How bile acid affects intestinal health - a medical practice

New insights into gut health

The human body is home to billions of microorganisms that control important chemical processes – especially in the gut. Microorganisms affect many different aspects of health, from digestion to mood. My research team has now discovered a new potential way to positively support these processes. Bile acids are of central importance here.

Researchers from the University of Illinois (USA) analyzed an important set of interactions related to the uptake of fats by bile acids. These acids, made in the liver, are essential for digesting fats and fat-soluble vitamins. The acids help the nutrients make their way through the intestine. At the end of the small intestine, the intestinal bacteria convert acids and produce either beneficial or harmful forms, as the current study, which was recently published in the specialized journal, shows.Gut microbes“Submitted.

Converting bile acid as a therapeutic target

“The localization of these bacterial genes will enable new studies to be conducted to determine the effects of bile acid conversion on the health of the host,” said study author Professor Jason Redlon in a press release about the study results. It is the basis of therapeutic strategies to enhance beneficial responses associated with bile acid conversion.

How intestinal bacteria convert bile acids

As the researchers report, intestinal bacteria produce enzymes that reflect the alignment of three (chemical: -OH) hydroxyl groups on bile acid molecules. This rearranges the acid molecules into new shapes. The results of this remodeling can be both harmful and beneficial.

The working group succeeded in identifying and characterizing genes responsible for bile acid conversion. “An important step for gut health,” the scientists commented.

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The approach is still in its infancy

“There is still more to learn,” confirms Professor Redlon. In the next step, researchers now want to know which conversions work best and are most harmful to gut health. If this is known, the effect on conversion may be a therapeutic goal. (Fb)

Author and source information

This text complies with the requirements of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been examined by medical professionals.


Diploma Editor (FH) Volker Plasik


  • University of Illinois – College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences: Discovering microbial genes can mean greater gut health (veröffentlicht: 27.05.2021),
  • Heidi L. Doden, Patricia G. Wolf, H. Rex Gaskins, et al: Complete of the microbial epi-bile acid pathway; In: Gut Microbes, 2021,

important note:
This article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-medication. He cannot replace a visit to the doctor.


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