Faculty Mentor

Dr. Marie Mooney, Assistant Professor

Faculty Mentor Department



The number of people diagnosed with heart failure is on the rise—it’s becoming an epidemic. There are treatment options available for heart failure, but unfortunately there is not a cure. However, most cases of heart failure can be prevented. One mechanism that provides promise for preventing heart failure is the implementation of a heart healthy diet. However, not in the context that most are familiar with. In this case, a heart healthy diet is in reference to the ability of diet to tailor the gut microbiome in order to target specific metabolites that are associated with heart failure. Diet plays a huge role in the compositional makeup of the gut microbiome and affects the metabolites produced by the gut microbiome. Heart failure is associated with a decrease in short chain fatty acids and an increase in trimethylamine N-oxide. The gut microbiome of someone with heart failure is in a state of dysbiosis. Diet can be used to manipulate the gut microbiome back to a state of symbiosis and help counter the imbalances found in patients with heart failure. A diet high in plant-based foods can increase the bacteria responsible for producing short chain fatty acids. A diet low in animal products can decrease the bacteria involved in the production of trimethylamine N-oxide. Following a diet that combines the two can potentially alter the gut microbiome and induce favorable changes to prevent the development or progression of heart failure.