Gut Check for Cardiovascular Health

The link between gut health and cardiovascular health may not be immediately apparent, but it is significant. Imbalanced gut bacteria can trigger inflammation1, which if chronic, can lead to conditions like arthritis and atherosclerosis.2 Additionally, certain gut bacteria produce trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), which is a compound linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events. TMAO is formed when gut bacteria metabolize certain nutrients found in red meat and other animal products.3

Gut bacteria also influence blood pressure regulation through short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs help regulate how your blood vessels function and control your blood pressure levels. They also play a role in managing a system in your body called the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), which is important for maintaining stable blood pressure over time.4,5

Furthermore, gut bacteria also produce certain substances that can help improve our insulin sensitivity and regulate metabolism, which is important when it comes to our body’s ability to process sugar and fat. If the balance of bacteria is disrupted, it can alter energy metabolism, weaken the intestinal barrier, and contribute to problems like obesity and diabetes.6

Considering all of the above, maintaining optimal gut health is important when it comes to bolstering cardiovascular health. Nurturing both your gut and heart involves proper nutrition, regular exercise, quality sleep, and stress management. It’s a multi-pronged approach that you can discuss with your health care provider to assist you along the way. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Add Fibre!

Diet plays a major role in heart health and can impact your risk of heart disease. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the following foods are the best for your heart:7

  • Vegetables: such as leafy greens, broccoli, and carrots
  • Fruits: such as apples, bananas, and oranges
  • Whole grains: such as plain oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-grain bread or tortillas
  • Dairy products: such as milk, cheese, or yogurt
  • Protein-rich foods: such as fish, lean meats, eggs, nuts, and legumes
  • Oils and foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats: such as olives and avocados (including their oils), nuts and seeds (including their butters), flaxseeds and flax oil, chia seeds, walnuts, organic soybeans, and tofu.

Fibre is also important for your digestive system. It keeps things moving smoothly and helps prevent problems like constipation. It feeds the good bacteria in your gut, keeping them healthy and happy.


Regular exercise increases the different kinds of microbial species in the gut and encourages bacteria to flourish.8,9 It is also crucial in maintaining heart health in the following ways:10,11

  • Strengthens the heart muscle
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves cholesterol levels
  • Promotes weight management
  • Improves blood sugar control
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Enhances circulation
  • Promotes stress reduction
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Improves heart rate and rhythm


The microbiome, like many other things in our body, is regulated by circadian rhythms. New research shows that when circadian rhythms are disrupted, the health and functioning of the microbiome suffer as well.12 Quality sleep is also essential for maintaining a healthy heart and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.13

Set yourself up for good sleep by having a set schedule. This will normalize sleep as an essential part of your day and gets your brain and body accustomed to getting the full amount of sleep that you need. Follow a nightly routine that can put you at ease and make it easier to fall asleep when you want to. Following the same steps each night, like putting on your pajamas and brushing your teeth, can reinforce in your mind that it’s bedtime. Wind down, dim your lights, unplug from electronics (and keep them out of your room) and find calming activities such as soft music, light stretching, reading, and/or relaxation exercises. Optimizing your bedroom is also an important factor. Have a comfortable mattress, pillows, sheets, and blankets, set a cool and comfortable temperature, block out light with heavy curtains or an eye mask, drown out noise with earplugs, a white noise machine, or a fan, and try calming scents like lavender.14


Do yourself a favour and turn off the TV and social media that are full of fear and negativity. Try calming activities such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, knitting, walking, hugging your pet, or even a tree… Your body will thank you for it.

Support Good Gut Health with Probiotics and Fibre

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that primarily live in your digestive tract and support the health of your gut microbiome. Renew Life’s Ultimate Flora® 50 Billion Extra Care™ Probiotic formula helps reduce functional gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, flatulence, and abdominal pain and supports digestive health. You can try Renew Life’s premium probiotics with confidence with a 60-day money-back guarantee. They have multiple formulas to choose from so ask your local Health First store to help you find the best Ultimate Flora® probiotic formula for you.

If you’re struggling to get the daily recommended amount of 25-35 grams of fibre per day, you might want to consider adding FibreSMART to your routine. FibreSMART® is a flax-based, dietary fibre supplement that contains both soluble and insoluble fibre along with herbs and amino acids to help provide fibre content to your diet and aid in overall digest health. It can be added as a powder to water or juice or in capsule form to help support daily bowel health.

Written by Caroline Farquhar, RHN, EMP, BA, National Training Manager for Renew Life®

1. Al Bander Z, Nitert MD, Mousa A, Naderpoor N. The Gut Microbiota and Inflammation: An Overview. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Oct 19;17(20):7618. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17207618. PMID: 33086688; PMCID: PMC7589951.
2. Alfaddagh A, Martin SS, Leucker TM, Michos ED, Blaha MJ, Lowenstein CJ, Jones SR, Toth PP. Inflammation and cardiovascular disease: From mechanisms to therapeutics. Am J Prev Cardiol. 2020 Nov 21;4:100130. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpc.2020.100130. PMID: 34327481; PMCID: PMC8315628.
3. Harvard Health Publishing Staff. (2019). Red meat, TMAO, and your heart. [Online]. Harvard Health Publishing. Last Updated: 1 Sept 2019. Available at: [Accessed 29 January 2024].
4. Poll BG, Cheema MU, Pluznick JL. Gut Microbial Metabolites and Blood Pressure Regulation: Focus on SCFAs and TMAO. Physiology (Bethesda). 2020 Jul 1;35(4):275-284. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00004.2020. PMID: 32490748; PMCID: PMC7474256.
5. Yano, Y. et al. (2021). Gut Microbiome over a Lifetime and the Association with Hypertension. [Online]. National Library of Medicine. Last Updated: March 2021. Available at: [Accessed 29 January 2024].
6. Scherer PE, Hill JA. Obesity, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular Diseases: A Compendium. Circ Res. 2016 May 27;118(11):1703-5. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.116.308999. PMID: 27230636; PMCID: PMC4888905.
7. Ajmera R. (2023). 17 Incredibly Heart-Healthy Foods. [Online]. Healthline. Last Updated: 17 Nov 2023. Available at: [Accessed 31 January 2024].
8. Chai, C. (2022). Can Exercise Boost My Gut Health?. [Online]. Everyday Health. Last Updated: 2 Jun 2022. Available at: [Accessed 23 January 2023].
9. Clauss, M. et al. (2021). Interplay Between Exercise and Gut Microbiome in the Context of Human Health and Performance. Frontiers. Last Updated: 10 Jun 2021. Available at: [Accessed 23 January 2023].
10. National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute authors. (2022). Physical Activity and Your Heart – Benefits. [Online]. National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute. Last Updated: 24 Mar 22. Available at: [Accessed 5 Feb 2024].
11. Nystoriak MA, Bhatnagar A. Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2018 Sep 28;5:135. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2018.00135. PMID: 30324108; PMCID: PMC6172294.
12. Breus, M. (2022). The Latest on Sleep and Gut Health. [Online]. The Sleep Doctor. Last Updated: 13 December 2022. Available at: [Accessed 23 January 2023].
13. CDC staff. (2021). How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart Health?. [Online]. CDC. Last Updated: 4 Jan 2021. Available at: [Accessed 5 Feb 2024].
14. Suni, E. (2022). Sleep Hygiene. Available: Last accessed 27 May 22.
Renew Life® Ultimate Flora® 50 Billion Extra Care™ Probiotic

About the Author: Renew Life Team


When it comes to probiotics and gut health, Renew Life is amongst the top-selling brands in Canada. In Canada since 2002, Renew Life offers a full line of natural health product supplements for better digestive health, including probiotics, fibre, digestive aids, enzymes, and internal cleanses.