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Gut bacteria influence your cholesterol levels!

Have you been told that your cholesterol is high or that you have a poor ratio of good to bad cholesterol? If so, you’re not alone. Let’s delve into an often-overlooked aspect of cholesterol management, the impact of your gut microbiome.

Cholesterol has numerous functions in the body and is crucial to our survival. The body works to maintain a fine balance between production, usage and disposal. However, various factors can upset homeostasis leading to high levels of certain types of cholesterol which can increase the risk of heart disease.

Your cholesterol levels are governed by many factors including genetics, age, medication, certain health conditions, activity levels, and diet. But did you know that your gut bacteria have a significant role to play in regulating cholesterol levels?1https://bmcbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12915-019-0715-8

How do gut bacteria do this?

  1. By producing short-chain fatty acids (as a result of digesting fibre) such as butyrate which can inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver and promote the excretion of cholesterol from the body.7https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9779842/
  2. By modifying bile acids, certain gut bacteria can reduce the absorption of dietary cholesterol, lowering its levels in the body.8https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6426790/
  3. Absorbing cholesterol into their membranesLactobacillus bacteria can absorb cholesterol into their cell membranes which prevents it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.9https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022030210001116
  4. Certain gut bacteria help to maintain a healthy gut barrier, which is crucial for preventing the absorption of excess cholesterol.

How to improve your gut microbiome

Research shows that it is the combination of a diverse gut microbiome as well as dietary intake of plant foods that has the most positive influence on cholesterol levels. For more detailed information on how to improve your diet in order to reduce high cholesterol, read Claire’s – Help, I’ve got High Cholesterol! 8 Tips to help and 10 things you can eat to help tackle high cholesterol

Any questions? Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat, weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm.

References

Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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