Your heart begins beating four weeks after conception.  It carries you through a lifetime and beats about 100,000 times in one day.   It has a lot of work to do and all systems to and from this magnificent organ need to be running smoothly to keep you in tip top shape.

In the spirit of February being Heart Health Month, I have been thinking a lot about the root cause of heart and cardiovascular problems. In doing so (as always) I am drawn to look outside the box of the common causes that we are aware of on the surface. “Don’t smoke, get exercise, eat your fruits and vegetables, consume a high-fiber diet and reduce your stress.”   These are all great, however, I believe there is a silent cause that is affecting the masses:  I believe it is coming from the GUT!

What I’m talking about is cardiovascular inflammation secondary to gut inflammation. What does this mean? It means that the inflammation in your gut can drive an inflammatory response in your blood vessels leading to and from the heart. Ouch! This leads to coronary atherosclerosis.

What is Coronary Atherosclerosis?

This is also known as hardening of the arteries  which can slowly narrow and harden the arteries throughout the body. When atherosclerosis affects the arteries of the heart, it’s called coronary artery disease.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most prevalent type of heart disease in the United States. Also known as coronary heart disease or ischemic heart disease. Check out these mind blowing stats:

  • Approximately 18.2 million Americans have known coronary artery disease.
  • One-third of all deaths in Americans older than 35 are due to coronary artery disease.

What Is Gut Inflammation?

Inflammation in the gut is rampant in this country and of the world at large.  Gut inflammation can be driven by a variety of factors such as  food sensitivities, antibiotics, stress, toxic exposures, infections and more!  Chronic inflammation contributes to coronary atherosclerosis.  Here are a few ways gut health can lead to arterial inflammation and coronary artery disease:

#1 Gut Infections

Gut Infections such as H. Pylori are culprits in arterial inflammation. It resides in the stomach and also makes it’s way through the digestive tract and into the arterial and vascular system burrowing itself in the lining of vessels and triggering inflammation.

#2 Leaky Gut

Leaky Gut is when the lining of your gut has become porous. When the intestinal lining is repeatedly damaged due to recurring leaky gut syndrome, damaged cells called microvilli become stunted to do their job effectively which is to process and utilize the nutrients and enzymes that are vital to proper digestion AND health. This results in  impaired digestion and absorption of nutrients being affected. As more exposures occur, your body initiates an attack on these foreign invaders. It responds with an inflammatory immune response that can lead to inflammation anywhere else in the body, such as the cardiovascular system.

#3 Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities are a significant cause of inflammation.  They ultimately lead to a Leaky Gut.  A “sensitivity” is not a full blown allergic response such as an anaphylactic response known as an IgE response, like when someone gets hives or their throat swells.

A sensitivity is where a food generates inflammation behind the scenes in your body that may be obvious – or may not.  A sensitivity is known as an IgG response and can be difficult to track since it can take 2-72 hours to generate the inflammatory immune response.  As the “sensitivity” food is consumed, it continually triggers inflammation system wide, including the cardiovascular system.  That is why I call it an Inflammatory Food Trigger. Common sensitivity symptoms someone may experience on a daily basis are headaches, brain fog, irritability, joint/muscle pain, skin abrasions, moodiness, stubborn weight and more.

Simple Steps to Turn Down the Inflammation in Your Gut

1) Remove Inflammatory Foot Triggers for 4 weeks. Cut out the most common Inflammatory Food Triggers; gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy, and peanuts.

2) Eat a whole-foods, plant-based, high-fiber diet. This is essential to feed the good bugs in your gut and to provide the nutrients you need to function optimally.

3) Take probiotics daily to boost the healthy bacteria in your gut. Look for those that contain 10 billion CFU of bifido bacteria species and lactobacillus species.

Granted, there is MUCH more that needs to be done to heal your gut and decrease the inflammation in your body but this is a good start.

If you would like to take this process further so you can truly repair your gut and protect your heart, contact us at Get Nourished for a consultation. We will dive deep to begin exploring the root cause driving your gut health issues that may be impacting your heart over time.

My team and I are ready and committed to help you reclaim your vitality.

May you be well & thrive!


Sarah Reilly
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