(WETM) – New research from the Cleveland Clinic shows a link between gut health and our risk for developing different diseases, in this case, the risk for heart failure. 

For those unfamiliar, heart failure is when the heart can’t pump enough blood.

“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,” said Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, specialist in cardiovascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic.

However, Dr. Hazen, who led the research, said they have since discovered what the microbial sources are for PAG, and that’s a step in the right direction. He said this information could possibly be used to eventually develop drugs to block those sources, and in turn 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, a healthy diet is just as important in terms of prevention.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Data shows roughly 6.2 million American adults have heart failure. It also continues to be one of the leading causes of death and hospital admissions in the United States and worldwide.