Red meat contributes to the development of atherosclerosis

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Last reviewed: 12.03.2022

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24 January 2022, 09:00

The presence of red meat in the diet causes increased intra-intestinal reproduction of the bacterium Emergencia timonensis. This microorganism is known for the fact that in the process of its metabolism a substance is produced that contributes to the development of pathologies of the cardiovascular system. This information was voiced by the staff of the clinical center in Cleveland. They published the results of the study on the pages of Nature Microbiology.

We are talking about the results of a long-term scientific work initiated more than ten years ago. In the early stages of the study, scientists discovered one of the main by-products of the bacterial processing of red meat and other animal products. It turned out to be trimethylamine-N-oxide, a substance that greatly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular pathologies and cerebrovascular accidents.

About three years ago, researchers found that under the influence of certain intra-intestinal processes, the amino acid carnitine is transformed into trimethylamine-N-oxide. At the first stage, the intermediate substance γ-butyrobetaine is formed, which, under the influence of the intestinal microbiome, is converted into trimethylamine, a precursor of trimethylamine-N-oxide. As scientists explain, there are a large number of microorganisms in the intestines that can transform carnitine into γ-butyrobetaine, but not everyone can transform it into trimethylamine.

Experts traced the relationship between the level of trimethylamine-N-oxide and the development of cardiovascular pathologies. To gather evidence, they analyzed the composition of the blood and gut microbiome of 3,000 participants, further examining their food habits. It was found that the intestines of subjects who prefer eating red meat were abundant with microorganisms Emergencia timonensis, which contribute to the unsafe transformation of γ-butyrobetaine to trimethylamine and then to trimethylamine-N-oxide. In addition, meat-eating volunteers had an increased tendency to form atherosclerotic plaques and intravascular clots. But in the intestinal microbiome of people adhering to a vegetarian and vegan diet, these microorganisms were found in a minimal amount, or were completely absent.

As participants switched to a predominantly plant-based diet, there was a decrease in the number of unsafe intestinal microorganisms. This only indicates that the correction of eating habits and preferences will help minimize the risks of developing cardiovascular pathologies and complications of these diseases. This discovery can also be used as a prevention of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes and heart attacks.

Details are described on the NATURE source page

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