Compound in red meat increases risk of heart disease

8 April 2013

A nutrient present in red meat and dieting supplements has been linked with heart disease, a new study published in the journal Nature Medicine reveals.

Red meat has previously been found to increase risk of heart disease. As a result, the government has recommended individuals limit their intake of red and processed meats, as it was believed saturated fat and salt common in processed meats have artery-clogging effects.

Health guidelines suggest individuals consume no more than 70 grams of red meat or 20 grams of processed meat per day.

Although saturated fats and sodium do cause heart problems, scientists have now identified the real link between red meat and heart disease, a compound called L-carnitine.

Gut bacteria breaks L-carnitine down to create trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a compound which health research has shown to damage arteries and the heart.

L-carnitine is often found in dieting or muscle-building supplements, as it helps the body turn fat into energy. More research may be conducted to assess the safety of L-carnitine in weight-loss supplements.

Posted by Philip Briggs

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