A new study details a “clear link” between taking a common cholesterol-lowering drug and healthier gut bacteria,media reported. While more research is needed to understand the full implications of this finding, the study suggests that certain drugs may be a useful preventive treatment for people with less healthy gut bacteria, which may help reduce or prevent diseases.
The new study, from the University of Gothenburg, looked at the potential link between gut bacteria and cardiovascular disease. The scientists studied data on more than 2,000 European adults and labeled those with less beneficial gut bacteria as “Bact2.”
Previous studies of gut bacteria and their health-protective effects have shown that people in the “Bact2” group are more likely to develop certain diseases, including autoimmune and inflammatory diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome and multiple sclerosis. The team noted that 18 percent of obese patients in the study were in the Bact2 group, compared with 4 percent of normal-weight adults.
Notably, the researchers found that participants who received statin stylus, a treatment that lowered cholesterol levels, had improved intestinal bacterial health. But they point out that additional research will be necessary to prove whether the drug-induced changes are present, but the findings show the potential for new preventive drugs for the gut microbiome.
The study’s author, Professor Fredrik B?ckhed, explained:
While the study does n’etre, it’s exciting to see how a mature, clinically used drug can change the gut microbiome. Time will tell whether statins directly affect bacteria in the gut, or whether these drugs affect both the gut and immune cells, helping to change the microbiome.