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Are gut bacteria linked to heart health?

August 01, 2018

Ask the doctor

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 Image: © metamorworks/Getty Images

Q. I heard on TV that bacteria in a person's gut might cause heart disease. How could that possibly be true?

A. I can understand your skepticism, and I shared it until recently. We've known for nearly two centuries that every human being carries various microbes (bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms) on us and inside us. However, we've long thought they were just freeloaders, taking advantage of the warmth and nutrients our body provided them, not having any effect on our health.

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