Gut Bacteria Influences Your Heart And Weight
By Kirsten Cowart
You have literally trillions of microscopic bacteria living in your gut. These little microbes play a crucial role in your ability to stay healthy and digest food and can even help determine your risks for cancer or mental health issues.
What’s Been Proven About Gut Bacteria
A new study from the American Heart Association Journal Circulation Research found that the bacteria living in the gut may have an impact on fat, weight and good cholesterol levels. All of these factors play a role on the overall health of the heart and blood flow that your body needs.
Researchers in the Netherland University Medical Center used deep sequencing technology to study how the microbes in the gut influence the blood lipid (fat) levels in 893 people.
These researchers identified 34 different types of key bacteria that play a role in a person’s BMI (body fat) and blood lipid levels. They specifically looked at triglycerides and good cholesterol such as HDL (high-density lipoprotein) levels.
Triglycerides are a type of fatty acid that is found in the blood when your body has enough calories for its needs. Those fatty acids go to be stored as extra fat for the body’s future needs, adding to your weight.
The researchers made many new discoveries, including the fact that gut bacteria contributed to 4.6% of the difference in a person’s weight. They also found that 6% of the triglycerides and 4% of your bodies healthy cholesterol is also determined by the microbes you have living in your gut.
The authors of the study said that they were surprised that your gut influences good cholesterol, but has very little to do with LDL (low-density lipoproteins, also known as bad cholesterol).
Cardiologist Dr. Tara Narula from the Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said, “the more diverse your bacteria [are], the better your HDL and triglycerides.”
What Can You Do To Improve The Microbes In Your Gut?
“There are a couple of things you can do. Obviously, your diet affects it. Eating a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables, lower in red meat and high in fiber…” Dr. Tara Narula said. “Also prebiotics and probiotics can help.”
Dr. Narula also tells us that your gut’s microbiome has been getting created slowly over time since the day you were born. “Even whether you’re a cesarean section versus a vaginal delivery starts to affect the bacteria in your gut,” she explains. “Then whether you’re breastfed or formula fed and then the diet you eat throughout your life.”
Your environment also plays a role on the variety of microbes in your gut. She goes on to say that “Whether you’re in New York City or somewhere else in the country, you’re exposed to different bacteria.”
Overuse of sanitizer or antibiotics can also kill off the helpful bacteria that you need to stay healthy.
Your Gut And Heart Health
This study continues to confirm prior research that the bacteria in your gut plays an important role in your heart’s health. The researchers say that it will be important for more in-depth studies to be conducted. They also hope that their findings will lead to new therapies to help prevent heart disease by altering bacteria in the gut.
“We also hope our findings inspire microbiologists to continue to research the function of these bacteria and their specific role in the regulation of lipid metabolism,” says lead study author, Jingyuan Fu.
As you focus on eating healthy and keeping your gut bacteria happy, you should see an overall improvement in your weight, cholesterol and heart health.
What do you do to keep your gut healthy? Let us know in the comments below.
Kirsten Cowart is a writer and researcher that has worked in the spiritual, mental health and medical fields.Kirsten enjoys studying and experiencing the benefits of yoga, meditation, nutrition, herbalism, organic gardening and alternative health.She worked hard in 2014 losing over 40 lbs. and has since maintained a healthy lifestyle.Follow her to learn more about her journey on Twitter, Facebook & Youtube!
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