Skip to comments.Gut bacteria may affect cardiovascular risk
Posted on 12/10/2012 7:22:13 PM PST by neverdem
Antioxidant-producing microbes may keep atherosclerotic plaques in place
Though atherosclerosis is an artery problem, microscopic denizens of the intestines may play a surprising role in how the disease plays out.
A new study suggests that different mixes of intestinal microbes may determine whether people will have heart attacks or strokes brought on by break-away plaque from the arteries. Compared with healthy people, heart disease patients who have had strokes or other complications of atherosclerosis carry fewer microbes that make anti-inflammatory compounds. These patients also have more bacteria that produce inflammation-triggering molecules, researchers report online December 4 in Nature Communications. Inflammation is thought to promote cardiovascular disease.
The findings may help explain why people with higher levels in their body fat of antioxidant molecules like beta-carotene and lycopene have a lower risk of developing heart disease, but simply feeding people dietary supplements containing the compounds doesnt help. It may be that a lifelong, intimate association with antioxidant-producing microbes helps some people stave off some of the worst consequences of hardened arteries.
Nearly everyone develops atherosclerosis with age. We all have it to a certain extent, says study coauthor Jens Nielsen, a bioinformatician at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.
But some people are more susceptible than others to strokes and heart attacks, even though their arteries are no more blocked than the next persons, says Fredrik Bäckhed, a microbiologist at the University of Gothenburg who also contributed to the study. The difference stems from the stability of the plaque that builds up inside blood vessels, stiffening and narrowing the vessels. When bits and pieces of plaque break off, they can block the flow of blood to the heart or brain and cause a heart attack or stroke.
Previous research suggests that gut microbes contribute to artery hardening by converting chemicals...
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencenews.org ...
This is why high flatus producers have long been known to have lower cardiovascular risk. “Beans, beans they’re good for your heart....”
FReepmail me if you want on or off my combined microbiology/immunology ping list.
I had heard a theory years ago that attempted to explain why some people with high levels of cholesterol didn't succumb to heart attacks or stroke and concluded that if you don't have inflammation in the arteries (which attracts the cholesterol and starts to cause a blockage) it dosen't really mater how high your HDL is because as long as it keeps moving through the arteries, it won't stick. Inflammation is the cause of so much disease.
I heard Dr. Oz one day tell some women on his show that if they eat beans with every meal it will get rid of inflammation in the stomach area and help them to lose weight. He told them to make chick pea muffins for breakfast if need be.
There seem to be a number of factors involved.
First, there’s inflammation in the arteries. This attracts cholestorol-carrying LDL particles, Which is what is supposed to happen. (Scar tissue is made up of cholesterol, after all.)
But if some of those LDL particles are large and fluffy, all is well. But if they are small and dense, they can penetrate the arterial wall and get stuck. (Small dense LDL particles are the result of excessive triglycerides, and excess triglycerides are the result of eating more carbs than your body can burn or store.)
Then if those LDLs remain stuck long enough for the fats that they carry to oxidize, you get more inflammation, and an immune response - white blood cells “eat” the LDLs, and die. But then don’t get cleared away, because they’re stuck in the arterial wall. Those dead cells calcify, and that’s the plaque. Interestingly enough, its mostly the poly-unsaturated fats that oxidize. Saturated fats are stable,
And what causes the initial inflammation? Lots of possibilities. High insulin levels (eating too many carbs), stress, lack of sleep, omega 3/omega 6 imbalance, etc. (Omega-3s are used to make anti-inflammatory hormones, omega-6s to make inflammatory hormones. You need both, but you need a balance between them. Oddly enough, grass-fed beef has such a balance. Processed vegetable oils - corn, soy, safflower, peanut, Canola, etc., are almost entirely omega 6.)
So, what is the primary cause of heart disease? Eating too many carbs, and too much polyunsaturated fats.
In other words, following the advice of our government health experts.
re: sources of inflammation.
Bingo. Conventional wisdom is killing a lot of people.
Well done. The underlying problem is diet, most particularly the eating of carbs. Carb eaters get sick in a variety of ways: diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc etc. Best to eat high-fat, some protein, vegetables and few carbs.
In a few years time we will drink cocktails consisting of friendly bugs to reduce the risk for various chronic diseases.