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Microbes in your Gut Create Red Meat’s Heart Disease

A study in the April 2013 edition of Nature Magazine demonstrates the complexity of how red meat causes heart disease.  It’s not a simple equation.  Dr. Stanley Hazen and Robert Koeth of the Cleveland Clinic, in a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, believe they found the link between heart disease and red meat.

1.   While people who eat a lot of red meat probably have a higher risk for heart disease from its saturated fats and cholesterol, these two problems don’t fully account for the heart disease connection to red meat.

2.   Red meat has a lot of carnitine, which contains a type of chemical structure called a trimethylamine.

3.   Microbes in your gut break down all the food we eat, and they also change the trimethylamine to a related compound (TMAO).

4.   TMAO is strongly associated with atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries, blocking blood flow, increasing blood pressure, and causing strokes and heart attacks.

5.   In a series of experiments involving both humans and mice, Dr. Hazen and Robert Koeth clearly demonstrated how meat consumption increases TMAO substantially.

6.   Further, they showed that TMAO directly causes atherosclerosis.

7.  In short, red meat may harm your health.

8.   It’s time to take the Red Meat Pledge.

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