A recent study shows that your good cholesterol level (HDL) is affected by gut bacteria which can make it more difficult to maintain heart health. The bacteria that is living in your gut can actually have an impact on your weight, cholesterol level, and body fat; all of these factors affect the health of your heart.
The research was recently published in the journal American Heart Association, as well as Circulation Research.
Human beings and microbes, including bacteria, have an interdependent relationship. Our bodies have trillions of these microbes – or microorganisms – which is ten times the amount of human cells in our body. They aid in digestion and help our immune systems and play a vital role in our health.
Jingyuan Fu, Ph.D., study lead author and associate professor of genetics at University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, said “Our study provides new evidence that microbes in the gut are strongly linked to the blood level of HDL (good cholesterol) and triglycerides and may be added as a new risk factor for abnormal blood lipids, in addition to age, gender, BMI and genetics.”
For the purposes of the study, the team of researchers used modern sequencing technology to study the link between our gut microbes and the blood lipid levels of 893 participants from the Netherlands. They found new evidence that there are 34 variant types of bacteria that effect differences in BMI (body fat), blood lipids (like triglycerides) and good cholesterol HDL (high-density lipoprotein). The gut bacteria accounted for 4.6 percent difference in BMI, six percent difference in blood lipids and four percent difference in good cholesterol levels; however, the researchers were surprised by the lack of connection between bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and the gut bacteria.
The team of researchers hope their recent discovery might open doors to therapies that can change the way gut bacteria contributes and effects BMI, cholesterol and fat (blood lipids), in order to help prevent heart disease. “We also hope our findings inspire microbiologists to continue to research the function of these bacteria and their specific role in the regulation of lipid metabolism,” Fu added.
Gut bacteria is just one influence on cholesterol and heart health. We all know that cholesterol can affect our overall health. Maintaining control of your cholesterol levels will help decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke. To better understand how to control your levels, first you need to be tested to find out your cholesterol numbers.
According to the American Heart Association, adults over the age of 20 should have their cholesterol levels tested every four to six years. The check-up can also inform you of other risk factors (like age, smoking, high blood pressure and family history) that affect your risk of stroke or heart attack in the short-term or long-term. Your cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood.
From the test you will learn about your:
If you are not sure what the difference is between HDL and LDL, now is the time to find out more, to help you decrease your negative health risks.
Cholesterol is unable to dissolve in the bloodstream. It is instead moved through the blood by lipoproteins. The two types of lipoprotein are LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). They carry the cholesterol between cells in your body.
Here are the differences between bad cholesterol and good cholesterol:
HDL – GOOD
LDL – BAD
Due to the damage caused by LDL, it is important to understand how you can boost good cholesterol levels and maintain heart health.
Here are a few foods that will help increase good cholesterol:
Along with cholesterol, having a health BMI and a strong immune system can also help decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke and improve your overall heart health. Take the necessary precautions to understand your cholesterol numbers and prevent heart disease. Speak with your healthcare practitioner about how to test your cholesterol levels and learn your risks.