The risk of cardiovascular disease increases by 22% with each serving of meat

El riesgo de patología cardiovascular crece un 22% con cada ración de carne

The risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease in the elderly is increased by one 22 percent for each daily ration of red meat. This is shown by the results of a survey conducted by the Friedman School of Nutrition Sciences and Policies at Tufts University (USA) and the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, which also deciphered the biological patterns causing this increased risk.

According to peer-reviewed research published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB)the higher level of exposure to the various cardiovascular diseases is explained by an increase in the levels of three metabolites produced by intestinal bacteria digestion of meat’s abundant nutrients. Increased risks and interrelationships with intestinal bacterial metabolites were found for red meat, but not for poultry, eggs or fish.

Study participants included nearly 4,000 of the 5,888 people over the age of 65 originally recruited between 1989 and 1990 for the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). They were followed for an average of 12.5 years and at the time of the trial the patients had an average age of 73 years.

“Several blood biomarkers were measured at baseline and again during follow-up, including levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) generated by the gut microbiome and two of its key brokers, gamma-butyrobetaine and crotonobetaine, derived from L-carnitineabundant in red meat,” they explain in the survey.

Why is the risk increasing?

According to the authors, the increased TMAO and metabolites that is found in the blood approximately explains a tenth of this high risk. They also noticed that the blood sugar and general routes inflammation may help explain the links between red meat consumption and cardiovascular disease. Moreover, the two factors also appear to be more important in linking red meat consumption and cardiovascular disease than pathways related to blood cholesterol or blood pressure.

“It is interesting to note that we have identified three main roads that help explain the links between red and processed meat and cardiovascular disease (microbiome-related metabolites like TMAO, blood sugar, and general inflammation), and each of them seemed more important than cholesterol-related pathways in blood or blood pressure,” says co-lead author Dariush Mozaffarian.

A new way to reduce cardiovascular disease

Para Mozaffarian suggests that to choose foods from animal origins is “important” to focus on the differences in total fats, saturated fats or cholesterol, and “more important to understand better the effects in the health of other food components, like the L-carnitine and heme iron”.

In addition, according to the authors of the study, this discovery represents a new dietary therapeutic route to reduce the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. “Interactions between red meat, our gut microbiome, and the bioactive metabolites they generate appear to be a major risk pathway, creating a new target for potential interventions to reduce heart disease“, specify the researchers.

Although it may contain statements, data, or notes from healthcare institutions or professionals, the information in Medical Writing is edited and prepared by journalists. We recommend that the reader consult a healthcare practitioner with any health-related questions.

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