Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition that affects 34 percent of American adults, according to the American Heart Association. A person is diagnosed with metabolic syndrome when they have three of these risk factors: a large waistline, high triglyceride (type of fat found in the blood) level, low HDL cholesterol level, high blood pressure and high fasting blood sugar. A person with metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Because metabolic syndrome is becoming more common, scientists are exploring possible causes. In their previous study in Science, Gewirtz, Ley and other researchers showed altered gut microbiota plays a role in promoting metabolic syndrome.
Gut microbiota performs key functions in health and when it becomes dysregulated it can promote chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In addition, altered gut microbiota promotes inflammation that leads to metabolic syndrome.
Healthy gut microbiota can prevent metabolic syndrome, researchers say