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New Research Shows Probiotic Bacteria Reduces Heart Damage and Heart Failure Following Heart Attack

New research published online last week in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure demonstrates the use of a strain of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (a probiotic organism) to reduce heart damage and failure following myocardial infarction. The study was authored by Xiaohong Tracey Gan and the research team and was performed on laboratory rats used in cardiac research. Typically, following loss of blood flow to the heart muscle from coronary artery occlusion, the left ventricle begins to enlarge or hypertrophy. This enlargement of the heart eventually leads to heart failure as the enlarged muscle does not have an adequate blood supply and becomes very inefficient at pumping (ejection fraction is the measure of the heart’s efficiency). The researchers found that L. rhamnosus reduced the hypertrophy, helped prevent heart failure, and preserved ejection fraction compared to the control animals that had myocardial infarction but not the probiotic. The ratio of leptin to adiponectin concentration in plasma is a measure of atherosclerotic plaque formation, and was elevated in control animals with myocardial infarction but not in those given probiotics; the administration of Lactobacillus rhamnosus prevented this increase. This indicates a reduced tendency to form plaque and continue to occlude arteries and have a second heart attack. The researchers state that the results show promise for the use of probiotics as a therapy for myocardial infarction. That is a fascinating conclusion, and begs the question: since probiotics are devoid of harmful side effects, why wait till after a heart attack? It interesting to see medical research validating natural and alternative healthcare methods and naturally healthy practices. This study is another compelling piece of the puzzle that demonstrates how probiotic bacteria are of vital importance to human health! Here is a link to the study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24625365