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  • A high-fat diet disrupts the biology of the gut's inner lining and its microbial communities -- and promotes the production of a metabolite that may contribute to heart disease, according to a study published Aug. 13 in the journal Science.
  • The discoveries in animal models support a key role for the intestines and microbiota in the development of cardiovascular disease, said Mariana Byndloss, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The intestines, she noted, have been relatively understudied by scientists seeking to understand the impact of obesity. "Before COVID, obesity and metabolic syndrome were considered the pandemic of the 21st century. Right now, roughly 40% of the U.S. population is obese, and that percentage is predicted to climb," Byndloss said. "Our research has revealed a previously unexplored mechanism for how diet and obesity can increase risk of cardiovascular disease -- by affecting the relationship between our intestines and the microbes that live in our gut."

"It was known that exposure to a high-fat diet causes dysbiosis -- an imbalance in the microbiota favoring harmful microbes, but we didn't know why or how this was happening," Byndloss said. "We show one way that diet directly affects the host and promotes the growth of bad microbes."

To read the article: Study reveals missing link between high-fat diet, microbiota and heart disease

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