Dietary TMAO is converted to TMA by gut bacteria and converted back to TMAO in the liver
What is it about?
Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is a chemical found in human blood and urine. TMAO is produced from methylamines found in food: e.g. choline (eggs), phosphatidylcholine (emulsifiers) and carnitine (meat). When we eat food containing methylamines, our gut bacteria convert these chemicals to trimethylamine (TMA). TMA is taken up into our blood from the intestinal tract and transported to the liver, where TMA is converted to TMAO. We have shown for the first time that TMAO is subject to a process called metabolic retroconversion: that is, dietary TMAO is converted to TMA by gut bacteria then converted back to TMAO by liver enzymes.
Why is it important?
We have demonstrated another example of how gut bacteria and their mammalian hosts interact metabolically: that is, we have demonstrated metabolic retroconversion occurs (dietary TMAO --> gut bacteria TMA --> host TMAO).
The following have contributed to this page: Professor Lesley Hoyles