Trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO)


High levels of TMAO in the blood are associated with an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular events. The concentration of TMAO in the blood increases after consuming foods containing carnitine or lecithin, if the bacteria that convert those substances to TMAO are present in the gut. High concentrations of carnitine are found in red meat, some energy drinks, and some dietary supplements. Lecithin is found in soy, eggs, as an ingredient in processed food, and is sold as a dietary supplement. Some types of normal gut bacteria (e.g. species of Acinetobacter) in the human microbiome convert dietary carnitine to TMAO. TMAO alters cholesterol metabolism in the intestines, in the liver, and in artery wall. In the presence of TMAO, there is increased deposition of cholesterol in, and decreased removal of cholesterol from, peripheral cells. Resveratrol reduces levels of TMAO and inhibits TMA production by gut bacteria.



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