Researchers suggest treating heart disease through the gut

Researchers suggest treating heart disease through the gutResearchers for the Cleveland Clinic have found that by targeting microbes in the gut it could lead to heart disease prevention brought on by nutrients in a person’s diet – this is the first time this mode of treatment has been discovered. Nutrients which can contribute to heart disease are commonly found in eggs, red meat and high-fat dairy products.

The researchers uncovered that trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) – a byproduct of digesting animal fats – is linked with atherosclerosis and heart disease. A naturally occurring inhibitor called DMB – 3,3-dimethyl-1-butanol is found in olive oil and grape-seed oils and can reduce TMAO levels as seen in studies conducted on mice.


The findings may offer new treatment and prevention techniques for heart disease which is the number one killer of Americans.

Research lead, Dr. Stanley Hazen, said, “Many chronic diseases like atherosclerosis, obesity and diabetes are linked to gut microbes. These studies demonstrate the exciting possibility that we can prevent or retard the progression of diet-induced heart diseases starting in the gut. This opens the door in the future for new types of therapies for atherosclerosis, as well as other metabolic diseases.”

The study suggests by limiting or inhibiting TMAO it could better prevent diet-induced atherosclerosis. Dr. Hazen concluded, “We were able to show that ‘drugging the microbiome’ is an effective way to block this type of diet-induced heart disease. The inhibitor prevents formation of a waste product produced by gut microbes, leading to lowering of TMAO levels and prevention of diet-dependent atherosclerosis. This is much like how we use statins to inhibit cholesterol synthesis in human cells.”


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.