Heart disease: Poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise, or diseases affect gut health and risk

Heart disease and diet are synonymous, but the concept is a little more complex. The focus on gut health has increased in recent times due to its myriad links to overall health and well-being. From efficient digestion to a stronger immune system and overall mood of a person; gut health is essential. It has also been shown to have a big impact on your heart health, four key factors that can hamper the whole process.

Scientists have found that poor gut health increases the risk of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris and heart failure.

Leading an unhealthy lifestyle that includes poor diet, smoking, lack of physical activity, or illness can upset the balance of the microbiome, further fueling a number of heart problems.

When these four risk factors are evident, a person’s microbiome is affected, producing compounds that can trigger multiple chronic non-communicable disorders in people at high genetic risk.

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Previous research has already found that the gut microbiome is altered in people with chronic heart disease.

The researchers then identified compounds produced by the diseased microbiome, for example a bacterial compound called trimethylamine (TMA) which, after modification in the liver of the human host, causes arteriosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is the thickening or hardening of the arteries and is caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.

As it builds up in the arteries, the walls of the arteries become thickened and stiff.


In the study, the researchers recruited 1,241 middle-aged people from Denmark, France and Germany, including healthy people, people with obesity and type 2 diabetes but without a diagnosis of heart disease, and patients suffering from myocardial infarction, angina pectoris or heart failure.

The researchers quantified about 700 different bacterial species and estimated their functions in the gut microbiome and compared these results to more than 1,000 compounds circulating in the blood, many of these compounds coming from the inner gut chemistry factory. .

“We found that about half of these gut bacteria and blood compounds were changed by drug treatment and were not directly linked to heart disease or early stages of disease such as diabetes or obesity occurring before diagnosis. of heart disease,” Professor Pedersen said.

He added: “Of the remaining half, about 75% of gut microbiome disturbances occurred in the early stages of overweight disease and type 2 diabetes, several years before patients noticed symptoms of heart disease.” .

How to improve gut health to reduce the risk of heart disease

A recent study published in February 2020 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports that reduced consumption of animal-based foods and a plant-based diet may lead to a lower risk of coronary heart disease by influencing the pattern of the microbiome intestinal to promote beneficial species.

Evidence for a plant-based diet emerged in the 1980s, in a very small study of 22 people.

It revealed that four participants had reversal of the disease in their arteries after following a very strict plant-based diet.

“Intervention in humans and rodents showed that an imbalanced gut microbiome at different stages of heart disease development can be altered and partially restored by eating a more plant-based, energy-controlled diet, avoiding smoking, and respecting daily exercise,” advised Professor Pedersen.

“Remember that a plant-based diet is not automatically healthy,” added British Heart Foundation dietitian Victoria Taylor.

“Too much saturated fat, sugar and salt from any source can harm your health.

“There are a growing number of plant-based manufactured snack foods available, from coconut cupcakes and yogurts to vegan burgers, pizzas and nuggets.

“It’s always important to read food labels and understand what you’re eating.”

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