Managing a healthy, well-balanced diet with lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables in it is always a good plan for maintaining heart health. A healthy mix of all food groups is essential and will help in reaping all the vital nutrients required by the body for optimal functioning. As per a recent study, lack of fruit and vegetables in diet has caused thousands of death from heart disease and strokes in the year 2010 in India. But other than this, a new study - published in the journal Nature Medicine - showed that use of a pasteurised form of Akkermansia muciniphila, which is an intestinal bacterium, may provide a greater protection from various heart-related disease risk factors.
(Also Read: 8 Most Essential Nutrients for a Healthy Heart)
The study was conducted by the research team from the University of Louvain in order to administer the bacteria to humans. For the study, 40 participants were enrolled and 32 completed the trial. The researchers analysed Akkermansia to obese participants, who all had pre-diabetestype-2 condition and metabolic syndrome; meaning, the participants had several elevated risk factors for heart-related diseases. The participants were allocated to three different groups - one: placebo group, second: those taking live bacteria, and third: those taking pasteurised bacteria. The participants were asked to maintain their regular dietary habits. Akkermansia was provided as a nutritional supplement.
The main objective of the study was to analyse the results of ingesting Akkermansia every day for three months, without any fatal risk. It was observed that the supplements were easy to ingest and there were no side effects in the groups taking live or pasteurised bacteria. According to the researchers, "the tests in humans confirm what had already been observed in mice. Ingestion of the (pasteurised) bacterium prevented the deterioration of the health status of the subjects (pre-diabetes, cardiovascular risks)."
Moreover, it was observed that a decrease in inflammation markers in the liver, a slight decrease in the body weight of the subjects (2.3 kg on average) as well as a lowering of cholesterol levels. In contrast, the metabolic parameters (insulin resistance or hypercholesterolemia) in placebo subjects continued to deteriorate over time. "This research would limit cardiovascular risks and therefore potentially have an impact on half of the population, if properly used," researchers said.
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