Pilot Study of Novel Intermittent Fasting Effects on Metabolomic and Trimethylamine N-oxide Changes During 24-hour Water-Only Fasting in the FEELGOOD Trial

Nutrients. 2019 Jan 23;11(2):246. doi: 10.3390/nu11020246.


Intermittent fasting (IF) has been connected with health benefits such as weight loss, lower risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and diabetes, increased longevity, and improved quality of life. However, the mechanisms of these IF benefits in humans require further investigation. This study sought to elucidate some of these mechanisms through secondary analyses of the Fasting and ExprEssion of Longevity Genes during fOOD abstinence (FEELGOOD) trial, in which apparently healthy participants were randomized in a Latin square design to a 24-h water-only fast and a 24-h ad libitum fed day. Two pathways were investigated, with trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) levels measured due to their association with elevated risk of CAD, along with conductance of a broad panel of metabolic analytes. Measurements were made at baseline, at the end of the fasting day, and at the end of the fed day. A fasting mean of 14.3 ng in TMAO was found versus the baseline mean of 27.1 ng with p = 0.019, although TMAO levels returned to baseline on refeeding. Further, acute alterations in levels of proline, tyrosine, galactitol, and urea plasma levels were observed along with changes in 24 other metabolites during the fasting period. These acute changes reveal short-term mechanisms which, with consistent repeated episodes of IF, may lead to improved health and reduced risk of CAD and diabetes.

Keywords: coronary artery disease; diabetes; intermittent energy restriction; intermittent fasting; metabolic analytes; trimethylamine N-oxide.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Fasting / blood
  • Fasting / metabolism*
  • Fasting / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolome / physiology*
  • Metabolomics
  • Methylamines / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects


  • Methylamines
  • trimethyloxamine