Chemicals that are produced by our gut microbes after eating red meat could help explain the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, a new study finds.

Source: Mayo Clinic/Youtube

The study published in the American Heart Association’s peer-reviewed journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology found that when humans eat red meat such as beef, pork, bison, and venison, the gut microbes produce a certain chemical in the digestive tract. This chemical can be linked to the increased risk of cardiovascular disease that is associated with higher red meat consumption.

All around the world, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death. Although many factors go into a person’s increased or decreased risk of developing the disease, red meat consumption is one of the most common links.

“Most of the focus on red meat intake and health has been around dietary saturated fat and blood cholesterol levels,” said co-lead author of the study Meng Wang, Ph.D. “Based on our findings, novel interventions may be helpful to target the interactions between red meat and the gut microbiome to help us find ways to reduce cardiovascular risk.”

To conduct the study, researchers measured levels of metabolites in blood samples. Metabolites, or the chemical byproduct of food consumption, have been associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. TMAO, a metabolite, is produced to help digest red meat and it contains high amounts of a chemical called L-carnitine. High levels of TMAO have been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and Type 2 diabetes, according to the study.

Researchers found that eating more meat, especially more red and processed meat, was associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, and prostate cancer, and has many side effects. Learn about some Common Health Concerns That May Disappear Once You Ditch Dairy and 10 Calcium Supplements For Healthy Living on a Dairy-Free and 10 Carrageenan-Free Non-Dairy Products!

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