Polyphenol-rich tomato extract supports cardiovascular health through modulation of gut microbiome, says recent study


The study found that the polyphenol-rich tomato extract, Fruitflow, modulates gut microbiome to decrease trimethylamine-n-oxide, positively impacting cardiovascular health outcomes.

Photo © AdobeStock.com/Маргарита Медведева

Photo © AdobeStock.com/Маргарита Медведева

New research1 has found evidence that a water-soluble tomato extract (Fruitflow) from Royal DSM may activate the gut-heart axis. In double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, 22 overweight and obese subjects were given either placebo or 150 mg of the tomato extract daily for four weeks, with a six-week washout period between interventions. Researchers collected stool, blood, and urine samples to test changes in trimethylamine-n-oxide (TMAO; primary outcome) as well as fecal microbiota, fecal and plasma metabolites, and urine TMAO (secondary outcomes).

The researchers explain that “TMAO is derived from trimethylamine (TMA), a microbial metabolite produced by various taxa of the gut microbiota primarily from dietary phosphatidylcholine and L-carnitine, commonly found in red meat, cheese, and eggs.” Absorbed through the intestinal epithelium and transported to the liver, TMA is converted into TMAO, which is known to proinflammatory and proatherogenic. High baseline levels of TMAO are associated with major adverse cardiovascular events.

Results showed that supplementation with the tomato extract was associated with reduced fasting levels of plasma and urine TMAO as well as plasma lipopolysaccharides from baseline to the end of intervention, while placebo did not. These changes, however, were only significant in the urine TMAO levels when compared between groups. Researchers also observed significant differences in the microbial beta diversity with the consumption of the tomato extract, as well as decreases in Bacteroides, Ruminococccus, and Hungatella and increases in Alistipes when comparing between and within groups. The researchers attribute these results to the polyphenols found in the extract, and their impact on the composition of the gut microbiota.

“DSM is committed to helping people improve their gut health and use this as a gateway to overall wellbeing,” said Robert E. Steinert, PhD, principal scientist at DSM, in a press release. “The results of this study are incredibly encouraging and support earlier findings that polyphenol-rich extracts can lower TMAO concentrations through a targeted and beneficial modulation of the gut microbiota. We’re looking forward to working with our customers to develop new dietary supplement solutions targeting the gut-heart axis. Looking ahead, this study paves the way for future research into the gut-brain axis, especially age-related cognitive decline. This is an exciting time for gut-health research.”


  1. Rehman, A; Tyree, S.M.; Fehlbaum S.; DunnGalvin, G., et al. A Water-Soluble Tomato Extract Rich in Secondary Plant Metabolites Lowers Trimethylamine-n-Oxide and Modulates Gut Microbiota: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Cross-Over Study in Overweight and Obese Adults. Journal of Nutrition. 2022. Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1016/j.tjnut.2022.11.009 (accessed 2023-01-30).
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