Your Gut Bacteria Linked to Your Risk for Heart Disease
by Joseph Mercola: Is
Gluten Making You Fat?
A new mechanism
has been discovered that connects phosphatidyl choline (also called
lecithin), a common dietary fat, along with intestinal microflora,
to an increased risk of heart disease. The study shows that the
heart risk of people with a diet high in the lipid depends on how
the micro-organisms that live in their digestive tracts metabolize
and choline were fed to mice, the substances were converted to a
heart disease-forming product by the intestinal microbes. In humans,
higher blood levels of choline and the heart disease forming microorganism
products are strongly associated with increased cardiovascular disease
in gut flora metabolism of the diet from one person to another appear
to have a big effect on whether one develops heart disease.”
All the new
studies are leading many experts to come to the conclusion that
probiotics as a supplement are probably more important to take than
a multivitamin. With time we should see a shift in people's understanding
of this and as a result shift their supplement choices.
are not aware that the micro-organisms living in their digestive
tracts form a very important "inner ecosystem" that influences countless
aspects of health. More specifically, the type and quantity of organisms
in your gut interact with your body in ways that can either prevent
or encourage the development of many diseases, and the latest chronic
ailment to join the already long roster is heart disease.
Your Gut Have to do With Your Heart?
of diet on heart disease has long been understood (albeit with some
flawed nutritional dogmas) but what is less clear is why two
people eating the very same diet can end up with two very different
levels of heart health.
Without a doubt,
some of this variance has to do with nutritional
type, and whether your diet is in agreement with yours, along
malleability, which is influenced by your lifestyle choices.
But the latest
research is pointing to another theory for this phenomenon, and
that is the makeup of your gut flora. According to data from nearly
2,000 people, when the bacteria in your gut break down lecithin,
a fat found in meat, eggs, dairy and other animal foods along with
baked goods and dietary supplements, ands its metabolite choline,
it leads to the creation of a by-product called trimethylamine N-oxide
fatty plaque deposits to form within arteries (atherosclerosis),
and the more TMAO you have in your blood the greater your risk of
heart disease becomes.
It's not clear
which types of gut bacteria lead to the formation of TMAO, but it's
suggested that probiotics may help to buffer the effect and thereby
help prevent heart disease. Probiotics have already been found to
changes in your body that lead to lower blood pressure, as well
as influence the activity of hundreds of your genes, helping them
to express in a positive, disease-fighting manner.
So it makes
sense that your gut bacteria and diet would interact in ways that
influence your health. After all, as the study's senior author,
Stanley Hazen, M.D., Ph.D., told
is a filter for our largest environmental exposure what we
Does Your Gut Bacteria Impact?
When you consider
that your gut is quite
literally your second brain as well as the home to 80
percent of your immune system, it doesn't take a large stretch
of the imagination to see that its influence can easily encompass
your heart as well. But the impact of your gut bacteria doesn't
end there …
Your body contains
about 100 trillion bacteria more than 10 TIMES the number
of cells you have in your entire body. Ideally, the ratio between
the bacteria in your gut is 85 percent "good" and 15 percent "bad."
This healthy ratio of good to bad gut bacteria is essential for:
against over-growth of other microorganisms that could cause disease
of food and absorption of nutrients and certain carbohydrates
vitamins, absorbing minerals and eliminating toxins
have also shown that your gut flora plays a role in:
- Mood, psychological
health, and behavior
- Celiac disease
- Weight gain
The Best Way
to Optimize Your Gut Flora and Prevent Heart Disease
Your gut bacteria
are vulnerable to your lifestyle. If you eat a lot of sugar, refined
grains and processed foods, for instance, your gut bacteria are
going to be compromised because processed foods in general will
destroy healthy microflora and feed bad bacteria and yeast.
Your gut bacteria
are also very sensitive to:
this, you need to avoid processed, refined foods in your diet (this
for heart disease prevention, too) and regularly reseed your
gut with good bacteria to keep your microflora healthy. To do this,
foods are still the best route to optimal microflora health, as
long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions.
Healthy choices include lassi (an Indian yogurt drink, traditionally
enjoyed before dinner), fermented raw milk such as kefir, various
pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers,
onions, squash and carrots, and natto (fermented soy).
regularly eat fermented foods such as these that, again, have
not been pasteurized (pasteurization kills the naturally occurring
probiotics), your healthy gut bacteria will thrive.
the benefits of optimizing your gut flora with fermented foods
is that some of them are also excellent sources of vitamin K2,
which is important for preventing
arterial plaque buildup and heart disease.
K2, cheese and especially cheese curd is an excellent source.
The starter ferment for both regular cheese and curd cheese
contains bacteria lactococci and proprionic acids bacteria
which both produce K2.
also obtain all the K2 you'll need (about 200 micrograms) by
eating 15 grams of natto daily, which is half an ounce. But
most people find the texture and taste non-appealing and prefer
the convenience of a probiotic supplement.
supplement. Although I'm not a major proponent of taking many
supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need
to come from food), probiotics are definitely an exception.
used many different brands over the past 15 years and there
are many good ones out there. I also spent a long time researching
and developing my own, called Complete Probiotics, in which
I incorporated everything I have learned about this important
tool over the years.
do not eat fermented foods, taking a high-quality probiotic
supplement is definitely recommended.
impact of healthy gut bacteria renders them useful and beneficial
for a number of health concerns, some of which are still being uncovered.
And because adding probiotics to your diet is so easy, by way of
cultured foods and/or supplements, it's one step I highly encourage
you to take on your journey to optimal heart and overall health.
For more tips
on preventing heart disease naturally, including how to reduce your
risk of sudden death, which is the most common "symptom" of heart
disease, read this important
2011 Dr. Joseph Mercola
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