Probiotics For Cardiovascular Health: Can Good Bacteria Improve Heart Function?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains a global health crisis, responsible for many deaths worldwide. In recent years, researchers have turned their attention to a surprising area of study: the gut microbiota.
Written by Tavishi Dogra|Updated : September 29, 2023 2:41 PM IST
The human gut is teeming with a diverse ecosystem of microorganisms, collectively known as the gut microbiota. These minuscule creatures play a crucial role in digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune system regulation of the body. However, their influence extends beyond the digestive tract, impacting other aspects of our health as well. Dr Debojyoti Dhar, Co-Founder and Director of Leucine Rich Bio, sheds light on recent research defining the intricate relationship between gut microbiota and cardiovascular health.
How Is The Gut Connected With The Heart?
Studies have shown that an imbalance in the gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, may contribute to chronic inflammation, obesity, and other risk factors for CVD. Inflammation, in particular, has been recognized as a critical driver of atherosclerosis, a condition that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Some gut microbe-derived metabolites have been implicated in atherosclerosis. For example, intestinal microbiota produces Trimethylamine N-oxide, and many studies have shown that this metabolite promotes atherosclerosis. Certain probiotics, live beneficial bacteria, have emerged as a potential tool to rebalance the gut microbiota and mitigate these risk factors.
Probiotics are naturally occurring or supplement-derived microorganisms that promote a healthy gut environment. They are found in various foods and dietary supplements, with well-documented benefits for digestive health. Probiotics are believed to achieve these effects by modulating the gut microbiota, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria, immune modulation and reducing the proliferation of harmful microbes. The beneficial effects of many of these probiotics are dependent on specific strains. For example, it was found that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG was the most efficient strain in reducing the plasma TMAO level in humans. Similarly, Lactobacillus reuteri V3401 was associated with lower inflammation biomarkers and a reduced risk of CVD in obese adults with metabolic syndrome.
Gut Microbiota Testing
While the potential benefits of probiotics for cardiovascular health are promising, a one-size-fits-all approach may not be practical. Personalised interventions based on individual gut microbiota profiles are necessary to harness the full potential of probiotics.
The global burden of cardiovascular disease remains a pressing public health concern. While traditional approaches to prevention and treatment have made significant strides, the emerging field of gut microbiota research offers new hope. Probiotics, with their potential to rebalance the gut microbiota and reduce risk factors for CVD, are an exciting avenue for exploration.
However, the key to unlocking the full potential of probiotics lies in personalised interventions based on individual gut microbiota profiles. As we unravel the intricate connection between our gut and heart, it becomes increasingly clear that nurturing our gut microbiota with probiotics may improve heart function and reduce the global burden of cardiovascular disease.