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  • Writer's pictureGavin Guard, Medical Director

A gut infection may be contributing to heart disease

Updated: Jan 22, 2022

A new study published recently suggests that an infection of the gut may contribute to heart disease and atherosclerosis.

Yeah, that's right. A bacterial infection of the gut called H. pylori is present in 20-90% of developing countries. It's one of the main causes of stomach ulcers.

The surprising part is that this gut infection can also have effects elsewhere in the body.

Researchers showed in one study that H. pylori infection was associated with higher risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. More specifically, those who had this infection had lower levels of HDL particles ("the good cholesterol") and potentially more cholesterol build up in places where it shouldn't be (the arteries).

This seems largely to be driven by inflammation which confirms findings that other gut imbalances (e.g. inflammatory bowel disease) and autoimmune diseases are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. In fact, the more inflammation someone has, the less "good cholesterol" they have. This may be because 25% of your "good cholesterol" is produced by your gut!

The bottom line is that gut imbalances lead to inflammation and this inflammation may negatively impact your cholesterol and other markers of heart health. Treating your gut may be the first step to improving your cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure numbers.

If you'd like help with your gut health or cholesterol levels, I'd love to talk to see how I might be able to help. You can schedule a free trial appointment by clicking here. There are pretty simple and practical ways of improving gut health and reducing inflammation and I'd like to show you how to implement these strategies.

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