John recently showed me a paper out of China where the researchers found that berberine downregulates the Choline-TMA-TMAO pathway, which is, in part, responsible for atherosclerosis, commonly known as hardening of the arteries.
Choline-TMA-TMAO pathway is a metabolic process that occurs in gut microbiota. It involves the conversion of choline, a nutrient found in various foods like eggs and meat, into trimethylamine (TMA) by gut bacteria. TMA then travels to the liver, where it is further converted into trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO).
Studies have found that TMAO promotes the development of atherosclerosis by several mechanisms, including:
- Increasing the production of inflammatory molecules that can damage blood vessel walls.
- Reducing the ability of the liver to remove cholesterol from the blood, leading to the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries.
- Stimulating the proliferation of smooth muscle cells in blood vessels, leading to plaque formation.
Therefore, the Choline-TMA-TMAO pathway in gut microbiota plays a significant role in the development of atherosclerosis. Inhibiting this pathway can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and associated cardiovascular diseases.