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Circulating Short-Chain Fatty Acids Are Positively Associated with Adiposity Measures in Chinese Adults


Wang, Yiqing; Wang, Huijun; Howard, Annie Green; Meyer, Katie A.; Tsilimigras, Matthew C. B.; Avery, Christy L.; Sha, Wei; Sun, Shan; Zhang, Jiguo; & Su, Chang, et al. (2020). Circulating Short-Chain Fatty Acids Are Positively Associated with Adiposity Measures in Chinese Adults. Nutrients, 12(7), 2127. PMCID: PMC7400849


Epidemiological studies suggest a positive association between obesity and fecal short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced by microbial fermentation of dietary carbohydrates, while animal models suggest increased energy harvest through colonic SCFA production in obesity. However, there is a lack of human population-based studies with dietary intake data, plasma SCFAs, gut microbial, and anthropometric data. In 490 Chinese adults aged 30–68 years, we examined the associations between key plasma SCFAs (butyrate/isobutyrate, isovalerate, and valerate measured by non-targeted plasma metabolomics) with body mass index (BMI) using multivariable-adjusted linear regression. We then assessed whether overweight (BMI ≥ 24 kg/m2) modified the association between dietary-precursors of SCFAs (insoluble fiber, total carbohydrates, and high-fiber foods) with plasma SCFAs. In a sub-sample (n = 209) with gut metagenome data, we examined the association between gut microbial SCFA-producers with BMI. We found positive associations between butyrate/isobutyrate and BMI (p-value < 0.05). The associations between insoluble fiber and butyrate/isobutyrate differed by overweight (p-value < 0.10). There was no statistical evidence for an association between microbial SCFA-producers and BMI. In sum, plasma SCFAs were positively associated with BMI and that the colonic fermentation of fiber may differ for adults with versus without overweight.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type


Year Published


Journal Title



Wang, Yiqing
Wang, Huijun
Howard, Annie Green
Meyer, Katie A.
Tsilimigras, Matthew C. B.
Avery, Christy L.
Sha, Wei
Sun, Shan
Zhang, Jiguo
Su, Chang
Wang, Zhihong
Zhang, Bing
Fodor, Anthony A.
Gordon-Larsen, Penny



Data Set/Study

China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS)