A group of researchers have conducted studies about how gut bacteria, which include trillions of diverse, good microbes that live in the intestines, can give scientists information about heart health.
Gut bacteria help the body digest food. Recently, scientists have started to discuss how these bacteria also affect a person’s health in several other ways, including heart health.
Some places in the body host their own microbial populations, but the largest number of bacteria is in the intestines. This population can access daily food, the bloodstream and diverse regions in the digestive tract that have different levels of alkalinity and acidity. This means that gut bacteria can also affect the heart’s health.
“People are still getting their head around how something in the gut can affect the heart,” Gregor Reid, director of the Canadian Center for Human Microbiome and Probiotic Research at Lawson Health Research Institute in Ontario, said. “One way is the microbes produce molecules that end up in the bloodstream or that affect factors in the bloodstream.”
Gut bacteria can affect obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance, which affect heart health. One way this happens is how gut bacteria digest red meat’s L-carnitine component and create TMAO, which can contribute to blocked arteries.
“Our single largest environmental exposure is what we eat,” Stanley Hazen, cardiologist and chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, said. “How different people experience the same meal can be linked to differences in their microbiome.”