These days, scientists ( I love them!) are learning more about how bacteria in your gut is affecting your heart, putting you at risk for heart disease.
As it turns out, there’s a new twist on the phrase “ The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
But, this time, it applies to women as well.
The fancy name for what, specifically, is hurting you is “gut microbiota.” In other words, the zillions of bacteria that live deep down inside your digestive tract.
When they’re getting along and are in sync, they do have 3 important purposes:
- They help with digestion
- They help create certain vitamins such as:
Thiamine which is produced by some bacteria in the colon and is important for glucose and protein metabolism.
Riboflavin, also called B2, is important for energy production.
Pantothenic acid, also called B5, is essential for the synthesis and metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fatty acids.
Pyroxidine, also known as B6, plays a main role in protein and steroid hormone action.
Biotin, also called B7, functions in several biochemical reactions and is important for glucose and fatty acid synthesis.
Folic acid, also called B9, is important for DNA synthesis, growth, and development
Cobalamin, also called B12, is essential for nervous system function and production of red blood cells
- They break down toxins and
- They train your immune system how to respond to infections
Over the last 10 years, scientists have found more specific connections between different types of gut microbes and the occurrence of obesity and diabetes — two factors closely tied to a higher risk of heart disease.
Several recent studies have examined how our gut microbes interact with the food we eat to cause a damaging inflammation and narrowing of the arteries.(Coronary Artery Disease)
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic discovered the following:
- The gut microbes feed on a chemical called choline, which is found in eggs, red meat, and dairy products.
They then produce a compound called TMA.
According to Cardiologist, Dr. Joseph Loscalzo, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital:
“For the first time, they showed how the relationship between a dietary component, bacterial metabolism, and human metabolism can have adverse consequences for blood vessels.”
The investigators tested a molecule called DMB, which occurs naturally in olive oil and red wine, and blocks the production of TMA.
The mice used were prone to atherosclerosis, (thanks to their genes and a high-fat diet).
The mice that got DMB in their water had healthier, clearer arteries than those that didn’t.
In addition, earlier this year, Chinese researchers described a different but related approach to preventing blood vessel injury in mice that were prone to atherosclerosis.
They found a specific strain of a bacteria, that could prevent inflammation — the chronic, persistent immune response that contributes to the buildup of fatty plaque in arteries.
As a result, fewer toxins from the diet could pass from the gut into the bloodstream, which in turn decreased and/or prevented the inflammation.
Still with me?
These findings point to the possibility of being able to alter the microbes in the gut in ways that could lessen or prevent damage to the blood vessels.
The frosting on the cake, however, is that there’s also some evidence that the gut microbes may influence the levels of cholesterol and other fats in the bloodstream, and influence a person’s blood pressure.
The bacteria in your gut is affecting your heart…Now, that’s encouraging news…
While these are preliminary findings they could soon lead to personalized diet recommendations or other therapies to lower the risk of heart disease.
Lucky for us, the scientists are doing their part to save us from ourselves.
Personal responsibility for the foods we put in our bodies remains the number one preventive measure for multiple disorders.
We are finding more and more links between diet and disease every day.
It’s a well-researched and documented fact that people who eat a traditional, plant-based Mediterranean or Asian diet tend to be healthier and less likely to develop the disorders killing us in the United States…
By comparison, and this is not new, their healthier diets create a bigger variety of intestinal bacteria. This helps their digestion and, specifically, how the gut processes what you eat.
Meanwhile, Americans and Europeans, whose diets are heavier in red meat, sugars, and other refined carbohydrates, and lighter in fruits and vegetables, are witnessing the consequences of their choices.
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