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Age-related heart disease linked to gut bacteria metabolite

acetylcholine aging microbiota nitric oxide brachial artery superoxide

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#1 Engadin

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 05:48 PM







S O U R C E :   New Atlas


P A Y W A L L E D   P R I M A L   S O U R C E :   Hypertension









TMAO, a metabolite produced by the microbiome and liver after eating animal proteins such as red meat, has been linked to age-related declines in cardiovascular healthlisovskaya/Depositphotos




New research from the University of Colorado Boulder has offered some of the clearest evidence to date showing how the gut microbiome produces a metabolite that, over time, contributes to age-related declines in cardiovascular health.


High blood levels of trimethylamine-N-Oxide (TMAO), a metabolic byproduct of digestion, have been strongly linked to negative cardiovascular health. When one eats red meat, eggs or other animal proteins, certain types of gut bacteria feed on chemicals in those foods and produce TMA, or trimethylamine, which is then turned into TMAO in the liver.


A number of studies have linked TMAO to heart disease, however, until now it hasn’t been clear exactly how this metabolite causes cardiovascular damage. A robust new study, published in the journal Hypertension, is offering one of the first thorough mechanistic investigations illustrating how TMAO damages the cardiovascular system.
“Our work shows for the first time that not only is this compound directly impairing artery function, it may also help explain the damage to the cardiovascular system that naturally occurs with age,” says Vienna Brunt, first author on the new study.
The researchers first examined a large cohort of healthy adults and found that TMAO blood levels increased in relation to age, regardless of heart or vascular health. In older adults the researchers saw a direct correlation between higher TMAO levels and worsening artery function.
In subsequent mouse studies the researchers found feeding young animals TMAO rapidly degraded vascular health. After several months of being fed TMAO the young animals’ vascular function effectively resembled that seen in very old mice.
The speeding up of age-related vascular decline through TMAO supplementation seen in the animal studies may explain a similar mechanism observed in humans. The researchers hypothesize increasing TMAO levels could play a role in the age-related decline of cardiovascular health in humans.


Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: acetylcholine, aging, microbiota nitric oxide, brachial artery, superoxide

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