Do you already know why eating red meat is often dangerous?

Mexico City.- Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic, in United States, have discovered new mechanisms that show why and how often to eat Red meat can increase the risk of heart disease and the role that gut bacteria play in that process.

the research, directed by Stanley Hazen, is based on previous work showing that the TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide), a by-product of intestinal bacteria formed during digestion may lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and accidents cerebrovsculares. the TMAO It occurs when intestinal bacteria digest choline, lecithin and carnitine, nutrients that are abundant in animal products such as red meat and liver and other animal products.

In a new dietary intervention study published this Monday in the European Heart Journal, the scientists discovered that a diet high in red meat as the primary source of protein significantly increases the levels of TMAO in the blood circulation, compared with diets with white meat or non-meat as protein sources.

the research showed that chronic consumption of red meat improved the production of TMAO by gut microbes and reduced the efficiency of the kidneys in their expulsion. Both the increased production and the reduction of the elimination caused by a red meat diet contribute to the increase in TMAO content, which is related to the development of atherosclerosis and complications of heart disease.

High levels of blood TMAO have proven to be a powerful tool for predicting future risks of heart attack, stroke and death, according to previous research conducted by Dr. Hare and his team, and later worldwide replicated. The TMAO tests are now in clinical use. Dr. Hazen is chairman of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine in the Lerner Research Institute from the Cleveland Clinic and is head of the section of Preventive Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation at the Miller Institute of Heart and Vascular.

The study included 113 participants who received (in random order) meal plans, prepared with protein sources Red meat, white meat or non-meat (usually vegetarian), in 25 percent of your daily calories.

All participants followed a cleaning diet between meal plans. After a month on the red meat diet, the vast majority of participants in the study they have been through an increase in the levels of TMAO in blood and urine. On average, the TMAO level in the blood grew about three times during the red meat diet, compared with the white meat or meatless diet, with some patients showing an increase of more than ten times. Similar increases were observed in the urine. However, after the patients had finished the red meat diet, the TMAO levels entered the blood and urine decreased during the next month.


The work also revealed the unexpected finding that the chronic food choices of a participant had an influence on the renal function by the effectiveness of kidneys to dispel connections. For example, while a red meat diet reduced the secretion of TMAO, the red meat diet increased the efficiency of TMAO secretion. carnitine and others metabolites derivatives of carnitine.

"As we know, the first study shows that the kidneys can change the efficiency with which they expel various substances, depending on the diet that is being consumed, except for salts and water," he says. Hazen, who also runs the center. clinical microbiome and Human health from Cleveland.

"We know that lifestyle factors are crucial for health cardiovascular, and these findings are based on our previous research on the link between TMAO and heart disease. They provide additional evidence of how dietary interventions can be an effective treatment strategy to lower TMAO levels and reduce the subsequent risk of heart disease, "he added.


  • research
  • scientists
  • Heart and vascular disease
  • Red meat

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