Preventing heart disease through your gut

Author: Ivanhoe Newswire
Published: Updated:

More than 650,000 people in the United States die from heart disease, which is one out of every four deaths.

Now, researchers are looking to the gut and an FDA-approved drug to treat inflammatory bowel disease to aid in the prevention of heart disease.

Lots of junk food and lots of sugar are staples in the standard American diet.

In fact, 63 percent of calories consumed by Americans come from refined and processed foods, 25 percent come from animal-based foods and only 12 percent come from plant-based foods.

“That diet is changing how the microbes that live in your gut work,” said Marianna Byndloss, assistant professor of pathology, microbiology, and immunology at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “They’re using components of that diet and then producing some products that induce inflammation in your heart and in your arteries and cause cardiovascular disease.”

That’s why researchers at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center are looking at a drug used to treat inflammatory bowel disease to fix the microbes, or bacteria, in the gut.

“A drug called five-amino salicylic acid, or 5-ASA, which is a drug that restores the health of the intestines and prevent the microbes from producing these bad metabolites,” Byndloss said.

In animal studies, the drug increased the levels of good bacteria and decreased the bad bacteria in the gut.

The researchers are also looking at how improving the health of these gut microbes can lower the risk for colorectal cancer. Professor Byndloss says the best diet for healthy gut microbes is rich in vegetables, grains and fiber.

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