A new study, from the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at King’s College London (UK), has found that the faecal metabolome (the dynamic set of molecules and chemical elements present in a living organism, either synthesized by the organism itself or incorporated from the outside and that reflect the metabolic state of a living system. This is influenced as much by internal factors as the hormonal state of the individual or the time of day, as by external factors) can provide a complementary functional approach to intestinal microbial communities.

The researchers found 102 statistically significant associations between visceral fat mass – a measure of abdominal obesity – and faecal metabolites, which accounted for 28.4% of the rotal variety observed in visceral fat. The metabolites associated with visceral fat include amino acids, fatty acids, nucleotides, sugars and vitamins. The abundance of some bacterial families previously associated with a lower visceral fat mass was strongly associated with a lower abundance of amino acids.

These findings suggest that the availability of amino acids could be involved in the role of microbial metabolites in mediating the relationship between the fecal metabolome and adiposity, and deserves further study of the complex interactions between the host and the microbe. The fecal metabolic profile is, therefore, a novel tool to explore links between the composition of the microbiome, the host phenotypes and the traits of the hereditary complex.