Heal Your Gut, Help Your Heart
In spirit of February being Heart Health Month, we’d like to shine a spotlight on the link between gut health and heart health – a very real and very important reason to start caring for your gut as soon as possible!
At first thought, gut health and heart disease may seem unrelated. But – as it turns out – the friendly bacteria living in our intestines may offer more benefits to our health and heart than ever imagined. Recent studies confirm that there is an increasing association between gut health and heart disease.
How? Inflammation in the gut can drive an inflammatory response in blood vessels that run to and from the heart. Gut inflammation can be driven by a variety of factors such as stress, food sensitivities, antibiotics, toxic exposures, infections and more! Too much of these negative effects break down our cells and damage our tissues, leading to inflammation and plaque build-up.
This inflammation can lead to a hardening of the arteries, ultimately leading to heart disease. Many recent studies on heart disease have found that inflammation is more related to heart disease than elevated levels of cholesterol!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US with around 611,105 deaths each year. Coronary heart disease costs the US $108.9 billion each year and is the most common type of heart disease.
That said, when we talk about the relationship between the gut health and heart disease, we should also focus our attention on a condition called leaky gut.
Leaky Gut, Endotoxins & Heart Disease
“Leaky Gut Syndrome” is said to have symptoms including bloating, gas, cramps, food sensitivities, aches and pains – to name a few.
One possible result of leaky gut is increased intestinal permeability, which can happen when tight junctions in the gut, which control what passes through the lining of the small intestine, don’t work properly. Similar to how a cut in the skin can allow dangerous bacteria to enter the bloodstream, having leaky gut allows toxins to leak into the bloodstream.
Once the lining of the gut wall becomes permeable, something called an endotoxin can get into the bloodstream. Endotoxins are gut-derived, and are found in the cell wall of many disease-causing bacteria. When these bacteria die, the endotoxin is released. Then the permeable leaky gut lining allows endotoxins to escape into the bloodstream.
Once endotoxins have been released into the bloodstream, our immune systems react strongly. When endotoxins are detected, the immune system will send a message to the body to begin an inflammatory response – in an effort to protect itself. However, endotoxins can become lodged in human tissue for years, continuously igniting an inflammatory immune response which threatens (becomes destructive to) our overall health instead of protecting it.
While studies show an increase risk of heart disease in celiac and Crohn’s patients, the truth is that anyone can have a leaky gut. Stress, over-eating, gut infections, physical trauma and food poisoning all can lead to a leaky gut.
So how can you fight cardiovascular disease? Reduce the chance of inflammation by boosting your body’s bacteria…starting in the gut!
Tips to Improve Gut Health and Support Heart Health
Here are a few tips to help groom your gut and reduce the onset of inflammation:
Take a daily probiotic. Probiotics – the supplemental form of healthy bacteria – are a key daily component to your diet that help increase your body’s supply and quality of healthy bacteria, thereby helping to reduce your risk of heart disease. Just Thrive Probiotic is a unique, “true probiotic” formulation that contains strains naturally designed to survive the harsh stomach environment and thrive in the body’s digestive tract, supporting the body’s ability to improve the growth of its own strains of healthy and beneficial bacteria. In fact, the strains used in Just Thrive Probiotic were the subject of a university double blind human clinical trial on leaky gut – the results showed reversal of leaky gut (endotoxin response in the bloodstream) within 30 days! We are not aware of any other probiotic on the market that has such a study.
Eat fermented foods. In addition to a daily probiotic, the incorporation of fermented foods can also provide good bacteria that can help reduce inflammation and fight disease. Fermented foods are naturally rich in beneficial bacteria and can help balance your inner ecosystem to further reduce your risk of heart disease.
Read every label. Eat a whole-foods, plant-based, high-fiber diet to give your gut the nutrients it needs to functional optimally. Then, try eliminating common food allergens like gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, yeast, soy, and peanuts. Finally, reduce your sugar intake. Period. End of sentence. Reduce your sugar!