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Your Healthy Family: Link between gut health and heart failure

Posted at 9:23 AM, Feb 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-07 09:23:20-05

New research shows a link between gut health and our risk for developing heart failure.

Your gut is your digestive tract. It covers all the parts of your body involved with food intake and output. Heart failure is when your heart can't pump enough blood. A new Cleveland Clinic study shows there's a link between the two.

“We had previously shown that the gut microbiome produces a compound, we call it PAG. That contributes to heart failure, but we didn't know what the microbial sources for it were," Dr. Stanley Hazen, who led the research at Cleveland Clinic, said.

He said now they know that answer, and it’s a step in the right direction.

Dr. Hazen said this information could be used to eventually develop drugs to block those sources, and act as a new treatment for heart disease. Measuring blood PAG levels could also help potentially predict who’s at risk for heart failure. With that being said, Dr. Hazen said a healthy diet is just as important when it comes to preventing heart failure.

“The concept of having more vegetables in one's diet and eating less red meat or animal source products seems to be a recurring theme. Even though we aren't searching for that in our research, it keeps popping up, when we're really looking for what are the compounds in blood that track with the future development of disease," Dr. Hazen said.

Data shows more than 6 million American adults have heart failure. It also continues to be one of the leading causes of death and hospital admissions in the U.S. and worldwide.