Researchers Find New Link Between Red Meat and Heart Disease (Video)
If you’re concerned about heart disease, here’s another reason to consider setting down your steak knife. A new study adds to a growing body of literature linking red meat consumption with increased heart disease risk. Advertising Policy Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do … Read More
If you’re concerned about heart disease, here’s another reason to consider setting down your steak knife. A new study adds to a growing body of literature linking red meat consumption with increased heart disease risk.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Researchers have found that when we eat red meat, there is a set of reactions mediated by microbes in our gut. These gut microbe reactions are triggered by carnitine, a nutrient found in red meat. The study found that these reactions, which were previously unrecognized, contribute to the development of heart disease.
A previous study linked carnitine to the development of narrowing or hardening of the arteries, also called atherosclerosis, but this latest research took it a step further. It uncovered more details about a chain of reactions generated when microbes in the gut digest the carnitine in red meat.
Dr. Hazen says the results help us better understand how eating red meat is related to heart disease. It also allows researchers to develop better tools to fight it.
“We are now a step closer to developing drugs or tools to retard or block the development of heart disease by this pathway,” he says.
Past findings related to red meat and heart disease risk include:
Discovery of a biomarker that identifies risk of heart disease: trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). There is a global hunt in progress using cardiovascular fingerprints — scientists call them biomarkers — to identify the risk of heart disease. The most common biomarker for heart disease is the blood test for cholesterol levels, but a more recent example is C reactive protein (CRP). In 2011, researchers discovered TMAO, which is made by microbes that live in your gut. Read the full story: Finding Heart Risk Through the Gut (Video).
A study of middle-aged Seventh-day Adventists, a group with historically lower rates of cardiovascular disease than the general population, suggests that a more vegetarian dietary pattern may be associated with reduced mortality and increased longevity. Read the full story: Should I Cut Meat From My Diet?
Should you change your diet?
Deciding whether or not to eat red meat is a very personal choice, Dr. Hazen says.
“These studies do offer some powerful reasons to consider dropping or limiting red meat. It’s important to talk to your doctor. He or she can advise you based on your personal health history and individual heart disease risk.”