Sunday, May 5, 2013

Another Reason for Meatless Mondays?

Posted By on Sun, May 5, 2013 at 9:13 AM


Last month, scientists at the Cleveland Clinic gave us another reason to avoid red meat. In a small study, the researchers suggested a link between increased heart disease risk and a red meat substance called carnitine. Once free from suspicion, carnitine - a word that takes its root from the Latin word carnis (eg., carnivore) - finds its highest concentration in red meat (and is present in lesser amounts in fish, chicken, and dairy products).

The trouble with carnitine, according to this study, is that it becomes something perhaps more insidious once the bacteria in our guts take hold of it. Our intestinal flora quickly convert carnitine into another little-studied chemical called TMAO, which stands for Trimethylamine N-oxide. Additional studies by the same researchers found that people (and mice) with high blood carnitine or TMAO levels were at increased heart disease risk.

The studies give yet more meat to the argument that heart disease is more complex than most of us ever supposed. Saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar, and inflammation are major culprits - and now carnitine and TMAO may take their place on that infamous list.

But suspend your judgements: Additional research is sure to come, and contradictory studies about carnitine/TMAO (one published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings) have already emerged. For now, a little healthy skepticism about red meat - and more Meatless Mondays - can only be a good thing.

  • Pin It
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email
  • Favorite


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • New Paltz Guitarist's Book is a Visual Feast

    Scott Helland of Frenchy and the Punk has published a compendium of his drawings.
    • Feb 12, 2016
  • The Spirit of St. Louis Soars Again

    Charles Lindbergh flew the Spirit of St. Louis and completed the first trans-atlantic flight in 1927. Now, a recently completed replica is on display at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome.
    • Jul 16, 2016

Hudson Valley Events

submit event

Latest in Daily Dose

More by Wendy Kagan

  • From Tibet, With Love

    Traditional Tibetan Medicine Interlaces the Spiritual and the Medical for a Singularly Holistic Approach to Health
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • Saugerties' New Sensation: Savor Beauty + Spa

    Beauty lovers, rejoice: A new 5,000-square-foot eco-spa is the place to get pampered in the heart of Saugerties.
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • Conversation with an Ageless Goddess

    Women's health diva Christiane Northrup, MD, turns everything you've heard about aging on its head—offering an alternative prescription for a vital new you.
    • Aug 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Commenters

Current Issue

October 1-31, 2016
Issue Cover