The influence of the human microbiome and probiotics on cardiovascular health
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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of death worldwide. Of the many etiological factors, microorganisms constitute one. From the local impact of the gut microbiota on energy metabolism and obesity, to the distal association of periodontal disease with coronary heart disease, microbes have a significant impact on cardiovascular health. In terms of the ability to modulate or influence the microbes, probiotic applications have been considered. These are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a benefit on the host. While a number of reports have established the beneficial abilities of certain probiotic bacterial strains to reduce cholesterol and hypertension, recent research suggests that their use could be more widely applied. This review presents an up-to-date summary of the known associations of the microbiome with CVD, and potential applications of probiotic therapy.