Effects of a high-fiber diet on gut microbiota and the risk of cardiovascular disease

A systematic review


  • Mutahar Ahmad Mehmood Honours Life Science Class of 2021
  • Ayush Suri Honours Life Science Class of 2020


Within the past decade, the essential processes and molecular changes linked to the gut microbiome have become important factors that influence human physiology. An imbalance in the composition of gut microbiota, a process referred to as gut dysbiosis, has shown to be correlated with the development and progression of different cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and atherosclerosis. Dysbiosis is linked with the production of particular metabolites within the intestinal mucosa that may further facilitate the advancement of cardiovascular diseases. The physiological benefits of a high-fiber diet have been well documented in association with patients suffering from different cardiovascular diseases. A diet that is high in fiber has been found to play a protective role in the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. The beneficial effects can be attributed to the production and distribution of a crucial metabolite of the gut microbiome, short-chain fatty acid acetate. The goal of this review is to highlight the existing data regarding the role of the gut microbiome in the onset of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, emphasis will be placed on the cellular and molecular components resulting from the microbiome that by gut dysbiosis, may increase the risk for developing cardiovascular disease. The underlying physiological changes induced by changes to acetate levels in the body, both directly and indirectly associated with cardiac health improvement, will also be examined. Collectively, the data illustrates that correcting imbalances in the composition of gut microbiota, along with a high-fiber diet are components that in the near future, may serve as new therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: gut microbiota, high-fiber diet, cardiovascular disease, SCFA, atherosclerosis, TMAO, hypertension, gut dysbiosis