What is your source for Klebsiella being able to breakdown FOS?

  3. Hi, John,
    I am Vaibhav Sufferibng fronm AS and CD , what is the natural medicine for controllibng the population of Klebsiella and what is the allopathic medicine to control it.

  4. Thankyou for taking time to do research and break it down for us! I appreciate it!

  5. Hi John

    I have AS and am HLA B27 positive however, I’ve taken the Genova CDSA test and this didn’t show up klebsiella at all. Similarly, a leaky gut gut antibody test didn’t show any antibodies to klebsiella either.

    My CDSA did show up the pathogenic strains of enterobacter and citrobacter however – do you think these could be acting in a similar manner to klebsiella in causing my symptoms?


    • You’ve gotten too far into my series on AS and RA and Klebsiella, the 4th post. The 4th post will be what if it not only Klebsiella, but mainly Gram-negative from LPS and elevation of Th1 immune responses.

      It is possible that you are having LPS reactions from Citrobacter and Enterobacter and it is normal in an upper gut overgrowth to have Archaea and constipation they feed off of the hydrogen.

  6. Sweet starter article. Make sure to spell check the title though lol.

Leave a Reply