The “AMBROSIA” project: a new approach for the prevention of undernutrition in cardiovascular diseases targeting the microbiota-inflammation-brain axis – Targeting undernutrition through the microbiota-inflammation-brain axis


Laboratory of Microbiome and Immune Response,
Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, University of Florence, Florence, Italy


The European project “AMBROSIA” conducted at the University of Florence, fits with the areas of food and health, tackling one of major social challenges in current healthcare: the undernutrition in “older” population, focused on patients with Heart Failure (HF) and Atrial Fibrillation (AF). Undernutrition is one key factors leading through inflammation, to loss of function, disability, frailty and, ultimately, to death. A vicious cycle “of inflammation and cachexia” determines a progressive cognitive decline and lean body mass regression. Since the inflammation is closely related with the health status of intestinal microbiota, shaping its composition with a probiotic-based food, namely the AMBROSIA chocolate bar, specifically enriched with key nutrients could be an efficacious and safe approach to break this cycle improving the cognitive functioning and skeletal muscle mass. A prospective interventional clinical study will be performed at the University of Florence to asses the bar efficacy on undernutrition prevention. Statistical and Machine Learning methods will be developed for the identification of features from the “Microbiota-Inflammation-Brain axis” used as predictive undernutrition biomarkers.

In January 2020, the Joint Programming Initiative - A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI HDHL) launched PREVNUT, a call organized under the umbrella of ERA-Net ERA-HDHL to specifically promote collaborative international research on nutrition and health. The transnational and multidisciplinary AMBROSIA project is one of the six funded projects, that 1) tackles one of major social challenges in current healthcare, the undernutrition in a well-defined “older” population, focused on patients with Heart Failure (HF) and Atrial Fibrillation (AF), 2) designs an innovative functional food, the AMBROSIA chocolate bar, and an original Artificial Intelligence (AI) approach.


In detail, AF is a supraventricular arrhythmia characterized by a completely disordered electrical activity of the atria. It is the most common type of rhythm disturbance in the elderly with an estimated prevalence of six million among all Europeans (1). AF is frequently associated with HF, a clinical syndrome caused by structural and/or functional heart abnormalities and characterized by dyspnea and fatigue due to insufficient pumping of the blood to the organ systems (2). HF is the lea ...