TMAO (Trimethylamine N-Oxide)

The TMAO (Trimethylamine N-Oxide) test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Brief Description: The Trimethylamine N-Oxide (TMAO) test is a specialized diagnostic tool used to measure the levels of trimethylamine N-oxide in the blood. This test plays a significant role in assessing an individual's risk for cardiovascular diseases and guiding interventions to manage heart health.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Patients should fast overnight and refrain from consuming fish or other seafood the day before the blood draw to avoid false elevations in TMAO.

When and Why the Test is Ordered:

Healthcare providers may order a TMAO test when evaluating a patient's risk of cardiovascular diseases, particularly atherosclerosis and heart disease. This test is especially relevant for individuals with a family history of heart conditions, those with risk factors such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and those who may be following specific diets that could influence TMAO levels.

What the Test Checks For:

The Trimethylamine N-Oxide (TMAO) test measures the concentration of trimethylamine N-oxide in the bloodstream. TMAO is a metabolite that forms when the gut bacteria break down specific compounds found in certain foods, particularly those rich in choline and carnitine. Elevated TMAO levels have been associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of plaque in the arteries that can lead to heart disease and other cardiovascular complications.

Other Lab Tests and Their Purpose:

In conjunction with the TMAO test, healthcare providers may order:

  • Lipid Profile: This test assesses cholesterol levels, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which are key indicators of cardiovascular risk.

  • High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP) Test: This test measures inflammation levels in the body, which is linked to the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases.

Conditions and Diseases Requiring the Test:

The Trimethylamine N-Oxide (TMAO) test is primarily used to assess the risk of cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke. It provides valuable information to healthcare providers for developing personalized prevention and treatment strategies.

Utilization of Test Results:

Healthcare providers use the results of the TMAO test to:

  • Assess Cardiovascular Risk: Elevated TMAO levels can indicate an increased risk of atherosclerosis and related heart conditions.

  • Guide Lifestyle Interventions: Results help guide dietary and lifestyle interventions to reduce TMAO levels and lower cardiovascular risk. This may involve modifying the intake of foods rich in choline and carnitine.

  • Tailor Treatment Plans: The test aids in developing personalized treatment plans, including medications, dietary changes, and exercise recommendations, to effectively manage cardiovascular health.

  • Monitor Progress: For individuals undergoing interventions, regular TMAO tests can monitor the effectiveness of interventions and guide adjustments if necessary.

In summary, the Trimethylamine N-Oxide (TMAO) test is a crucial tool in assessing an individual's risk of cardiovascular diseases. By measuring TMAO levels, healthcare providers can identify those at higher risk and implement strategies to mitigate that risk, contributing to better heart health and overall well-being.

Most Common Questions About the Trimethylamine N-Oxide test:

Test Purpose and Indications

Why is the Trimethylamine N-Oxide (TMAO) test ordered?

The Trimethylamine N-Oxide test is typically ordered to evaluate a person's risk for cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks or strokes. Elevated levels of TMAO have been associated with an increased risk of these conditions.

How does the TMAO test relate to dietary habits?

TMAO levels can be influenced by dietary choices. Foods rich in choline, carnitine, and certain types of fish can lead to increased production of TMAO in the body. Thus, the test can sometimes reflect a person's dietary habits, particularly their consumption of red meat and seafood.

Test Interpretation

What does a high level of TMAO indicate in the test results?

Elevated levels of TMAO have been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke. High TMAO levels suggest that a person may be at an increased risk, although it's one of many factors to consider in a comprehensive risk assessment.

If TMAO levels are normal, does that mean there's no risk of cardiovascular diseases?

While normal TMAO levels might indicate a reduced risk associated with this particular biomarker, it doesn't rule out the presence or future development of cardiovascular diseases. Multiple factors, including genetics, other biomarkers, lifestyle, and health history, contribute to overall risk.

General Information

Is the TMAO test commonly ordered by doctors?

The TMAO test is relatively new and is not as commonly ordered as traditional lipid panels or other cardiovascular risk assessments. However, it's gaining attention in the medical community due to research linking TMAO levels with cardiovascular risk.

Can TMAO levels be modified?

Yes, TMAO levels can be influenced by dietary changes, probiotics, and specific interventions. For instance, reducing the intake of red meat and certain fish can decrease TMAO levels. Some studies also suggest that certain probiotics can reduce TMAO production in the gut.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.


*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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