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New research identifies toxic relationship between gut microbes and strokes

Gut microbiome can affect the scale of a stroke and the subsequent injuries, latest research reveals.

The American-based study explores the possible remedies that can help intercept a stroke.

The function of gut microbiome in respiratory health and infections, and the opposing impacts of TMAO (Trimethylamine N-oxide) has been extensively analysed by Dr Stanley Hazen’s team for over ten years.

Trimethylamine N-oxide is a secondary element that gets created when gut microbes break down specific nutrients that are mainly found in animal protein.

Chief researcher Dr Stanley Hazen said: “In this study we found that dietary choline and TMAO produced greater stroke size and severity, and poorer outcomes in animal models.

“Remarkably, simply transplanting gut microbes capable of making TMAO was enough to cause a profound change in stroke severity.”

In earlier research, Dr Hazen found that cardiovascular infections can progress from high TMAO levels.

According to the academics, your blood rates of TMAO determine how likely you are to have a heart attack or a stroke, with previous research findings indicating a connection between TMAO and blood clots.

“This new study expands on these findings, and for the first time provides proof that gut microbes in general, and through TMAO specifically, can directly impact stroke severity or post-stroke functional impairment,” said Dr Hazen.

He added: “Functionality after a stroke, which occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked, is a major concern for patients.

“To understand if choline and TMAO affect post-stroke functionality, in addition to stroke severity, we compared performance on various tasks pre-stroke, and then both in the short- and long-term following stroke.”

The findings reveal that the intensity of a stroke is determined by a TMAO construction named CutC which is developed from a gut microbe enzyme.

Co-researcher Dr Weifei Zhu said: “When we genetically silenced the gut microbe gene that encodes CutC, stroke severity significantly diminished.

“Ongoing research is exploring this treatment approach, as well as the potential for dietary interventions to help reduce TMAO levels and stroke risk, since both a Western diet and a diet rich in red meat are known to elevate TMAO levels.”

She added: “Switching to plant-based protein sources helps to lower TMAO.”

The entire findings of this study are now available in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

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