Gut Flora May Enhance Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Effect
Gut flora, bacteria living in our digestive tract, might help the effectiveness of the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin, new research released on Thursday shows.
The latest study from Duke University examined the gut flora of 100 participants whose LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels were successfully lowered after consuming simvastatin, which is branded as Zocor. Twenty-four people showed positive but modest responses to the drug while another 24 showed no beneficial effects from taking Zocor.
Scientists identified three bile acids that are made by gut bacteria were present in the individuals who had a great response to the drug. Those who showed didn’t respond to the drug were found to have a high levels of five other bile acids, Time reports.
Researchers believe these five bile acids may be mimicking the statin molecules and preventing the real ones from getting to the liver cells to regulate cholesterol levels, Time reports.
"We found that the benefit of statins could be partly related to the type of bacteria that lives in our guts," said the study's co-author Rima Kaddurah-Daouk, a professor of psychiatry at Duke University, in a statement.
"The reason we respond differently is not only our genetic makeup, but also our gut microbiome," she added.