Natural Products Insider

MAR-APR 2018

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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22 INSIDER March/April 2018 Probiotics have long been used in functional foods and supplements to restore the gut's ideal microbial balance and address gastrointestinal (GI) issues. Advances in understanding of the human microbiome (the collection of trillions of microbes that live in the intestine), however, are rapidly unveiling probiotics' potential to promote and support heart health. Life sciences companies are harnessing this power to develop non- pharmaceutical solutions for health problems, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, driving exciting innovation in the natural products sector. Cardiovascular Disease and Public Health Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading global cause of death, claiming almost 20 million lives each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The condition has been linked to risk factors, including abnormal blood lipid levels (high total cholesterol), triglycerides (fat in the blood) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and/or low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, all of which increase the likelihood of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure is likewise a major public health issue and the single biggest risk factor for stroke, as well as playing a signifi cant role in heart attacks. Lowering blood pressure reduces the risk of heart attack by 20 to 25 percent, stroke by 35 to 40 percent and heart failure by 50 percent. 1 The combination of high blood pressure and high cholesterol may lead to the chronic infl ammation and hardening of blood vessel walls (arteriosclerosis), which increases the probability of cardiovascular events. The Microbiome and Heart Health One of the most promising fi elds in cardiovascular science is the role that the gut microbiome has been found to play in heart health and disease. Intestinal bacteria work with the liver in a continuous, two-way relationship through what is known as the microbiome-liver axis. The liver produces bile salts to help digestion, which some microbes can modify to produce certain chemicals to aid well-being. This is important for heart health, as research shows the gut microbiome can affect blood pressure and lipids metabolism via this microbiome-liver pathway and other complex mechanisms that are only starting to be understood. 2 Most cardiovascular risk factors can be prevented with fi rst-line lifestyle and dietary changes, from not smoking to maintaining moderate exercise and a healthy diet. Probiotics for Improving Heart Health by Luis Gosalbez Supplements: Probiotics

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