Saturated fat in red meat has long been linked to a raised risk of heart disease, with TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide), a gut microbiota-generated metabolite, also linked to the pathogenesis of heart disease. However, the link between chronic dietary patterns on TMAO production, metabolism, and renal excretion is still unclear. Now, a study from researchers at the Cleveland Clinic identifies new mechanisms demonstrating the regularly ingesting of red meat can increase the risk of heart disease, and the role gut microbiota plays in this process. The team states their study shows a diet rich in red meat as the primary protein source significantly increases circulating TMAO levels via gut bacteria, compared to diets with white meat or non-meat as protein sources. The opensource study is published in the European Heart Journal.
Recent studies from the lab show TMAO, a gut bacteria byproduct formed during digestion, can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes with TMAO tests now used in the clinical. TMAO is produced when gut bacteria digest choline, lecithin, and carnitine, nutrients shown to be abundant in animal products such as red meat, liver, and other animal products. The current study shows chronic red meat consumption elevates the production of TMAO by gut microbes and reduces the kidneys’ efficiency of expelling it, raising the risk of heart disease.
The current study follows 113 participants on meal plans prepared using either red meat, white meat or non-meat (vegetarian) protein sources as 25% of their daily calories. Results after one-month show study participants following the red meat diet experience a rise in TMAO levels in the blood and urine, that subsides once the red-meat diet is stopped. TMAO levels in the blood and urine increase 3-fold during the red meat diet, with some patients showing over a 10-fold rise, compared to the white meat or non-meat diets.
The group states the participant’s chronic dietary choice also impacts kidney function by changing the effectiveness of the kidneys to expel compounds, with the red meat diet decreasing TMAO excretion, whilst increasing the excretion efficiency of carnitine and other carnitine-derived metabolites. They go on to hypothesize the design of a potential new class of drugs for the prevention of heart disease could involve the interruption of the microbial pathway where choline is converted into TMAO.
The team surmises their data shows the pathway between chronic red meat consumption and heart disease, and the gut microbiota’s role in this pathogenesis. For the future, the researchers state by uncovering this new pathway, the global medical community can potentially develop new treatments to interrupt the development and progression of cardiovascular disease.
Source: The Cleveland Clinic
Get Healthinnovations delivered to your inbox:
Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.
Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.
Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio, BioPortfolio.com, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.
Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.
Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.
An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.