More than 40 million Americans take statins, the most common type of prescription drug.
While statins have been shown to effectively lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risks of stroke and heart attack, they do not work the same for everyone, and side effects of statin use include an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Scientists from the Institute for Systems Biology found that different patient responses to statins can be explained by the variation in the human microbiome.
The findings offer promising avenues for optimizing precision statin treatments for individual patients.
The research is published in Med and was conducted by Dr. Tomasz Wilmanski et al.
In the study, the team found that the composition and diversity of the gut microbiome is predictive of the efficacy of statins and the magnitude of negative side effects.
They found that a Bacteroides enriched microbiome with lower levels of diversity was linked to the strongest LDL-lowering response to statins, but also coincided with the greatest disruption to blood glucose levels.
The team also found that individuals with a Ruminococcaceae enriched microbiome were protected from the negative side effects of statins on insulin resistance while also showing a clear LDL-lowering response.
The team built statistical models with the microbiome, metabolome, human genome, and clinical records from an American cohort of more than 1,800 people. Next, they validated their results in an independent European cohort of nearly 1,000 people.
The unique combination of the microbiome and genomic information in this study provides exciting new insights into a potential method for precision drug treatments.
The team says it would be great to take this knowledge about the genome and the microbiome and predict personalized dosing regimens for a cohort of patients.
Then follow these patients forward in time, tracking their metabolic health and their LDL cholesterol levels, to show that this population of patients undergoing a precision intervention do better than a control group of patients who are getting what is normally prescribed.
If you care about gut health, please read studies about unhealthy gut linked to aggressive prostate cancer, and diet that could boost your gut health and weight loss.
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