Researchers have found that the presence of a beneficial gut bacteria called Eubacterium limosum may have a preventative effect against heart disease.
The results of a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry have revealed the bacteria was able to reduce the amount of trimethylamine (TMA) produced within the gut. This chemical is a byproduct of the breakdown of L-carnitine — a chemical found in meat and fish — by bacteria considered unhealthy within the gut.
TMA produced in this manner is associated with atherosclerosis and other conditions linked to arterial blockage, as well as inflammation within the gut. L-carnitine itself is not unhealthy. It is used in many cases as a nutritional supplement to aid in recovery after exercise. However, the potential for inflammation and arterial blockage is a considerable risk, especially in India where heart disease is the leading cause of death by a clear margin.
The beneficial nature of the bacteria was traced to a protein called MtcB. This protein is responsible for the removal of a methyl group (a carbon atom grouped with three hydrogen atoms) in a process called demethylation. This changes the structure of the chemical, typically along with its function. In this case the effect of the demethylation is the inhibition of the production of TMA, and the reduction of the risk of diseases such as atherosclerosis.
Previous work on the E. limosum strain has revealed it to be effective in reducing inflammation through competitive inhibition of more harmful gut bacteria — effectively outcompeting them within the gut biome. This new research could demonstrate further importance in using a probiotic approach to combating India’s rising tide of noncommunicable disease (NCDs).
Health Issues India has discussed the topic in-depth in an interview with Meteoric Biopharmaceuticals founder Gaurav Kaushik. Probiotics are becoming an ever more popular means of addressing a range of health conditions, with research supporting the efficacy of many probiotic formulas as preventative treatments.
Gut health is increasingly being linked to the health of the body as a whole. For many Indians who have flocked to the cities over the last few decades in search of work, diets have drastically altered. An abundance of processed, high-calorie, low-nutrient, sugary food has predisposed many to a host of NCDs. Probiotics, coupled with a healthy diet could counter this.
Over the last 25 years, India has seen a fifty percent rise in heart disease cases according to doctors at the Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre. Heart disease accounted for 28.1 percent of all deaths in India in 2016, making it India’s most prominent killer. Any research which could reduce the risk of such conditions is a major boon in India’s struggle against heart disease.