A Review of the Relationship Between the Gut Microbiota and Amino Acid Metabolism

Amino Acids. 2017 Dec;49(12):2083-2090. doi: 10.1007/s00726-017-2493-3. Epub 2017 Sep 20.


New evidence has emerged in recent years to suggest a strong link between the human gut microbiota, its metabolites, and various physiological aspects of hosts along with important pathophysiological dimensions of diseases. The research indicates that the gut microbiota can facilitate metabolite production in two ways: first, the resident species of the gut microbiota use the amino acids produced from food or the host as elements for protein synthesis, and second, conversion or fermentation are used to drive nutrient metabolism. Additionally, the gut microbiota can synthesize several nutritionally essential amino acids de novo, which is a potential regulatory factor in amino acid homeostasis. The primary objective of this review is to summarize the current literature relating to the ways in which microbial amino acids contribute to host amino acid homeostasis.

Keywords: Amino acids; Dietary; Gut microbiota; Obesity; Tryptophan; Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / biosynthesis
  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / microbiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / microbiology
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / microbiology


  • Amino Acids
  • Dietary Proteins