The connection between cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and digestion may not, at first, seem obvious; but, reports Dr David Daguet, Scientific Director at Vidya Europe, they are intrinsically linked
On one side of the metaphorical coin, our digestive system, starting with our stomach, uses 20–25% of our oxygenated blood. This amount doubles after a meal to digest what we just ate. Serious problems can arise if our heart is unable to supply enough blood to our stomach.
Cardiac disorders such as plaque and other conditions may interfere with the heart’s ability to supply blood to the digestive system. On the other side, digestive diseases or ailments may negatively impact cardiovascular health.
The digestive tract comprises three main organs: the stomach, the gut and the liver, all of which have very specific and complementary functions. It has been demonstrated that these three organs communicate with each other while food is being digested; and, if one of these organs is unable to function properly, it has a negative impact on all three.
This “circle of communication” can result in digestive discomfort and manifestations such as functional dyspepsia.
Although a misnomer, heartburn illustrates the potential link between the cardiovascular system and digestion. This acid or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) may be linked to heart disease.1
Researchers have stated that factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and excess alcohol consumption are linked to coronary disease and GERD.
And, although well-known medicines such as proton pump inhibitors are used to treat GERD, these kinds of treatment are not devoid of potentially serious side-effects; as they can affect vascular function, they must be used with medical supervision.
Similarly, the well-known leaky gut syndrome can also be linked to cardiovascular disease. Much like the brain-gut axis, the heart-gut axis is emerging — based on the microbiome and bacterial translocation — as a contributor to the potential development of cardiac disorders.
Gut dysbiosis, which can be induced by obesity, ageing, lifestyle or medication, both promotes gut inflammation and reduces gut barrier integrity. In turn, this increase the circulation of different types of metabolites that facilitate the pathophysiology of cardiovascular diseases.2
The third implicated organ is the liver, which is dedicated to the detoxification of our bodies and may also be involved in cardiovascular disease. Gut dysbiosis, obesity, ageing and lifestyle choices that induce metabolic syndrome, dyslipidaemia and diabetes, may all contribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
NAFLD is fast becoming the primary cause of chronic liver disease. Yet, cardiohepatic interactions are known to be very complex; the liver may play a role in cirrhotic cardiomyopathy, for example, in which cirrhosis is associated with impaired myocardial functionality.
NAFLD is also associated with cardiac disorders including coronary artery disease, structural myocardial alterations and cardiac arrhythmias.3
Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a common digestive disorder comprising recurrent postprandial symptoms such as epigastric pain, fullness, early satiety, burning, nausea, bloating, belching and heartburn.
The causes of FD are not clear, but they could be associated with eating habits, diet, food allergies/intolerances, lifestyle choices, medication side-effects, excessive acid secretion, delayed emptying of the stomach, changes in the gut microbiota, smoking, stress, anxiety, etc.
Not only is FD such a common digestive complaint that almost everyone experiences it during their life, the indications are also encountered in irritable bowel syndrome, NAFLD, obesity and diabetes.
All these factors create a link between FD and CVD.
FD has been linked to congestive heart failure and ischaemic heart disease, for which alterations of motility in the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum have been observed.4
Asdamarin is a unique combination of milk thistle and asafoetida that targets the liver and the stomach to synergistically improve digestion, relieve FD and rapidly improve quality of life.
A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel group pilot study was done with 70 healthy volunteers to assess the effectiveness of Asdamarin on functional dyspepsia.5
Subjects were evaluated, from baseline to the end of the trial, using three standardised questionnaires: the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS), the Glasgow Dyspepsia Severity Score (GDSS) and the short form of the Nepean Dyspepsia Index (NDI-SF) for Quality of Life.
The study results showed that, in only 7 days, the twice-daily consumption of 250 mg of Asdamarin notably relieves functional dyspepsia by significantly reducing the severity of the symptoms.
The logical consequence is a significant improvement in digestion, which greatly enhances the quality of life. Asdamarin did not cause any adverse side-effects and was well tolerated.
Digestive disorders and, more specifically, dyspeptic syndrome are associated with cardiovascular diseases. These are like two sides of the same coin. As such, they must be considered together and treated with natural solutions and alternatives to provide relief and increase quality of life.