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Red meat - bad for the heart...

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  • Red meat - bad for the heart...


    Red meat + wrong bacteria = bad news for hearts : Nature News & Comment
    Do what you love and do it often. If you don't like something, change it. if you don't like your job, quit. If you don't have enough time, stop watching tv. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop, they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love. Stop over analyzing, life is simple. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Some opportunities only come once, seize them.

  • #2
    I saw this study too. Here are my thoughts:

    Interesting article that I read fully and my understanding is this: it's not that red meat is the culprit. It's when the carnatine found in red meat interacts with a specific type of gut bacteria...that gut bacteria metabolizes the carnatine to form TMAO which may be a biomarker for heart attacks.

    More research needs to be done to determine which gut bacteria (there are millions if not billions, some healthy and some unhealthy) actually cause this reaction. My question is: does someone with a healthy gut (a very small slice of the American population) react the same way to carnatine intake? In one leg of the experiment they gave the patients a course of strong antibiotics that wiped out all of their gut bacteria (good and bad) and after that they showed no increase of TMAO in the blood after eating steak. So clearly its a certain gut bacteria that does this when it comes into contact with carnatine. Most Americans have totally unhealthy guts (due to overuse of antibiotics, diet, etc) that are abundant in bad bacteria (such as candida), and I wonder if that could be the reason for the reaction.

    Additionally, my next question would be: Does the presence of TMAO in the blood alone (meaning without an inflammatory environment, and no other markers for cardio vascular disease or heart failure) indicate that someone is more likely to die of a heart attack? What about people who eat right (a paleo, anti-inflammatory diet), supplement to stave off inflammation, get good sleep, good exercise, and are able to successfully manage their stress levels? Those people would have no other factors other than some increase (MAYBE) in TMAO in their blood. Does that alone cause a heart attack.

    My educated guess would be NO. But more research is needed to fully understand this. Personally, for me this changes nothing. I will still eat red meat as long as it comes from a high quality source (organic, grass fed) and I am keeping my inflammation levels low and staying generally healthy through good lifestyle choices.


    • #3
      I actually just made this article the subject of my latest blog post:

      The Four Pillars of Health! (Diet, Sleep, Stress Reduction, Exercise): Red Meat haters surface once again (for their monthly appearance)


      • #4
        What Ricky said plus:

        The same thing happened when they tried the experiment on people with wiped out gut bacteria and with vegans, no uptick in TMAO. Vegans obviously don't have this particular gut bacteria but, is this due to not eating meat or due to the fact that most vegans tend to be extremely health conscious and thus don't eat McD's and store bought "crap-in-a-box" type of foods? Perhaps the bacteria that reacts with the carnatine only thrives in a junk food and/or high carb gut biome.

        Either way it comes down to the gut bacteria, not the meat, as source of the problem.

        Also doing a study on people who are already "at risk" for heart attacks is inherently difficult due to multiple confounding variables such as being overweight and having diabetes. (Not many overweight vegans).


        • #5
          Very true Paleo Bird!


          • #6
            I just took a quick look at Cordain's latest book, which I'd mentioned in another post on this topic -- in connection with vegetarianism, which this study seems to be, in a sense, recommending.

            Cordain states on page 50:

            ... a large meta-analysis [conducted by Oxford University researchers found] ... "... no significant differences between vegetarians and non-vegetarians in mortality from cerebrovascular disease, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer or all other causes combined " [Part in quotation marks from Oxford; Cordain's emphasis]
            Cordain also comments (p. 55):

            If vegetarian diets provide protection from cardiovascular disease, as the ADA suggests, you would expect to find a low prevalence of heart disease and stroke in India because almost one third of its population are vegetarians. ... In reality, the incidence of cardiovascular disease is much higher in india than anywhere else in the world ...
            That kind of stops the hypothesis in its tracks. It may be part of the truth; it can't be the whole truth.

            Here's another possible factor in heart disease -- intake of omega 3 fatty acids:

            France is the only country where recommendations specifically for DHA are provided by health bodies at 120 mg for men and 100 mg for women per day. A recent survey of 4884 French men and women found that on average this target was far exceeded by estimated intakes of 273 mg/day for men and 226 mg/day for women [37]. In addition, the total long chain omega 3 fatty acids (EPA + DHA) intakes in France are in line with the recommended nutraceutical doses for the prevention of heart disease, at an estimated 497 mg/day for men and 400 mg/day in women. The French estimates for preformed DHA (250 mg/day), predominately from seafood, are much higher than estimates from other Western countries, such as 70 mg/day in the US, 90 mg/day in Australia, and 170 mg/day in Germany. These observations may in part contribute towards the “French Paradox”, the lower incidence of heart disease despite the diet rich in saturated fatty acids
            Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA): An Ancient Nutrient for the Modern Human Brain


            • #7
              It's correlative. TMAO tends to be above normal levels in people with advanced athersclerosis. TMAO is a protection mechanism for a protection mechanism (uric acid).

              Heart disease is the result of damaged carbohydrate metabolism, and always will be. Which explains why the vegan group was fine, but the other group(SAD diet full of PUFA in cells) was not.

              So, keep eating your red meat and try not to take mainstream science so literally because it's always mostly wrong(think seed oils being "heart healthy")
              Make America Great Again


              • #8
                Funny... this just came out a few days ago. L-carnitine supplementation after heart attack leads to massively improved outcomes.

                L-carnitine significantly improves patient outcomes following heart attack, study suggests

                This systematic review of the 13 controlled trials in 3,629 patients, involving 250 deaths, 220 cases of new heart failure, and 38 recurrent heart attacks, found that L-carnitine was associated with:

                Significant 27% reduction in all-cause mortality (number needed to treat 38)

                Highly significant 65% reduction in ventricular arrhythmias (number needed to treat 4)

                Significant 40% reduction in the development of angina (number needed to treat 3)

                Reduction in infarct size
                A meta-analysis of controlled trials in humans and testing hard outcomes, not just biomarkers.

                I don't know if you seen it yet, but Chris Masterjohn already reviewed (debunked) the TMAO study pretty thoroughly:

                Does Carnitine From Red Meat Contribute to Heart Disease Through Intestinal Bacterial Metabolism to TMAO? | Mother Nature Obeyed - Weston A Price Foundation
                My site: Authority Nutrition - My Twitter: @AuthNutrition


                • #9
                  Hot off the presses. Dr. Ede has put together the best most cogently written rebuttal to the OP article I have seen so far.

                  Does Carnitine from Red Meat Cause Heart Disease? Diagnosis: Diet


                  • #10
                    Thanks, PB, that is a brilliant review.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tom B-D View Post
                      Thanks, PB, that is a brilliant review.
                      Dr. Ede rocks. I love her blog, Diagnosis: Diet.


                      • #12
                        I want to share the blog post from the "American Gut" project - the ones who are actually studying the microbiome. This explanation is the most lucid I have seen on this whole issue yet.

                        From Meat to Microbes to Main street: is it time to trade in your George Foreman Grill? - Human Food Project

                        The bacteria responsible for increased TMAO levels are actually ones that thrive on a diet of whole grains ... um...
                        THe issue is FAR from clear, and this post really illuminates the major issues that are still unresolved.

                        Worth a read.


                        • #13
                          Oops ...

                          A meta-analysis of 13 controlled trials concludes that including L-carnitine among the other therapies given in the acute setting for MI appears to significantly cut all-cause mortality and lead to fewer angina symptoms and ventricular arrhythmias ...
                 trusted cardiology news and opinions

                          Linked by Dr. Feinman, who comments:

                          Bottom line recommendation on carnitine studies: better scientific training for doctors.

                          Sorry, but the people who put these populist scare stories, carefully judged to play on established fears and to garner headiness with no regard for truth, out had better raise their game.

                          We're onto them.


                          • #14
                            Read this blog for reducing your risk of heart attack.

                            Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease | Emergency Care Houston


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by alex49778 View Post
                              Read this blog for reducing your risk of heart attack.

                              Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease | Emergency Care Houston

                              You are joking, aren't you?
                              Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

                              Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine