What Your Gut Bacteria Say About You
The 100 trillion microbes that live in your gut know—and influence—you from the inside out. So what can they tell you about yourself? Here's a taste...
"Sorry, You Have a High-Steak Problem"
Now consider pairing that grenache with something other than short ribs. The problem here is that certain red-meat-loving gut bacteria increase your heart attack risk
, found a study at the Cleveland Clinic. When microbes digest compounds in meat called carnitine and lecithin, the liver uses the byproduct to make an artery-hardener that may be even more of a culprit in heart disease than cholesterol: trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Note: Only if you have bacteria in your gut that are accustomed to meat—vegans don't—could you churn out TMAO. (But burger lovers, be heartened: Scientists are working on ways to identify and eventually target the villain bacteria.)
Next: More surprising health benefits of bacteria