Effects of an SGLT Inhibitor on the Production, Toxicity, and Elimination of Gut-Derived Uremic Toxins: A Call for Additional Evidence

Pieter Evenepoel, Bjorn Meijers, Rosalinde Masereeuw, Jerome Lowenstein

Published: 15 March 2022


Sodium–glucose cotransporter (SGLT) inhibitors are a class of oral hypoglycemic agents, which, in recent years, have been shown to improve renal and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with diabetic and non-diabetic chronic kidney disease. There remains considerable debate regarding the potential glucose-independent mechanisms by which these benefits are conferred. SGLT inhibitors, to a variable extent, impair small intestinal glucose absorption, facilitating the delivery of glucose into the colon. This suppresses protein fermentation, and thus the generation of uremic toxins such as phenols and indoles. It is acknowledged that such a shift in gut microbial metabolism yields health benefits for the host. SGLT inhibition, in addition, may be hypothesized to foster the renal clearance of protein-bound uremic toxins. Altered generation and elimination of uremic toxins may be in the causal pathway between SGLT inhibition and improved cardiometabolic health. Present review calls for additional research.

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