Did you ever think that what goes on in your gut could affect your heart? It may seem far-fetched, but it’s not. Think about it: the intestinal lining is connected to the bloodstream, which acts as a direct communication line with the heart and the rest of the body.
Recent studies have found an interesting gut-heart connection. When gut bacteria break down phosphatidyl choline from lecithin, a common dietary ingredient found in foods like eggs, dairy, meat, fish and soy, a metabolite called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is formed. TMAO promotes atherosclerosis, and higher amounts of this metabolite in the blood increase the risk of heart disease.
This is an interesting study, but there are many questions that still need to be answered. Which bacteria are more likely to produce this TMAO? How does modifying gut bacteria change the heart disease risk? More studies are needed to determine this, but researchers suggest that probiotics may be used in the future for preventing heart disease.
It’s exciting science, though still in the early stages. But the overall message is clear: what happens in your gut affects the rest of your body. No question.