Gut Bacteria – Heart and Stomach Connection?

Best cardiologist in Hyderabad

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sarat Chandra,
May 27, 2024

heart and stomach connection

Heart and stomach connection: Bacteria are both helpful and harmful. There are plenty of helpful bacteria in our body. The majority of them are found in our gut. The good bacteria in the gut help in digestion and absorption of some nutrients in the body. They are involved in keeping us healthy both physically and mentally. The bad ones cause diseases.

Gut Microbiome

Bacteria that are present in the gut are normal microbial flora of the human body. They are mostly confined to the digestive tract. They help in the breakdown of food and turn macronutrients into substances that can be easily absorbed and assimilated by the body. The quality of food, the supply of food, the surroundings in which you live and several other factors affect the growth of gut microbes.

Fighting the Good Fight

In the gut, there are two types of bacteria – good bacteria and bad ones: the ones that cause disturbances in the gut. The good thing about good bacteria is that they keep bad bacteria or pathogenic bacteria in check by never allowing them to overgrow and overpower the good bacteria. In general, good bacteria multiply aggressively by not providing food and space for the unhealthy ones to grow and flourish. In this way, the good bacteria help maintain equilibrium in the gut.

Unhealthy Balance

Good bacteria usually take care of your gut health, but sometimes the bad bacteria gain the ground and start multiplying aggressively and progressively – overpowering the good bacteria. In this way, the bad ones grow excessively and their numbers increase manifolds. Too much of a certain kind of bad gut bacteria may cause ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). The unhealthy balance of gut bacteria has become a tough challenge for researchers across the globe who are relentlessly working hard to find ways and novel treatment methods that can specifically target bad bacteria in the gut.

Heart and Stomach Connection

According to some research studies, there may be a possible link between gut bacteria, a non-vegetarian diet, and heart disease. Gut bacteria make a chemical that is converted into trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) by the liver – this chemical may be responsible for the build-up of cholesterol in the lining of the blood vessels. Those who eat red meat and eggs are at an increased risk of plaque formation in the blood vessels due to the activity of certain gut bacteria.  According to a robust study conducted by Cleveland Clinic and published in the journal Cell – a new compound (3,3-dimethyl-1-butanol – DMB) found in extra virgin Olive oil and red wine would one day be the first-of-its-kind compound to help prevent heart disease. This compound is capable of lowering TMAO (heart-harming metabolite from the gut bacteria) levels significantly and thus helps in inhibiting atherosclerosis – plaque formation in the arteries.

Phenylacetylglutamine (PAGln)

Gut bacteria-derived product PAGln can increase platelet activity and thrombosis  (blood clot formation) potential. High levels of this compound are associated with coronary atherosclerosis and the risk of CVD. Elevated levels of PAGln have been shown to increase the risk of coronary in-stent restenosis. In patients who have coronary artery disease, this factor can lead to a worse prognosis [2].

Gut Bacteria and Your Kidneys

In the general population, CKD is increasing. Modern sedentary lifestyles and changes in the environment in the last decade have led to the development of diabetes and hypertension – the leading causes of CKD across the globe. Surprisingly alterations in the gut microbial balance are now emerging as a potential risk factor for chronic kidney disease [3].

Alterations in gut microbiota composition and structure can affect kidney physiology and pathology. This can be attributed to the retention of uremic toxins [trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), p-cresyl sulfate (PCS), and indoxyl sulfate (IS)] produced by the gut bacteria.

Excess amounts of TMAO may also be linked to chronic kidney disease (CKD). Individuals who are suffering from chronic kidney disease may find it difficult to get rid of this compound. According to several research studies and published articles excess amount of TMAO may lead to chronic kidney disease and it could be one of the risk factors for CKD.

Changes in the microbiota composition and structure is known as dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is the major factor for inflammation, endotoxemia, and cardiovascular conditions. These conditions are associated with chronic kidney disease.


Heart and stomach connection: Restoring and balancing gut microbiota by using robust therapeutic strategies involves the use of prebiotics and probiotics. In addition to other approaches for the restoration of heart health, supplementation with probiotics could be beneficial.

An alternative therapeutic strategy for the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients involves restoring gut bacteria by targeting the imbalance (dysbiosis).

Many research studies have shown that targeting the imbalance in the gut microbiota through the use of prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics (a mixture of prebiotics & probiotics) as well as dietary guidance could make CKD better and prevent the progression of renal damage.


  1. Gut Microbiota and Cardiovascular Disease: Evidence on the Metabolic and Inflammatory Background of a Complex Relationship.
    Nesci A, Carnuccio C, Ruggieri V, D’Alessandro A, Di Giorgio A, Santoro L, Gasbarrini A, Santoliquido A, Ponziani FR.
  2. The impact of gut microbiota on kidney function and pathogenesis.
    Fariba Mahmoodpoor, Yalda Rahbar Saadat1, Abolfazl Barzegari c 1,

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