The contribution of gut-liver signaling to the development of non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis (NHS) in non-diabetic adults remains unclear. We therefore performed comprehensive 16S ribosomal RNA sequencing and fecal metabolomics analyses in 32 controls and 59 non-diabetic adults with NHS and performed fecal microbiota transplantation into germ-free mice using controls and NHS patients as donors. Compared to controls, the abundance of the genera Collinsella and Acinetobacter were higher, while that of Lachnospira was lower, in NHS subjects. Fecal metabolomics analysis showed decreased L-tryptophan levels and increased abundance of the tryptophan metabolite kynurenine in individuals with NHS. Correlation analysis showed that kynurenine levels positively associated with the abundance of Collinsella and Acinetobacter. ROC analysis demonstrated that the combination of tryptophan and kynurenine could discriminate NHS patients from controls with good statistical power [P < 0.05; AUC = 0.833 (95% CI, 0.747 to 0.918)]. Supporting a key role of dysbiotic gut microbiota in NHS development, incipient hepatic steatosis and increased kynurenine levels were observed in GF mice colonized with samples from NHS patients. These results indicate that enhanced kynurenine production resulting from altered gut microbiota composition contributes to NHS in nondiabetic adults and suggest the relevance of tryptophan metabolites as diagnostic biomarkers.