Bacteria In The Gut Influence The Effectiveness Of Statins In Controlling Cholesterol

Cholesterol is one of the most common problems in people today and statins have proved to be highly successful in controlling the amount of cholesterol in the body. However, the drug does not seem to function so well for some people as for others. According to latest research, the culprit behind this fluctuating behavior of statins can be the bacteria present in the gut. The gut bacteria are essential in the digestive process in human body. They produce difference enzymes that help in digestion and absorption of food in the gut. The researchers from Duke University have found that bile acids that are produced by these bacteria play a role in preventing statins from working effectively. The way in which these bile acids act has been illustrated in PLoS One magazine. The study also elucidates on how gut bacteria are able to cause a difference in the digestive process of people.

The present study focuses on two concepts. One is metabolomics, which is the science that studies biochemical components and their function in the human body. The other concept is examining the function of microflora present in the guts or intestines. According to the lead researcher Rima Kaddurah-Daouk, the study found the reason behind the variation in the one different people respond to statins. While the reason is usually attributed to genes, the research has now unveiled a new influencing factor in gut bacteria. For the study, 148 people were considered among whom 24 responded well to the drug, 24 others had negligible benefits and the remaining 100 showed excellence response to statins. Blood samples were collected from these people and they were examined for the presence of bile acids and sterols.

Sterols are the substances that play an active role in breaking up cholesterol. The blood samples were collected before drug was taken. The presence of bile acids threw light on the role of bacteria in processing statins. It was found that in the group that showed excellent response to the drug, three bile acids were present while in those who did not respond well to the drug, five bile acids were present. According to the researchers, there is an ongoing competition between statins and bile acids in the body. So, in people who were found to have five bile acids, the drug seems to have been overpowered by the acids. People who had three bile acids were found to have good response because the amount of bile acids is lower.