statins

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Should You Take Statins For Your Gut Health?

You may remember my previous blog article that urged you to question what you read everywhere when it comes to probiotics.

At the time, a handful of people had asked me about some mainstream media reports that disputed the benefits of probiotics, so we addressed them directly, honestly and scientifically. If the need arises, we will do it again…

During a recent review of studies, I discovered another report that might lead a few of you down the wrong path, this time about statins, a common and very effective class of drugs that lowers your cholesterol levels.

Obesity and gut imbalances

As you know, obesity is a risk factor that can elevate your cholesterol levels and harm the healthy diversity of bacteria in your gut.

A recent study that tracked the gut health of nearly 900 obese patients in France, Germany and Denmark discovered those who had been treated with a statin drug, not only had lower their cholesterol levels but healthier gut bacteria profiles compared to people not taking those drugs.

What made the difference: A specific configuration of unhealthy gut bacteria (Bact2) in obese patients tied to gut inflammation and diseases like multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease that may be linked to inflammation too.

In fact, obese patients taking a statin drug had much lower levels of that unhealthy gut bacteria than those who didn’t use a statin drug and closer to levels observed in healthy, non-obese patients.

Take a statin drug for its real purpose

On the surface, those results sound encouraging, but here’s some things you need to consider.

For one, your chances of being obese, taking statins and having this specific kind of gut bacteria is very low, which brings little clarity to whether statins really help.

Plus, we warned you some time ago that some statins may work — or not — depending on your gut bacteria.

Fact is, statins are very safe and effective drugs for what they do: Lessening heart disease by reducing LDL (low-density) cholesterol, the fat-like, waxy substances that build up in the arteries.

Multiple studies have found statin drugs really are life-saving medications with very clear benefits.

However, a statin drug isn’t designed for the heavy-duty work that a probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic, formulated with 10 strains and 30 BILLION CFUs of beneficial bacteria and a proven prebiotic (FOS) that feeds the good guys in your gut, can do.

If you want to get healthy, give your body a gentle and natural weight-loss boost and begin to reduce your need for a statin drug, consider EndoMune Metabolic Rescue, a probiotic/prebiotic blend that stimulates the release of hormones that can create a greater sense of fullness and reduce your appetite.

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How Drugs Interact With Your Gut

The gut microbiome is a vital and important part of human health that touches so many aspects of our daily lives, yet it works in very unpredictable ways.

For example, consider how certain drugs interact with the human gut. Sometimes, they do work but not so well at other times, as we learned about statin drugs.

The very same thing may be true about metformin, the go-to drug prescribed for type 2 diabetic patients to control high blood sugar, according to a study appearing in EBiomedicine.

“For example, certain drugs work fine when given intravenously and go directly to the [blood] circulation, but when they are taken orally and pass through the gut, they don’t work,” says senior study author Dr. Hariom Yadav, a researcher at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.

As we’ve seen previously, metformin works well with the gut, although some patients who take it tend to experience more side effects (nausea, diarrhea and flatulence).

Based on their review of studies, Wake Forest researchers determined the metabolic capacity of a patient’s microbiome may influence how various drugs aimed at treating type 2 diabetes are absorbed and function in effective, inactive or even toxic ways.

“We believe that differences in an individual’s microbiome help explain why drugs will show a 90 or 50 percent optimum efficacy, but never 100 percent,” Dr. Yadav said.

Now, Wake Forest researchers are taking the next important gut-friendly step by testing prebiotics, a natural component of non-digestible plant fiber that feeds the good bacteria living in your gut, and probiotics that may help diabetes drugs work more effectively.

Could a multi-species probiotic containing 10 kinds of beneficial bacteria plus a handy prebiotic (FOS) like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic make gut-friendly difference in the way patients take their drugs?

The evidence is growing!

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.

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