A new study has found that one of the good bacteria found in the human gut could potentially reduce the risk of heart disease.
According to the study, the bacteria’s activities in the intestines reduces the production of a chemical linked to the development of clogged arteries. When it is manufactured in the gut, the chemical enters the bloodstream and travels to the liver, where it gets converted to its most harmful form.
Researchers from Ohio State University traced the bacteria’s behaviour to a family of proteins that they suspect could explain other ways that good gut organisms can contribute to human health.
Scientists believe this microbe Eubacterium limosum could be used for therapeutic purposes in future.
“Over the last decade, it has become apparent that bacteria in the human gut influence our health in many ways. The organism we studied affects health by preventing a problematic compound from becoming a worse one. It’s too soon to say whether this bacterium could have therapeutic value. But that’s what we’re working toward,” Joseph Krzycki, senior author and professor of microbiology at Ohio State, was quoted as saying by Science Daily.
The researchers attribute the bacteria’s beneficial behaviour to a protein called MtcB, an enzyme that cuts specific molecules off compounds to help bacteria generate energy and survive. The process is called demethylation, and involves the removal of one methyl group — a carbon atom surrounded by three hydrogen atoms — to change a compound’s structure or function.
The research is to be published in an edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
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