Harvard Heart Letter

Gut microbes may affect heart disease risk

But studies in rodents suggesting a link may not play out in people.

You never eat alone. Instead, you share every meal or snack with an entire community — trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that live in your digestive system. A provocative study suggests that these microorganisms may affect the development of artery-clogging atherosclerosis.

How vast is this ever-changing community of microbes? For every one of your body's cells, there are 10 microbes living in your gut and mouth, on your skin, and elsewhere. It's a cozy relationship. You give them food and a warm place to live. They return the favor by breaking down toxins, crowding out invaders, manufacturing certain vitamins and amino acids, and training your immune system.

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