Most of us want to lower our cardiometabolic (CM) risk* in order to live long and healthy lives; that is, we want to have what doctors define as a low risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
What is the relationship between our gut microbiota and our cardiometabolic risk?
Little is known so far, but the study we are sharing today offers the beginnings of an answer. A study conducted on a diverse population of adults from Jamaica, South Africa, Ghana, and the United States highlights that the gut microbiota and oral microbiota are related, and that both can be used as predictors of cardiovascular risk.
Gut microbiota and oral microbiota are related, and that both can be used as predictors of cardiovascular risk
Overall, the authors show that in this cohort, there was a significant link between cardiometabolic risk and diversity of the gut microbiota. In general less diversity equated to a greater risk. Authors also found that these associations were specific to certain geographical regions, and dependent on the specific CM risk factor** being examined. For example, lower bacterial gut diversity was associated with elevated blood pressure in Ghanaians and South Africans, but associated with elevated fasted blood glucose in Jamaicans.
Authors also found that participants with a high cardiometabolic risk have a mild inflammatory state, linked to the presence of a molecule called lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which originates in bacteria and induces inflammation.
What lessons can be learned from this study for the future?
Well, the authors suggest that the bacterial intestinal profile of an individual could potentially be both predictive and also serve as a therapeutic target in at-risk individuals. It’s also important to remember that greater microbial diversity appears to reduce cardiometabolic risk. Knowing this, many of us may be wondering how to increase the diversity of our gut microbiota. The best way, according to scientists and dietitians, is to live a healthy lifestyle and eat a diet that is rich in fiber.
*Cardiometabolic risk is a condition in which the possibilities of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular (CV) disease and diabetes mellitus are significantly enhanced.
** Cardiovascular risk factors: significant waist circumference, high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar, high triglycerides and low high density lipoprotein (HDL).
Fei N, Bernabé BP, Lie L, et al. The human microbiota is associated with cardiometabolic risk across the epidemiologic transition. PLoS One. 2019;14(7):e0215262. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0215262