Could 'friendly' gut bacteria help fight heart disease?

July 17, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Scientists at the University of Reading are looking at ways of tackling heart disease and diabetes - through our guts.

Experts in gut at the Department of Food and Nutritional Science at Reading believe that altering the mix of bacteria in our guts could have a significant effect on cutting risks of the - a condition that frequently includes obesity and puts people at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and .

They are currently working on human trials to explore how prebiotics - that stimulate the growth of ‘good' bacteria in the gut - can prevent at-risk patients from gaining weight and increasing their risk of heart disease, stroke or diabetes.

Evidence has already indicated that gut microbes can play an important role in weight gain, with some types of bacteria helping to prevent molecules thought to play a role in weight gain from entering the blood stream.

One such molecule is the microbial cell component lipopolysaccahride, which has been observed to be elevated in cases of .

Dr Gemma Walton, one of the researchers working on the project, said: "To find alternative ways to reduce risk factors for these conditions involving the gut would be great.

"Evidence shows that gut microbes may play an important role in the metabolic syndrome, so through altering the gut bacteria we could potentially reduce people's risks of developing associated diseases - heart attacks, strokes and diabetes - currently the most lethal conditions in Europe.

"When we consider that each one of us has more bacteria cells than human cells, gut implicated answers show real potential."

Explore further: Why do the different people's bodies react differently to a high-fat diet?

Related Stories

Toxins could make you fat - depending on gut bugs

November 3, 2011

Could persistent pollutants like DDT and PCBs or chemicals found in plastics be making you fat or diabetic? The answer may depend on what sort of bacteria you have churning around in your gut, according to Cornell scientists.

Recommended for you

Discovery offers new hope to repair spinal cord injuries

April 24, 2017

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes created a special type of neuron from human stem cells that could potentially repair spinal cord injuries. These cells, called V2a interneurons, transmit signals in the spinal cord to ...

Motion sickness drug worsens motion perception

April 24, 2017

A new study led by Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers found that oral promethazine, a drug commonly taken to alleviate motion sickness, temporarily worsened vestibular perception thresholds by 31 percent, lowering one's ...

Macrophages shown to be essential to a healthy heart rhythm

April 20, 2017

A Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)-led research team has identified a surprising new role for macrophages, the white blood cells primarily known for removing pathogens, cellular debris and other unwanted materials. In ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.