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What You Can Do About Your Gut Bacteria for a Healthy BMI and Heart

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Gut bacteria affects your BMI study

A new study finds that our gut bacteria are linked to our heart health and our BMI. Here is what you can do about your gut bacteria for a healthy BMI and healthier heart.


According to Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, who spoke recently on “CBS This Morning,” a new study shows that there is a link between both our heart health and our BMI with the bacteria that each of us carries in our digestive tract.

“Basically, we have co-evolved and developed an incredible symbiotic relationship with hundreds of trillions of bacteria that live in our digestive tract,” says Dr. Narula who explains that in a recent study scientists are discovering that the bacteria we carry in our gut does even more than affect our immune system and how we digest food and absorb nutrients, but that it also has an impact on cardiovascular health and factors involved with metabolic syndrome such as our BMI (body mass index).

The study Dr. Narula is referring to examined a population cohort consisting of 893 subjects of which the species of bacteria in their intestinal tract was analyzed for species type (and the proportions of each type) to determine how BMI and blood lipid levels correlate to specific bacteria, as well as the variation of BMI and lipid levels in patients who possess specific populations of that gut bacteria.

What the researchers found was that 34 different taxonomic classes of bacteria are associated with BMI and blood lipid levels which the researchers determined suggests that the gut bacterial populations may be determining our individual BMI and blood lipid levels independent of age, gender and genetics. The significance of these findings is that they support the possibility of developing potential therapies toward altering our gut microbiome to control body mass, triglycerides and HDL levels.

Things You Can Do Toward Having Good Gut Bacteria for a Healthy BMI and Heart

Our individual gut bacteria makeup is something that has developed over our lifetime from the day we are born to the present. What helped shape the kinds of bacteria we carry can be attributed to such things as whether you were delivered vaginally or by C-section; whether you were breast-fed or bottle-fed; the environment you live in; the antibiotics you have been on when ill; and even, the use or not of hand sanitizers in your home. These are all conditions that can lead to lack of diversity in the types of bacteria in your gut.

“The more diverse your bacteria, the better your HDL and triglyceride levels,” says Dr. Narula.

In fact, controlling our gut bacterial populations is actively being researched today. The idea of the importance of how our bacteria could be part of the blame of the obesity epidemic; and therefore, a potential solution to the problem, has been addressed in multiple ways with proposals such as using thin people poop, filling our digestive tracts with appetite suppressing bacteria, and consuming certain probiotics to help dieters lose weight.

Dr. Narula tells viewers that if they want to have the right kind of good gut bacteria that will promote having a healthy BMI and Heart that they should:

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• Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables and is high in fiber

• Eat less red meat, egg yolks, high-fat dairy and processed foods

• Eat prebiotics that promote good bacteria such as asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke and bananas

• Eat probiotics that contain good bacteria such as yogurt, soft cheese, and fermented foods

For more about how your gut bacteria could be affecting your health, here are some supporting articles with additional information:

How Gut Bacteria Could Manipulate Your Mind

Does Colon Cleansing for Treating Obesity Harm Beneficial Gut Bacteria?

Fat Loving Bacteria May Be the Cause of Your Love Handles


CBS This MorningHow your gut bacteria may be linked to heart health

The Gut Microbiome Contributes to a Substantial Proportion of the Variation in Blood Lipids” Circulation Research, Sept. 11, 2015; Jingyaun Fu et al.