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Physicians Gut-Heart Connection

The relevance of gut health to cardiometabolic health cannot be overstated.

It is known that untreated inflammatory bowel diseases (e.g., ulcerative colitis, celiac disease) can increase risk for heart attack, stroke, and death related to cardiovascular disease. Studies now show an important connection between metabolism, gut microbial composition, and cardiovascular risk.1,2 The gastrointestinal tract and its resident microbes (collectively, the microbiota) are the seat of the body’s immune surveillance system, protecting the body from millions of antigens (e.g., foods, environmental toxins) passing through each day. The intestinal microbiota is thus intimately involved in mucosal immunity. Shifts in its composition or that of its metabolites have been directly implicated in chronic inflammatory conditions that affect heart health:3-10

·  Dyslipidemia

·  Atherosclerosis

·  Diabetes

·  High BMI

·  Insulin Resistance

·  Chronic Kidney Disease

·  High Blood Pressure

·  Fatty Liver Disease

·  Heart Failure


  1. Wu, et al. Risk of cardiovascular disease in inflammatory bowel disease. Exp Ther Med 2017;13:395–400.
  2. Yamashita T, et al.  Gut microbiota and coronary artery disease. Int Heart J 2016;57:663–671.
  3. Hand TW, et al. Linking the microbiota, chronic disease, and the immune system. Trends Endocrinol Metab 2016;27(12):831–843.
  4. Fu J, et al. The gut microbiome contributes to a substantial proportion of the variation in blood lipids. Circ Res 2015;117(9):817–824.
  5. Pedersen HK, et al. Human gut microbes impact host serum metabolome and insulin sensitivity. Nature 2016;535(7612):376–381.
  6. Piya MK, et al. Metabolic endotoxemia: is it more than just a gut feeling? Curr Opin Lipidol 2013;24(1):78–85.
  7. Wong JMW. Gut microbiota and cardiometabolic outcomes: influence of dietary patterns and their associated components. Am J Clin Nutr 2014;100(suppl):369S–377S.
  8. Pevsner- Fischer M, et al. The gut microbiome and hypertension. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens 2017;26(1):1–8.
  9. Serino M, et al. Far from the eyes, close to the heart: dysbiosis of gut microbiota and cardiovascular consequences. Curr Cardiol Rep 2014;16:540.
  10. Pasini E, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2016;4(3):221–227.