Posted on Nov 29, 2022, 4 p.m.
Article courtesy of Dr. Joel Kahn, MD, who is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, one of the world's top cardiologists, a best-selling author, lecturer, and a leading expert in plant-based nutrition and holistic care.
In 2011 reports from the Cleveland Clinic appeared that eating foods rich in L-carnitine (meats and duck) and choline (egg yolk) raise the levels of TMAO and cause atherosclerosis in animal models. Vegans tend to have much lower blood levels of TMAO by avoiding animal-sourced foods (ASF). There are now hundreds of studies relating blood TMAO levels from diet choices to a variety of diseases beyond just the heart, most notably diabetes and kidney disease. New data here points to more support for a diet (meat and eggs)-gut- heart connection. A sizable % of all heart disease cases are due to elevated TMAO from dietary choices.
The effects of animal-source foods (ASF) on atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and underlying mechanisms remain controversial. Researchers investigated prospective associations of different ASF with incident ASCVD and potential mediation by gut microbiota-generated trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) and traditional ASCVD risk pathways.
Among 3931 participants from a community-based US cohort aged 65+ years, ASF intakes and TMAO and metabolites were measured serially over time. Incident ASCVD (myocardial infarction, fatal coronary heart disease, stroke, other atherosclerotic death) was adjudicated over 12.5 years of follow-up.
Higher intakes of unprocessed red meat, total meat, and total ASF are associated with higher ASCVD risk. TMAO and metabolites together significantly mediated these associations and accounted for about 10.6% of heart events.
Processed meat intake is associated with a nonsignificant trend toward higher ASCVD. Among other risk pathways, blood glucose, insulin, and C-reactive protein, but not blood pressure or blood cholesterol, each significantly mediated the total meat-ASCVD association.
In this large, community-based cohort, higher meat intake associated with incident ASCVD, partly mediated by L-carnitine abundant in red meat resulting in elevated TMAO.
These novel findings support biochemical links between dietary meat, gut microbiome pathways, and ASCVD.
About the author: At his core, Dr. Joel Kahn believes that plant-based nutrition is the most powerful source of preventative medicine on the planet. Having practiced traditional cardiology since 1983, it was only after his own commitment to a plant-based vegan diet that he truly began to delve into the realm of non-traditional diagnostic tools, prevention tactics, and nutrition-based recovery protocols.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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