The bacteria in guts are have an important role to play in the cause of heart attacks, says a study. The study found that, the gut microbiome plays an important role in an individual’s risk for atherosclerosis, one of the major causes of heart attack and stroke. The atherosclerosis is the build-up of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on the artery walls.
The study, published in the journal Atherosclerosis, opens the door for new treatment options for those patients with unexplained plaque build-up in the arteries. They studied a total of 316 people from three distinct groups of patients, including those with unexplained atherosclerosis who do not have any traditional risk factors but still have high levels of plaque burden.
Researchers at the University of Western Ontario in Canada examined blood levels of metabolic products of the intestinal microbiome. “What we found was that patients with unexplained atherosclerosis had significantly higher blood levels of these toxic metabolites that are produced by the intestinal bacteria,” said David Spence, professor at the University of Western Ontario.
The study noted that these differences could not be explained by diet or kidney function, pointing to a difference in the make-up of their intestinal bacteria. It indicates that the gut microbiome plays an important role in an individual’s risk for atherosclerosis, researchers said. “The finding, and studies we have performed since, present us with an opportunity to use probiotics to counter these compounds in the gut and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Gregor Reid.
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