There’s a lot more happening in your gut than you might think. Sure, our digestive system moves food through the body, extracting nutrients and eliminating waste. But there’s actually a significant portion of calories we ingest that don’t get absorbed and instead are used to feed our gut bacteria. This inner microbiome creates its own type of waste: metabolites that can be absorbed into the bloodstream and pumped throughout the rest of the body.
We’re finding some of these compounds can impact everything from obesity and diabetes to blood pressure and heart disease—it’s astounding to realize the far-reaching effects on whole-body health that all start within the gut.
Today’s guest onThe Doctor’s Farmacy is here to explain that connection on a deeper level. Dr. Stanley Hazen is both the chair of the Department of Cellular & Molecular Medicine at the Lerner Research Institute and section head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation at the Heart and Vascular Institute of the Cleveland Clinic. He’s published more than 400 peer-reviewed articles and has over 50 patents from his pioneering discoveries in atherosclerosis and inflammatory disease. Dr. Hazen made the seminal discovery linking microbial pathways to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease, which we talk much about in this fascinating episode.
So how did a preventative cardiologist start looking south, towards the gut? Dr. Hazen’s passion for research had him investigating chemical signals in the blood that might predict the development of disease. His discovery of TMAO, a bacterial metabolite, revealed the surprising link between the gut microbiome and heart disease.
Throughout our discussion, we explore the dietary influence on TMAO levels in the body and what kinds of risks this compound is linked to. From red meat to broccoli, we talk about the foods high in certain nutrients that can be broken down into this metabolite and how to use TMAO tests to customize your nutritional plan. Dr. Hazen also shares the genetic side of the story and helps us understand why two people eating an identical diet may have extremely different health outcomes.
And you know I love any chance to talk about fat, so we dive into some research on the high-quality fats that are abundant in the Mediterranean diet and how they can change your health for the better compared to a low-fat diet. Plus, Dr. Hazen gives us his cornerstone for building a healthy lifestyle and much, much more.
I hope you’ll tune in for this valuable episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD