Using metabolomics for an understanding of the human microbiome

If the microbiome is a map to health and disease, metabolomics is your GPS. Metabolomics tracks how the microbiome contributes to metabolic homeostasis, so we can learn more about microbial interactions and find new ways to promote wellbeing.

Using metabolomics for an understanding of the human microbiome

If the microbiome is a map to health and disease, metabolomics is your GPS. Metabolomics tracks how the microbiome contributes to metabolic homeostasis, so we can learn more about microbial interactions and find new ways to promote wellbeing.

How metabolomics explains microbiota-host interactions and their impact on health and disease

The human microbiome is home to trillions of diverse microorganisms that help keep the body healthy. Research on the microbiome brings together multiple omics, including metabolomics, to reveal how these rich ecosystems influence health and disease.

One of the latest applications of metabolomics is functional microbiomics and it helps us explore the interaction between the microbiome and host through the following questions:

  • How does the microbiome affect host metabolism and health and wellbeing?
  • How do unique microbial populations result in the phenotype we call ‘health’?
  • How does dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) contribute to disease?

With our metabolite profiling products, microbiota researchers can use metabolomics to understand more about microbiota-host interactions and track metabolic footprints in tissues, plasma, feces, urine and more

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How gut microbiota affect health and wellbeing

The microorganisms found in the gut microbiome have a huge impact on human health. Below are some examples of metabolite classes that rely on microbiota to function properly – and what can happen when the microbiome is out of balance.

Stimulating the modification of bile acids

Synthetized in the liver, released into the gastro-intestinal tract and modified by the intestinal microbiota, bile acids are a glowing example of the successful cooperation of microorganisms and host metabolism.

Bile acids have a direct action in the intestine, helping with the digestion of fats and oils. These cholesterol derivatives also act as ligands of nuclear receptors, contributing to the regulation of fatty acid metabolism in the liver, and to the regulation of their own synthesis.

Dysbiosis in the gut has been shown to have dramatic effects on bile acids levels and functionality, for instance impacting the regulation of fatty acids and bilirubin metabolism.

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Metabolizing tryptophan

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid. It is metabolized within the intestine through several pathways that require a healthy balance of gut microbiota.

These pathways include:

  • The transformation of tryptophan into indole derivatives, such as indoleacetic acid (IAA) and indolepropionic acid (IPA), which help maintain a strong intestinal tract and support a healthy immune system.
  • Converting tryptophan into kynurenine, resulting in metabolites linked to neurological, inflammatory, and immune processes.
  • Converting tryptophan into serotonin, which is sometimes known as ‘the happiness chemical’. Over 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, so a healthy microbial balance can have a major effect on mood and wellbeing.

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Tryptophan metabolism 

Synthesizing vitamins for circulation around the body

Gut bacteria synthesize vitamin K and most of the water‐soluble B vitamins (such as biotin, cobalamin, folate, nicotinic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and thiamine) so they can be circulated around the body. Without the microbiome, numerous physiological functions would be impaired.

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More resources on the microbiome

For research use only | not for use in diagnostic procedures.