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Carnitine in red meat increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases
Meat eaters who eat a lot of red meat are more likely to develop cardiovascular problems. The results of a new study now seem to recognize the meat ingredient L-carnitine as part of the problem. Researchers point out that the substance is also sold as a dietary supplement.
Vegetarians are less likely to have a heart attack. The German Nutrition Society recommends that the weekly consumption of meat and sausages should not exceed 300 to 600 grams. At the same time, she advises on low-fat products. Sausages and red meat, especially consumed in large quantities, are considered to be unhealthy. For example, studies suggest the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. British researchers recently discovered that vegetarians are less likely to have a heart attack, but this could also be explained by their usually healthier lifestyle.
Beef steak dangerous for vessels? The high salt content and contained nitrites and nitrates of sausages should not make their consumption health-promoting, but so far it did not seem to be clear to researchers why, for example, the consumption of a beef steak should have a harmful effect on the vessels. A statement by Robert Koeth from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio has now presented an explanation in the journal "Nature Medicine". This means that L-carnitine, (a naturally occurring chemical compound that is found in large quantities in red meat) is converted into trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) by bacteria living in the intestine. This substance promotes hardening of the arteries. These assumptions are supported by various experiments on mice as well as on humans. TMAO is produced in greater quantities in meat eaters than in vegetarians, since the corresponding microbes are part of the intestinal flora, especially if someone regularly consumes meat, according to the US researchers. This was verified by tests with vegans, vegetarians, regular meat eaters and meat eaters whose intestinal flora had been reduced by antibiotics. For the study, a long-time vegan was also willing to eat a steak so that his subsequently determined blood values contributed to a series of experiments that were as close to life as possible.
Examine food supplements more closely The human body can produce L-carnitine itself, but it mainly takes it in through food. As a substance that can increase fat burning, carnitine is advertised on the market as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules and powder. Based on the study results, the researchers around Robert Koeth recommended that the safety of such dietary supplements be checked. "Under certain conditions, large amounts of L-carnitine ingested could cause the intestinal flora to produce more TMAO and thus promote atherosclerosis," said the scientists. Nutritionist Brian Ratcliffe (Robert Gordon University), who was not involved in the study, said : "People who take L-carnitine for no medical reason should rethink that". However, the study does not provide complete clarity. For example, TMAO is abundant in sea fish and unlike red meat, fish is not considered harmful to the vessels. (ad)
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