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Nutrients. 2020 Jan 16;12(1). pii: E234. doi: 10.3390/nu12010234.

Trimethylamine-N-Oxide Postprandial Response in Plasma and Urine Is Lower After Fermented Compared to Non-Fermented Dairy Consumption in Healthy Adults.

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Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research EAER, Agroscope, CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland.
Max Rubner-Institut, Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition, D-76131 Karlsruhe, Germany.
Institute of Microbiology, Lausanne University Hospital and Lausanne University, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences (DISTAL), University of Bologna, I-47521 Cesena, Italy.
Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Lausanne University Hospital, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) can be produced by the gut microbiota from dietary substrates and is associated with cardiovascular disease. While dairy products contain TMAO precursors, the effect of fermented dairy on TMAO metabolism remains unclear. We used plasma and urine samples collected for two randomised cross-over studies to evaluate the effects of fermented dairy consumption on TMAO metabolism. In Study 1, thirteen healthy young men tested a yogurt and an acidified milk during postprandial tests and a two-week daily intervention. In Study 2, ten healthy adults tested milk and cheese during postprandial tests. TMAO and five related metabolites were measured in plasma and urine by LC-MS/MS and NMR. Faecal microbiota composition was assessed in Study 1 (16S rRNA metagenomics sequencing). Fermented milk products were associated with lower postprandial TMAO responses than non-fermented milks in urine (Study 1, p = 0.01; Study 2, p = 0.02) and in plasma, comparing yogurt and acidified milk (Study 1, p = 0.04). Daily consumption of dairy products did not differentially affect fasting TMAO metabolites. Significant correlations were observed between microbiota taxa and circulating or urinary TMAO concentrations. Fermentation of dairy products appear, at least transiently, to affect associations between dairy products and circulating TMAO levels.


TMAO; choline; dairy products; fermented milks; microbiota; milk

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