Trust your gut: galvanizing nutritional interest in intestinal cholesterol metabolism for protection against cardiovascular diseases

Nutrients. 2013 Jan 16;5(1):208-22. doi: 10.3390/nu5010208.


Recent studies have demonstrated that the intestine is a key target organ for overall health and longevity. Complementing these studies is the discovery of the trans-intestinal cholesterol efflux pathway and the emerging role of the intestine in reverse cholesterol transport. The surfacing dynamics of the regulation of cholesterol metabolism in the intestine provides an attractive platform for intestine-specific nutritional intervention strategies to lower blood cholesterol levels for protection against cardiovascular diseases. Notably, there is mounting evidence that stimulation of pathways associated with calorie restriction may have a large effect on the regulation of cholesterol removal by the intestine. However, intestinal energy metabolism, specifically the idiosyncrasies surrounding intestinal responses to energy deprivation, is poorly understood. The goal of this paper is to review recent insights into cholesterol regulation by the intestine and to discuss the potential for positive regulation of intestine-driven cholesterol removal through the nutritional induction of pathways associated with calorie restriction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fasting / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Mice


  • Cholesterol