Written by Lauren Singer, Applied Nutrition for Healthy Living, Spring 2013
Saturated fat and cholesterol are not the only things found in red meat that increase the risk of heart disease. A new study has found the nutrient l-carnitine may play a role in the development of heart disease. This nutrient is found in red meat and dietary supplements. Using mice and people, scientists conducted experiments that linked l-carnitine to increased cardiovascular risks. “We now have an understanding of a new nutritional pathway that helps explain the long-standing recognition of a link between red meat and the development of heart disease,” said study researcher Dr. Stanley Hazen, section head of preventive cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. His research team suspected
that something aside from cholesterol and saturated fats were not the only things found in red meat associated with heart disease.
Chronic ingestion of carnitine shifts the metabolism of cholesterol. Eating carnitine causes more cholesterol to be deposited onto artery walls, and less to be eliminated from the body. This is how scientists now think carnitine in red meat is linked to heart disease. Reducing consumption of red meat will reduce the chances of heart disease. Red meat should be limited in diets. Chicken, turkey, and fish are good sources of protein that can replace red meat. Aside from the carnitine found in red meat that leads to heart disease, the saturated fat and cholesterol already in the red meat also leads to heart disease.
What will you do to reduce your red meat intake?