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Despite of what people know, red meat is relatively correlated with heart disease through its chemical components and not completely because of cholesterol or saturated fats. The idea that majority has inculcated in their daily lives regarding ingesting red meat which can lead to heart problems is now being reinstated by numerous institutions and researches.

The facts and figures

The team of researchers at Cleveland Clinic stated that when carnitine, a substance found in meat, and bacteria inside the stomach are processed together, it then causes major heart diseases.

According to Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute, the metabolism of carnitine can now further explain the buildup of plaques inside the heart that prevents oxygenated blood flow through different systems of the body. Atherosclerosis is the name given to the said condition. If atherosclerosis is not dealt with in its early stages, it can lead to stroke, heart attack and, in worse case scenarios, death.

The presence of fat in red meat cannot be blamed entirely, Hazen stated. It only accounts to a minor portion of the causes for increased heart ailments. Genetic tendencies, preparation and cooking and the meat’s overall sodium content also comprise the remaining portion of the risk factors.

How carnitine influences heart disease

Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a compound found in red meat, is strongly associated with the formation of atherosclerosis. TMAO is created when digestive tract bacteria, coming from increased meat intake, breaks down carnitine. The frequency of eating meat may result to an increased carnitine buildup which may then lead to the development of plaques that clog the arteries.

Carnitine in daily living

While red meat is considered to have one of the highest levels of carnitine, there are also other food sources where the substance can be found. Some of which are milk, poultry and fish. For those who are not familiar with “L-carnitine”, it is actually a well-endorsed supplement that is thought to target conditions concerning the heart and muscles.

Further research implications

While the study is considered as groundbreaking, Professor Harlan Krumholtz of Yale University School of Medicine wrote that the findings has to be repeated in more ways than one before physicians account gut bacteria in determining whether a person is at risk for heart disease and must be abstained from eating red meat.

Replication of the study should be imposed for a more tangible and firm determination of the translated knowledge. Furthermore, Dr. Harlan stated that there are a lot of conflicts embodying the conclusion.

Dietitian Catherine Collins of Science Media Center expressed that even with this kind of information at hand, the necessity of changing dietary recommendations is not a high priority. A person who chooses to have a Mediterranean diet that allows moderation on certain products like mild, fish, meat and even alcohol, can still be claimed as healthy provided that it is coupled with mono-unsaturated fats, pulses, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

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