Do you consider yourself a metabolically healthy person? How would you tell if you are healthy or not? Is it the numbers on the scale, on your blood pressure or blood test? Is it if you can run up several flights of stairs without stopping to catch your breath? The World Health Organization’s defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being […]”. Research has shown that if you integrate habits such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping a healthy body weight, not drinking too much alcohol, and not smoking, these can be key to feeling happy and healthy.
Metabolic Health Markers
Metabolic health is one of the measures of good health. It involves different organs, such as the liver, intestinal tract, the body’s fat stores, and heart and brain tissue. Metabolic health is defined by the good functioning of overall metabolism, ensuring both quality of life and longevity. Several metabolic markers need to be considered to measure metabolic health. Examples of these markers are blood sugar, blood pressure, triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and waist circumference. For optimal health, a score within the healthy range of these measures is desired.
Metabolic Health and the Gut Microbiota
Scientific evidence is pointing towards the gut microbiota as a modulator of host metabolism. In industrialized populations, several studies demonstrated a reduced gut microbial diversity compared to more traditional population, correlating with a rise in the prevalence of metabolic disorders. It has been demonstrated that in metabolic disorders, the gut microbiota is disrupted compared to healthy populations. The abundance and diversity of the gut microbiota is altered; therefore, the gut microbiota loses some of its functions that normally maintains a healthy metabolism.
These differences in the gut composition, due to populations’ lifestyle and diet, can be factors leading to obesity, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Furthermore, these conditions are intrinsically linked, as about 60-70% of patients who are obese are dyslipidemic. Individuals with type 2 diabetes have a twofold increased risk for cardiovascular disease and it is the principal cause of death in type 2 diabetes patients.
The gut microbiota seems to influence metabolic health, which in turns is important for overall individual health. And as far as gut microbiota is involved, probiotics can play a role.
Several studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of probiotics for cardiovascular health, and more specifically for the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels. Learn more in our next blog article on how probiotics can support heart health.
SOURCES: Bays, et al. Obesity, adiposity, and dyslipidemia: a consensus statement from the National Lipid Association. Journal of clinical lipidology, 2013, vol. 7, no 4, p. 304-383. Abdul-ghani, et al. Cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes: has the dawn of a new era arrived? Diabetes care, 2017, vol. 40, no 7, p. 813-820. Culpepper, et al. (2019) Three probiotic strains exert different effects on plasma bile acid profiles in healthy obese adults: randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study. Beneficial Microbes: 1-14. Michalickova, et al.(2018) Effects of Probiotic Supplementation on Selected Parameters of Blood Prooxidant-Antioxidant Balance in Elite Athletes: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study. J Hum Kinet; 6 4:111 122.