Gut microbes and humans have a symbiotic relationship. The human body contains trillions of gut bacteria, 10 times the number of human cells. These gut microbes help us to digest food and train our immune systems. Bacteria living in the gut may impact an individual's weight, fat and good cholesterol levels, necessary to help maintain a healthy heart, revealed a new research. The findings of the study suggest that microbes in the gut are strongly linked to the blood level of HDL (good cholesterol) and triglycerides.
Jingyuan Fu, associate professor of genetics at University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, "Gut bacteria may be added as a new risk factor for abnormal blood lipids, in addition to age, gender, body mass index (BMI) and genetics."
Using state-of-the-art deep sequencing technology, the research team studied the association between gut microbes and blood lipid levels in 893 people in the Netherlands. They identified 34 different types of bacteria that contributed to differences in body fat (BMI) and blood lipids such as triglycerides and the good cholesterol known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
Bacteria in the gut contributed to 4.6% of the difference in body fat, 6% in triglycerides and 4% in HDL. Fu said, "Surprisingly, gut bacteria had little relationship with bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or LDL ) or total cholesterol levels. As less than 30% of bacteria in the human gut have been cultured, we know very little about who they are and what they do. With state-of-art deep sequencing technology, we are now able to identify them."
The study findings may open the door to new therapies to alter the gut bacteria types that contribute to body weight, fat and cholesterol levels to help aid in the prevention of heart disease.
The study appeared in Circulation Research.