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Thread: Lecithin, choline, intestines and heart disease page

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    Hedonist's Avatar
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    Lecithin, choline, intestines and heart disease

    Primal Fuel
    Can anyone interpret this article for me? It's kinda over my head.

    "When fed to mice, lecithin and choline were converted to a heart disease-forming product by the intestinal microbes, which promoted fatty plaque deposits to form within arteries (atherosclerosis); in humans, higher blood levels of choline and the heart disease forming microorganism products are strongly associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk."

    "Lecithin and its metabolite, choline, are also found in many commercial baked goods, dietary supplements, and even children's vitamins."

    So, lecithin and choline are good, but too much leads to heart disease. Our intestinal microbes play a part in this.

    What does this all mean in terms of primal? We generally avoid the products with added lecithin and choline (I guess). Is it a problem to eat a lot of eggs and meat? How do muscle meat and offal compare in terms of them?
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    We talked about it on paleohacks here Lecithin, choline, and dietary fat causing heart disease? - Paleo Hacks.com

    You can expect a response from Chris Masterjohn soon but I have a feeling it will just be like anything this preliminary, not able to be extrapolated to humans in all cases. There is very little evidence that choline causes heart disease but much that if we don't get a fairly large amount from food that we get NAFLD and our brains degenerate. I'm skeptical that mother nature would produce such a dichotomy.

    I am reminded of this article my Loren Cordain, available on his site. It is mainly about fatty acids but the implication for choline holds true.

    Abstract:

    250.7 KiB - 37 hits - March 3, 2011
    Cordain L, Eaton SB, Brand Miller J, Mann N, Hill K. The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: Meat based, yet non-atherogenic. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002; 56 (suppl 1):S42-S52. ABSTRACT Field studies of 20th century hunter-gatherers (HG) showed them to be generally free of the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Consequently, the characterization of HG diets may have important implications in designing therapeutic diets that reduce the risk for CVD in westernized societies. Based upon limited ethnographic data (n = 58 HG societies) and a single quantitative dietary study, it has been commonly inferred that gathered plant foods provided the dominant energy source in HG diets. In this review we have analyzed the 13 known quantitative dietary studies of HG and demonstrate that animal food actually provided the dominant (65%) energy source, while gathered plant foods comprised the remainder (35%). This data is consistent with a more recent, comprehensive review of the entire ethnographic data (n = 229 HG societies) that showed the mean subsistence dependence upon gathered plant foods was 32%, whereas it was 68% for animal foods. Other evidence including: isotopic analyses of Paleolithic hominid collagen tissue, reductions in hominid gut size, low activity levels of certain enzymes, and optimal foraging data all point toward a long history of meat based diets in our species. Because increasing meat consumption in western diets is frequently associated with increased risk for CVD mortality, it is seemingly paradoxical that HG societies, who consume the majority of their energy from animal food, have been shown to be relatively free of the signs and symptoms of CVD. The high reliance upon animal based foods would not have necessarily elicited unfavorable blood lipid profiles because of the hypolipidemic effects of high dietary protein (19-35% energy) and the relatively low level of dietary carbohydrate (22-40% energy). Although fat intake (28-58% energy) would have been similar to or higher than that found in western diets, it is likely that important qualitative differences in fat intake, including relatively high levels of MUFA and PUFA and a lower ω-6/ω-3 fatty acid ratio, would have served to inhibit the development of CVD. Other dietary characteristics including high intakes of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals along with a low salt intake may have operated synergistically with lifestyle characteristics (more exercise, less stress and no smoking) to further deter the development of CVD.
    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

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    Hedonist's Avatar
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    Thanks Stabby. I didn't get the impression that lecithin and choline were bad, just concern that they are being added to so many products. I agree that the studies don't prove anything. Just thought provoking.
    Ancestral Health Info

    I design websites and blogs for a living. If you would like a blog or website designed by someone who understands Primal, see my web page.

    Primal Blueprint Explorer My blog for people who are not into the Grok thing. Since starting the blog, I have moved close to being Archevore instead of Primal. But Mark's Daily Apple is still the best source of information about living an ancestral lifestyle.

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