Study shows link between gut bacteria and cholesterol

In the past, this blog has reviewed many of the benefits of gut bacteria, from promoting a healthy digestive system to potentially reducing the likelihood of certain food allergies. Researchers are routinely investigating the functions of probiotics, as well as the burgeoning field of prebiotics (which essentially feed this good bacteria), making new discoveries about how these compounds can promote long-term health.

In a recent study conducted at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, researchers discovered that gut bacteria may play a part in moderating a widespread health concern: high cholesterol. Because high levels of cholesterol – namely, fatty arterial buildup – can substantially increase the risk of heart disease, learning more about how to address this issue is a great priority among medical professionals.

Thus far, many people are aware of how to avoid cholesterol in terms of their dietary choices. However, this study may prove beneficial in managing the damage that can be done by this build up.

"Drugs that reduce cholesterol levels have, in recent years, greatly reduced deaths from cardiovascular disease," professor Fredrick Bäckhed said in a press release. "Our study is a step forward because we have shown how gut bacteria regulate the formation of bile acids from cholesterol."

Bäckhed and his research team reportedly found that a specific protein in the lower intestine was responsible for a signal that decreased the synthesis of bile acid in the liver.

Though further research is required to determine the nature of this relationship between gut bacteria, cholesterol and related issues like obesity, diabetes and heart disease, Bäckhed expressed optimism about how these finding may influence future treatments for these concerns.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 at 5:00 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.