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Exploring the Gut Microbiome's Role in Cardiovascular Health

Written by Andrew Le, MD

UpdatedMay 29, 2024

The interconnectedness between our gut microbiota and cardiovascular disease (CVD) is gaining significant attention within the scientific community. A notable review published in "Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology" on June 20, 2022, titled "The Gut Microbiota (Microbiome) in Cardiovascular Disease and Its Therapeutic Regulation," by Md. Mominur Rahman et al., from various institutions, delve into the mechanism by which the gut microbiota influences heart health.

The World Health Organization identifies CVDs as the leading cause of death globally, with lifestyle and diet playing crucial roles in its development. Dyslipidemia, hypertension, smoking, and diabetes are among the primary risk factors contributing to atherosclerosis— a condition where arteries narrow due to plaque buildup, potentially leading to heart attacks and strokes. The review discusses how the healthcare field has advanced beyond conventional treatment methods, like statins, and is now considering the gut microbiota as a pivotal player in CVDs.

Microbial colonies within the gut produce molecules like trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), which can influence cholesterol metabolism, promoting atherosclerosis. Dietary elements containing choline, lecithin, and L-carnitine get converted by gut bacteria into TMA, later transformed into TMAO in the liver. Elevated TMAO levels are associated with an increased risk of CVD and mortality. However, diet interventions significantly impacting gut microbiota composition can alter TMAO levels, paving the way for new CVD treatment prospects.

Furthermore, the review addresses the disruption of the intestinal wall's integrity in CVD development. Proinflammatory bacterial components like lipopolysaccharides (LPS) can leak into the bloodstream due to increased intestinal permeability, amplifying systemic inflammation and potentially triggering immune responses that compound CVD risks. Early-life gut microbiota colonization is essential, and a balance between beneficial and harmful microbes is critical for cardiovascular health. The review suggests that maintaining gut microbial equilibrium could potentially offer a preventive approach to mitigate CVD risk factors.

Additionally, the authors provide insights into the prospective therapy targeting the gut microbiota. While extended use of antibiotics to inhibit TMAO may have adverse effects, such as clostridium colitis, short-term administration has shown promise in reducing thrombosis risk. The review also mentions fecal microbiota transplantation as a safe treatment for Clostridium infection and highlights the therapeutic potential of probiotics to modulate cytokine response and neuroinflammation.

The article concludes that while the relationship between the gut microbiota and cardiovascular health is complex, ongoing research and future insights could lead to innovative diagnostic and therapeutic frameworks. The realization that the gut microbiome significantly contributes to CVD underscores the need for further investigation into these microscopic organisms residing within us.

The study, edited by Yijie Dong from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and reviewed by experts from Zhejiang University and Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital, is an invaluable resource for understanding the gut-heart connection. For more detailed information, readers are directed to the full article available at Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, under the DOI: 10.3389/fcimb.2022.903570.

This article was also made possible with the help of Buoy Health, providing advanced AI technologies to deliver personalized clinical support: [Built with the help of Buoy Health].


Rahman, M. M., Islam, F., Rashid, M. H., Mamun, A. A., Rahaman, M. S., Islam, M. M., Meem, A. F. K., Sutradhar, P. R., Mitra, S., Mimi, A. A., Emran, T. B., Fatimawali, Idroes, R., Tallei, T. E., Ahmed, M., & Cavalu, S. (2022). The Gut Microbiota (Microbiome) in Cardiovascular Disease and Its Therapeutic Regulation. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 12, 903570.