cardiovascular

Probiotics may lower the risk for heart disease? Research says, ‘yes’!

Every year nearly 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack. While these numbers are staggering, the first step towards fighting cardiovascular problems and lowering cholesterol levels starts with a living a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, daily exercise along with adding a probiotic supplement.

Further research and studies conducted on probiotics show that gut health can be related to the heart. A healthy gut with a rich flora of life-supporting bacteria can mean the prevention of many health issues, even preventing and treating heart ailments.

Research shows probiotics can lower the risk for cardiovascular disease by limiting two risk factors:

A new Cleveland Clinic study links a particular type of metabolite called Trimethylamine (TMA) N-oxide or TMAO as a recently discovered independent risk factor for coronary artery disease and strokes. This chemical interacts with the lining of our arteries leading cholesterol plaques. Harmful intestinal bacteria breakdown a chemical called choline that is in egg yolk, liver, beef, and pork. The breakdown metabolite called TMA is converted by the liver into TMAO.

TMAO: The New Culprit

High plasma levels of TMAO correlated with an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events that is independent of traditional risk factors like hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), smoking and hypertension. The authors of the study recommend limiting the intake of the choline containing foods and adding a beneficial probiotic that will reduce the harmful bacteria that metabolize choline. “This is a very exciting study,” said Dr. Crandall. “It gives us a brand new way of looking at heart disease. It also opens an avenue for new tests and treatments.”

The discovery of the heart disease-causing bacteria might explain why about half of those who die of sudden heart attacks have no known risk factors for heart disease, like high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes, he noted.

Lowering circulating blood total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol)

In another study from the American Heart Association, researchers tracked cholesterol esters bound to saturated fat, which has been linked to dangerous arterial plaque buildup and occurs at higher levels in coronary artery disease in patients.

The study involved 127 adult patients with high cholesterol. About half the participants took a probiotic called Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 twice a day while the other half of the group were given placebo capsules. Those taking the probiotic had LDL levels 11.6 percent lower than those on placebo after nine weeks. Furthermore, cholesterol esters were reduced by 6.3 percent and cholesterol ester saturated fatty acids by 8.8 percent, compared with the placebo group.

Scientists have proposed that Lactobacillus bacteria alone may impact cholesterol levels in several ways, including breaking apart molecules known as bile salts which results in lower production of cholesterol by the liver.

If you are struggling with cholesterol-related health problems or are on a weight loss program that isn’t working for you, consider meeting with your medical practitioner and adding a high quality probiotic like EndoMune to lessen risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

cholesterol

Your gut bacteria may determine how statins work…or don’t

Statins are a very handy and popular class of drugs that reduce cholesterol levels and lessen a patient’s risks of cardiovascular disease (stroke and heart attack).

Well-known brands of statin drugs like simvastatin (Zocor), rosuvastatin (Crestor) and atorvastatin (Lipitor) can be an advantage to human health when they work properly. Unfortunately, statins don’t work for everyone, and a 2011 study published in PLOS ONE suggests a gut bacteria link may explain why.

Overall, data collected from 148 patients enrolled in the nationwide Cholesterol and Pharmacogenetics (CAP) study who had taken simvastatin were reviewed by a research team led by a Duke University scientist.

In addition to examining health data from 100 patients whose LDL cholesterol dropped dramatically thanks to taking simvastatin, researchers also reviewed results from 24 patients who derived little benefit from the statin drug and an equal number whose response was deemed “fairly good.”

Scientists collected blood work before any patients had taken a statin to identify signs of specific bile acids and sterols (fat-like substances connected to the use and breakdown of cholesterol).

Three kinds of bile acids produced by specific gut bacteria were found in samples taken from patients who responded well to statins for six weeks. On the other hand, five different kinds of bile acids were produced in patients whose bodies didn’t respond well to statins.

The difference between both groups: because bile acids and statins share the same pathways (to the intestines and liver) and compete for dominance, scientists speculate that patients whose bodies produce too many bile acids prevent statins from reaching their intended target—the liver—where the production of cholesterol is controlled.

Researchers believe a blood test that screens for bile acids could determine who responds well to simvastatin and who doesn’t.

“It’s no doubt that metabolites from bacteria are playing an important role in regulating our systems,” said lead researcher Dr. Rima Kaddurah-Daouk at Duke University School of Medicine in a press release. “We’re at a very early stage of understating this relationship, but eventually we could take a quick chemical assay and get a read on where we are metabolically.”

A more recent study supporting these findings concluded increasing bile salt hydrolase (proteins produced by gut bacteria that alter the chemical properties of bile acids) may slow down weight gains and serum cholesterol in mice.

In both studies, researchers cited probiotics as a possible solution to lower cholesterol, another reason among many to protect and enhance the diversity of beneficial bacteria in your gut by taking a multi-species probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

How Probiotics Protect Your Heart Health

You may already read studies showing that probiotics can provide beneficial treatment for common health conditions like acne, hay fever and even your emotions.

Did you know that maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut also protects your heart?

A pair of recent studies demonstrates how the health of your gut may provide easy-to-spot clues that can identify cardiovascular problems like heart disease, diabetes and chronic inflammation.

Probiotics vs. obesity

The bacterial diversity of your gut may be linked to your risks of obesity-related disorders, according to a Danish study that compared the health of 123 non-obese patients to 169 obese patients.

No surprise, researchers concluded the greater the amount of beneficial bacteria and the diversity of those species, the greater the protection to cardiovascular diseases, including diabetes and chronic inflammation.

On the other hand, patients with lower bacterial richness had more adipose tissue (fat), and were more vulnerable to diabetes, chronic inflammation and cardiovascular diseases.

Approximately 25 percent of the patients tested had a lower richness of gut bacteria and about 40 percent less gut bacteria genes and bacteria overall than the average patient.

These smaller amounts of bacteria found in this Danish patient group were also indicative of low-level but chronic inflammation present in the digestive tract as well as the entire body.

This low-level but persistent inflammation can also contribute to metabolic changes and boost a patient’s risks cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, according to the study.

Too much TMAO hurts your heart!

The lack of diversity of gut bacteria isn’t the only factor that affects your heart health. What foods you eat are also connected to how your gut creates chemicals that can harm your heart.

A Cleveland Clinic study uncovered a link between eating too many choline-rich foods (egg yolks and fatty meats) and the production of TMAO (trimethylene n-oxide), an organic gut byproduct and heart disease trigger that promotes the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, by gut flora.

For the first phase of the study, patients were instructed to eat two hard-boiled eggs, then take a choline capsule to show how gut flora raise TMAO levels in the blood. When the same patients were given a broad-spectrum antibiotic to suppress gut flora, TMAO levels dropped, even after taking a dose of choline pill.

During the final phase encompassing more than 4,000 patients and three years, higher TMAO levels in the blood were responsible with greater risks of death and non-fatal incidents of stroke or heart attack in patients.

Choline isn’t the substance that triggers gut flora problems. Carnitine, a similar nutrient contained in red meat, dairy products, fish, avocados and peanut butter, has also been linked to elevated TMAO production and heart attack risks.

With more health data accumulating about the ways your gut plays a bigger role in your heart health, there’s one proven and completely safe way to protect your microbiome: Take a probiotic made from multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic every day.

If you want to safeguard the gut health of your kids too, EndoMune Advanced Junior will help their gut health and immune systems.

Protect your heart and gut health for those you care about the most this Valentine’s Day weekend.

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