Certain Gut Bacteria Linked to Reduced Cholesterol Levels and Heart Disease Risk, New Study Reveals

by Ella

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital, suggests that specific gut bacteria may play a role in lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Published in Cell, the study sheds light on the potential impact of the gut microbiome on cardiovascular health.

Researchers, including members of Ramnik Xavier’s lab and Broad’s Metabolomics Platform, analyzed metabolites and microbial genomes from over 1,400 participants enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study. This long-term project focuses on identifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The team identified a group of bacteria known as Oscillibacter, which possess the ability to metabolize cholesterol in the gut. Individuals with higher levels of Oscillibacter in their gut showed lower cholesterol levels.


“Our research integrates findings from human subjects with experimental validation to ensure we achieve actionable mechanistic insight that will serve as starting points to improve cardiovascular health,” stated Ramnik Xavier, a core institute member at the Broad and professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.


The study, co-authored by postdoctoral researcher Chenhao Li and research scientist Martin Stražar from Xavier’s lab, offers new insights into the relationship between gut microbes and metabolic processes, particularly in the context of cholesterol metabolism. By combining shotgun metagenomic sequencing with metabolomics, the researchers identified thousands of associations between gut microbes and metabolic traits.


One notable finding was the abundance of Oscillibacter bacteria in the gut, which correlated with lower cholesterol levels. Further investigation revealed the biochemical pathways through which Oscillibacter metabolizes cholesterol. The team also identified another bacterial species, Eubacterium coprostanoligenes, that contributes to reducing cholesterol levels. Understanding these microbial interactions could inform future therapeutic strategies for managing cardiovascular health.


“The large number of genes of unknown function in the gut microbiome presents gaps in our ability to predict metabolic functions,” explained Chenhao Li. “Our work highlights the possibility of discovering additional sterol metabolism pathways modified by gut microbes, bringing us closer to a mechanistic understanding of how microbes interact with the host.”

While the study underscores the potential role of gut bacteria in modulating cholesterol levels, further research is needed to explore therapeutic interventions targeting specific microbial pathways. By elucidating the intricate connections between the gut microbiome and cardiovascular health, researchers aim to develop more effective strategies for preventing and managing heart disease.



Wellfoodrecipes is a professional gourmet portal, the main columns include gourmet recipes, healthy diet, desserts, festival recipes, meat and seafood recipes, etc.

【Contact us: [email protected]

Copyright © 2023