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January 26, 2013

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Sometimes improvements are not from the compounds themselves. This work was a neat bit of lateral thinking:

Nat Commun. 2012 December 4; 3: 1245.
doi: 10.1038/ncomms2266
PMCID: PMC3538954
"Symptomatic atherosclerosis is associated with an altered gut metagenome"

In people who have fewer heart attacks and strokes there are often higher levels of lycopene and betacarotene in the body fat, but adding those to the diet does not serve to
confer those specific protections in study (though some other studies find that for certain other things higher antioxidant intakes are helpful). So, the researchers got thinking about what else could cause higher levels of those antioxidants in the body. Well, one thing is being able to better provide the antioxidant within the body. Low, and behold, the intestinal bacteria that are better at creating these antioxidants are also higher in people who have reduced stroke and heart attack risk AND these species of bacteria also are less likely to make inflammatory compounds and more likely to make anti-inflammatory compounds. The positive effect appears to be more due to the anti-inflammatory compounds. The work is in the Dec 4th "Nature Communications" and available for free here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538954/

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