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Old 04-08-2013, 12:45 PM   #1
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carnitine (in red meat) and heart disease - NY Times

Discuss!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/he...pagewanted=all
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:28 PM   #2
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interesting. I have also read that it's the high iron content in red meat. high blood iron concentrations are correlated with heart troubles.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:32 PM   #3
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Red meat and Gut Bacteria can cause CVD

So, It's all over the news, that people who eat red meat ( and also smoke, eat little vegetables, and drink alcohol, hmmm) are at a greater risk of cardio vascular damage because gut bacteria turn Carnitine into a carcinogenic compound that increases plague formation.

Quote:
TMAO acts as an irritant, said Steven Zodkoy, DC, a nutrition specialist with the American Clinical Board of Nutritionist, which causes blood vessels to become inflamed and can lead to heart disease.
Have you read about this?
What's your opinion on it.

Will you cut your red meat consumption?

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Old 04-08-2013, 02:44 PM   #4
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This is another typical example of 'reporting' results prematurely. I read the article in the NY Times, and it seems that:

1. They have found correlation, not causality. High levels of TMAO in people who suffer from cardiovascular problems doesn't mean the TMAO caused the problems.

2. They have no idea which gut bacteria interact to create the problem.

Finally, the 'anti-meat' lobby is alive and well, and I am sure they were behind the release of this information.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:54 PM   #5
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:06 PM   #6
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I seem to recall Dr. Terry Wahls commenting on this study.
I believe she said that grass fed organic beef did not have this effect.
Not sure, so if someone has more to add would welcome the input.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:16 PM   #7
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:27 PM   #8
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I'll wager a bet they are not talking about 100% grassfed beef.

Am I cutting my consumption? I don't eat "regular" beef sold in stores & haven't for a few years. I find it is not a healthy choice for me.

That said, the only thing keeping me from eating more red grassfed meat than I already do is the cost.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:51 PM   #9
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Correlation is not causation.
I continue to believe that the whole, natural foods are healthy and it's the chemical-filled factory crap that's killing people.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:58 PM   #10
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What's tmao?
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:17 PM   #11
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I would be very surprised if "grass fed" had anything to do with this.

I think this is the tip of the iceberg for problems caused by gut bacteria. There is some evidence that soluble fiber causes serious metabolic issues too. *sigh*

they have CAUSED diabetes in animals by taking bowel contents from a diabetic animal and putting that in a healthy animal, thereby transplanting the gut bacteria. granted that is too disgusting to contemplate, but it does give you pause!

it annoys me when they lump "red meat" together too. not useful. in some studies that includes pork, in others it does not. if it's just BEEF they should say that's the only thing they are studying, and not imply that it's a category. beef has always seemed very suspicious to me, personally, but pork seems less so.
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:19 PM   #12
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:20 PM   #13
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If it is an interaction with bacteria in the gut, I'd posit that the correlation may be with the flora of the folks eating the steaks, not the steaks, themselves. And what is ubiquitous in the American diet that has a deleterious effect on the composition of the gut biome? SUGAR. Sugar in multiple forms - glucose, fructose, galactose, etc.

I'd be interested to see further research done not on the substance, but on a variety of people with different long term eating styles (like the vegan they already used). I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was the combination of the SAD diet's effect on the body and the TMAO that was the issue, rather than the beef. For example, would the gut of someone who was a long term adherent of the GAPS diet or Atkins respond the same way? Macrobiotic? Pescatarian? Is ethnography somewhat to blame - ie: certain populations or genotypes are more prone to this response than others?

There may be something there, but given the other studies on heart disease and their dubious, conflicting conclusions, there is a lot more hypothesizing and testing I'd need to see before being even mildly interested in a habit change regarding red meat. It could be a fascinating avenue of study, to be sure, but there are just SO many factors to consider and control for in each aforementioned arm of study.


That's my .02
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arctic_Mama View Post
If it is an interaction with bacteria in the gut, I'd posit that the correlation may be with the flora of the folks eating the steaks, not the steaks, themselves. And what is ubiquitous in the American diet that has a deleterious effect on the composition of the gut biome? SUGAR. Sugar in multiple forms - glucose, fructose, galactose, etc.

I'd be interested to see further research done not on the substance, but on a variety of people with different long term eating styles (like the vegan they already used). I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was the combination of the SAD diet's effect on the body and the TMAO that was the issue, rather than the beef. For example, would the gut of someone who was a long term adherent of the GAPS diet or Atkins respond the same way? Macrobiotic? Pescatarian? Is ethnography somewhat to blame - ie: certain populations or genotypes are more prone to this response than others?

There may be something there, but given the other studies on heart disease and their dubious, conflicting conclusions, there is a lot more hypothesizing and testing I'd need to see before being even mildly interested in a habit change regarding red meat. It could be a fascinating avenue of study, to be sure, but there are just SO many factors to consider and control for in each aforementioned arm of study.


That's my .02
All very good points. They did test vegans as well as a control group who I assume was eating the SAD. The vegans did not have the negative gut flora reaction which I thought was fascinating. Vegans certainly don't eat anywhere near the SAD. I'm not a vegan expert, but my brother and his family are vegans and they eat a fairly large amount of "good" carbs in the form of beans, rice, pasta, grains.

There is no reason to assume the vegans eat more sugar than the SAD participants, so I doubt sugar itself is the culprit. But I agree with you that there is no way to know where a LCHF eating would fall on the spectrum. Would they be more like a vegan or more like a SAD eater in terms of the gut flora reaction.
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:43 PM   #15
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I just don't know anymore. I have given up hamburger meat because I cannot find any grass fed and I don't believe factory farmed meat is healthy at all and it repulses me but then knowing soil can be contaminated who is to say that the supposedly healthy grass fed beef is all that healthy anyhow? I am just so tired of thinking and obsessing about what to eat or not to eat. I believe we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Some people who live pure lives and do everything right to avoid illness and diseases and still end up with diseases and then there are people who smoke and drink all day long and are healthier than those who try to be "healthy"I pay close attention to how certain foods make me feel,think and act and I just avoid what makes me feel bad.
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I just don't know anymore. I have given up hamburger meat because I cannot find any grass fed and I don't believe factory farmed meat is healthy at all and it repulses me but then knowing soil can be contaminated who is to say that the supposedly healthy grass fed beef is all that healthy anyhow? I am just so tired of thinking and obsessing about what to eat or not to eat. I believe we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Some people who live pure lives and do everything right to avoid illness and diseases and still end up with diseases and then there are people who smoke and drink all day long and are healthier than those who try to be "healthy"I pay close attention to how certain foods make me feel,think and act and I just avoid what makes me feel bad.
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:37 PM   #17
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Correlation is not causation.
This. x100000.
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Old 04-08-2013, 05:43 PM   #18
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Correlation is not causation.
I continue to believe that the whole, natural foods are healthy and it's the chemical-filled factory crap that's killing people.
Definitely. I agree on both points.
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:38 PM   #19
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What's tmao?
trimethylamine-N-oxide

It is supposed to be an irritant to the cellular lining of the arteries and therefore a cause of arteriosclerosis.

Just like smoking, or alcohol, or high blood sugar....
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:41 PM   #20
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I agree with others, correlation does not equal causation.

I assume these people were eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) full of carbs. Would love to see if there are any differences in someone eating a cleaner and/or LC diet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenrose View Post
I would be very surprised if "grass fed" had anything to do with this.

I think this is the tip of the iceberg for problems caused by gut bacteria. There is some evidence that soluble fiber causes serious metabolic issues too. *sigh*

they have CAUSED diabetes in animals by taking bowel contents from a diabetic animal and putting that in a healthy animal, thereby transplanting the gut bacteria. granted that is too disgusting to contemplate, but it does give you pause!

it annoys me when they lump "red meat" together too. not useful. in some studies that includes pork, in others it does not. if it's just BEEF they should say that's the only thing they are studying, and not imply that it's a category. beef has always seemed very suspicious to me, personally, but pork seems less so.
Interesting, I hadn't heard the particular point about diabetes but I have heard that obesity could be caused by a certain mix of gut bacteria. Also C. diff. infections can be cured by a "fecal transplant" from a healthy household member - talk about gross! But I would do it in a heartbeat if necessary!
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:51 PM   #21
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I assume these people were eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) full of carbs. Would love to see if there are any differences in someone eating a cleaner and/or LC diet.
This absolutely! I can see red meat not being the best choice if you are washing it down with a hot fudge sundae!
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:08 PM   #22
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They change their minds about 'safe' every seven seconds.I tend to ignore popular science in the media.
If you are really worried don't eat kangaroo(highest levels)
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:03 PM   #23
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the thing that interests me is that they have evidence that carnitine, an amino acid in red meat, actually turns into an irritating substance. that part is science and can be documented and observed.

It's effect on the whole body is the guessing and spin that they are publishing, and the fact that people reported their food every so often seems so unreliable. Besides that , people who eat meat also reported riskier behaviors not related to food, so maybe it's not the meat but the risky behavior that is dangerous.

Also, there is relative risk and actual risk and nobody has shown that red meat, exclusive of other factors, produces enough of this irritant to be the sole cause of arteriosclerosis to the point of death or significant or even insignificant injury.

Any food you eat will produce some "irritant" in the body of some sort.

"They" want to take away our meat, our dairy, our eggs, our fats, and leave us to eat only vegetables , roots and grains.

What about oxalic acid in many root vegetables like taro and leafy vegetables like spinach? What about gluten in wheat and anti-enzymes in seeds? those are significant irritants and we have actual diseases and symptoms named for the direct effects they produce.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:17 AM   #24
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Anyone want to take a stab as to why they didn't find the gut flora issue in the vegan test subjects when they (somehow!) got them to eat red meat?

I find that so interesting and wonder if the vegan diet is closer to the LC WOE we all follow here.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:41 AM   #25
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I think "they" pretty much don't know what causes what anymore...
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:07 AM   #26
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IMHO, this is all speculation until more specific and extensive research is done. This is another instance of correlations looking good and mainstream media calling "FIRE!" too soon.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:29 AM   #27
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Did some googling and came up with some interesting finds.
Here's an admittedly bias source, a grass fed beef rancher who says among other things;
"
You may have been reading about a new study that tries to link consumption of red meat to atherosclerosis. The claim is that a compound in red meat called carnatine is metabolized by certain gut bacteria into trimethylamine oxide (TMAO) that can increase arterial plaques.

This isn't news, though the study is new. The work on which this new study is based investigated the relationship between choline, gut bacteria and TMAO. It also noted that carnatine fed these bacteria too.

The problem with both studies is that they are based on genetically modified mice, use dosages far higher than comes from diet, and fail to demonstrate the effects that their theories predict. Worse, many other factors influence TMAO including the use of antibiotics and other drugs which alter gut flora."

...and this from the Weston Price foundation (a source I learned about here at LCF)

"The authors argue that dietary choline, found mostly as phosphatidylcholine, enters the intestine where our gut bacteria convert it to free choline and then to trimethylamine, a gas that smells like rotting fish. Then our livers detoxify the trimethylamine to an odorless product called trimethylamine oxide (TMAO). While this prevents us from walking around smelling like we’ve been swimming in a barrel full of fermenting cod livers, the authors argue that TMAO fills our arteries with plaque.

In support of this hypothesis, the authors showed that blood levels of choline, its metabolic byproduct betaine, and TMAO all correlated with the incidence and severity of cardiovascular disease in humans, although this was not prospective data showing that the occurrence of these compounds in the blood early in life predicted the development of heart disease later in life.

They also showed that feeding mice phosphatidylcholine did in fact produce TMAO, but only in the presence of gut bacteria. Further, feeding mice five-fold or ten-fold higher concentrations of choline chloride than they would ordinarily receive, or simply feeding them TMAO itself, increased atherosclerotic lesion size, and atherosclerotic lesion size correlated with blood levels of TMAO.

There’s just one major problem with this hypothesis. Studies in humans have shown that neither phosphatidylcholine nor choline-rich foods produce detectable increases in trimethylamine.

So there it is....Do the antibiotics used in factory style beef ranching affect gut flora? I believe they do.
Does the finding in mice mean that the same effect happens in humans? The folks at Weston Price seem to think not.

Will I be changing my eating habits as a result of this study?
Not a chance.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:01 AM   #28
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I found it fascinating because I think gut flora are becoming the new frontier of diet and health research.

It won't impact my intake of red meat, which is pretty much daily. I will continue, however, to eat raw unpasteurized sauerkraut and other fermented veg. I want to encourage the better gut flora to flourish.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:30 AM   #29
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There is an indepth discussion on the Diane Rehm Show this morning (NPR). You can listen online
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:31 AM   #30
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The article states the 'evidence' pretty clearly.

Quote:
Of course, critical questions remain. Would people reduce their heart attack risk if they lowered their blood TMAO levels? An association between TMAO levels in the blood and heart disease risk does not necessarily mean that one causes the other. And which gut bacteria in particular are the culprits?
It is a hypothesis and nothing more.
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