The gut microbiome, diet, and links to cardiometabolic and chronic disorders

Nat Rev Nephrol. 2016 Mar;12(3):169-81. doi: 10.1038/nrneph.2015.191. Epub 2015 Nov 30.


Cardiometabolic diseases (CMDs) have been associated with changes in the composition of the gut microbiota, with links between the host environment and microbiota identified in preclinical models. High-throughput sequencing technology has facilitated in-depth studies of the gut microbiota, bacterial-derived metabolites, and their association with CMDs. Such strategies have shown that patients with CMDs frequently exhibit enrichment or depletion of certain bacterial groups in their resident microbiota compared to healthy individuals. Furthermore, the ability to transfer resident gut microbiota from mice or humans into germ-free mouse models, or between human patients, has enabled researchers to characterize the causative role of the gut microbiota in CMDs. These approaches have helped identify that dietary intake of choline, which is metabolized by the gut microbiota, is associated with cardiovascular outcomes in mice and humans. Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) - a metabolite derived from the gut microbiota - is also associated with poor cardiovascular outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease and is elevated in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). TMAO might represent a biomarker that links the environment and microbiota with CKD. This Review summarizes data suggesting a link between the gut microbiota and derived metabolites with food intake patterns, metabolic alterations, and chronic CMDs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diet*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology*
  • Metabolic Diseases / therapy
  • Methylamines / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / etiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / therapy


  • Biomarkers
  • Methylamines
  • trimethyloxamine