Gut Microbiome May Play Role in BMI, HDL Cholesterol Levels

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Gut Microbiome May Play Role in BMI, HDL Cholesterol Levels
Gut Microbiome May Play Role in BMI, HDL Cholesterol Levels

FRIDAY, Sept. 11, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Intestinal microbiomes might help determine not only body fat levels, but also blood concentrations of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides, according to a study published online Sept. 10 in Circulation Research.

Jingyuan Fu, Ph.D., an associate professor of genetics at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, and colleagues based their findings on 893 adults ranging in age from 18 to 80. Fu's team analyzed fecal samples to get a snapshot of each person's intestinal microbiome.

Overall, the researchers found 34 types of bacteria that were associated with triglycerides and HDL levels, and with body mass index (BMI). The investigators estimated that the gut microbiome explained 4 to 6 percent of the variance in BMI, triglycerides, and HDL across the study group.

A few of the bacteria highlighted in the study are known to be involved in metabolizing bile acids that affect cholesterol levels. But Fu told HealthDay that much more research is needed to understand how different gut bacteria function in relation to cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease. "At the current stage, this field is still in its infancy," Fu said.

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