Researchers from Cleveland Clinic have discovered an important connection between the gut bacteria byproduct, TMAO, and chronic kidney disease. TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) is produced when we digest choline and carnitine, found in animal sources—dairy, egg yolks, red meat, and liver.
The researchers studied subjects with and without chronic kidney disease and found a link between higher TMAO levels and mortality risk in both groups. TMAO has been linked to heart disease risk in previous studies. Subjects with chronic kidney disease had higher levels of TMAO, possibly because the kidneys can’t eliminate the byproduct as effectively. Studies in rats showed that consistently high TMAO levels resulted in kidney impairment and the development and progression of kidney disease. Future studies will be needed to shed light on whether dietary changes could help people avoid kidney disease and cardiovascular risks.
Gut Bacteria Byproduct Linked to Chronic Kidney Disease for the First Time, Medical Xpress, January 29, 2015