Cholesterol: The Good and Bad__ The trouble arises when the balance between the two cholesterol carriers gets out of whack. High LDL-cholesterol that result from poor diet, age or genetics may result in plaques in the arteries that can burst, leading to heart attack or stroke. Due to its connection with heart disease it’s no wonder that LDL-cholesterol is referred to as “bad” cholesterol. Indeed, a 1% drop in LDL-cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 3%. The Way to Our Hearts Through Our Gut What is not necessarily obvious is the role our gut plays in cholesterol and heart health.
Scientists are now studying how the microbial communities in our gut (collectively known as our microbiome) interact with each other (http://www.economist.com/node/21560523). Interestingly, for metabolic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the microbiome seems to play a vital role. Researchers now suggest that the types and levels of microbes in the gut may be used to predict a person’s chance of having a heart attack (http://www.fasebj.org/content/26/4/1727.long).