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Gut Health And Heart Health

Gut Health And Heart Health

I recently wrote an article about sugar, which is still in draft. The reason it is still in draft is because of new information I have come across about the role of sugar in gut health, and the subsequent problems it causes throughout the body, including the heart.

This really annoys me, because having to rewrite 1,000 words probably completely is something I don’t want to do. However, what I also don’t want to do is be one more person on the internet that writes pseudo science. I want what I write to be as close to correct as a layman can be on complex subjects. I want to be able to tell people about what enhances your health, and as a result enhances your life. I don’t want to go into great detail, because the detail cuts people off from the major message, but I don’t want to be a charlatan either, making claims like a raw food diet will cure you of cancer or some similar bullshit.

One of the best sources I find is a person I have mentioned before, call Dr Rhonda Patrick. I have mentioned her before, when I discussed mitochondrial biogenesis.  She is a great source of very high quality information about health. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, when she talks, she has so much knowledge that what she says is so information dense, it’s hard to decipher. The information is coming through at such a rate that you miss a lot.

My job (ha) is to make cutting edge health information accessible to readers, by writing to both inform and entertain. No point having the best information in the world if you don’t read it.

So with that lengthy preamble, let’s explain, to the best of my understanding, how gut health and heart health are linked.

First off, as I have stated before, the so called “experts” were wrong when they said saturated fat was bad for you. However, they weren’t completely off base. Saturated fat can be bad for you, if your gut health is poor.

This needs a fairly detailed explanation, but I’ll try to make it as clear as possible. I think it took me about 4 or 5 listens of the Rhonda Patrick/Joe Rogan clip below to fully get it.

Firstly lets talk about cholesterol. It has been demonised for years, but it actually plays an important role in cell repair. Your cell membranes are made from cholesterol, so in fact cholesterol, far from being bad, is in fact essential to your health. Now that is a brain bender isn’t it? After 40 years of people saying I need to lower cholesterol, to find it’s actually good for you.

Saturated fats – LDL fats bind to the cholesterol so that the cholesterol can be transported to the cells. However, if gut health is poor, we have a problem with this process.

It is fairly reasonably well know these days that the gut is filled with bacteria. Good bacteria and bad bacteria. To stop them getting attacked by the immune system they are protected by a barrier of a mucous like substance called mucin. When the gut barrier breaks down, the immune system kill the bacteria that overflow into the gut and and as a result endotoxins (part of the bacteria membrane) are released.

The endotoxins bind to the LDL instead of the cholesterol. The body immune system sees the LDL with the endotoxin bound to it and attacks it. Problem with this is that the LDL with endotoxin is not alive. The immune cells surround it and form plaques that are then deposited in your arteries.

But what is it that causes the gut barrier to break down? Well, sad to say, it is sugar. Sugar causes an overgrowth of the bad bacteria in the gut that overwhelms the good bacteria in the gut, causes the gut barrier to be overwhelmed and sets off the immune response. This is a fairly simplified version of how it happens and I’m sure someone who knows more about the subject could correct me, but essentially that is the  process of how gut health affects heart health.

Sadly this means that my long term love of sugar needs to end. For years I have resisted and dug my heels in, feeling that the anti sugar people were zealots. However, it’s time to concede; they may have a point. Time to cut back on chocolate biscuits at 10pm.

If you have time, check out Rhonda Patrick explaining what I’m talking about in greater detail.


About The Author


A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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