If it seems like red meat can’t get a break; after already being tied to heart disease, high cholesterol and unsavory ingredients like Pink Slime, there’s more bad news. New research, published in the current issue of the journal Nature Medicine, links a nutrient found in red meat with furthering the risk of developing heart disease.
According to the Huffington Post, l-carnitine, a substance naturally derived from amino acids and found in large amounts in red meat, has demonstrated a strong link to coronary issues, and may be the reason red meat is connected with heart disease. “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 as quoted in the Huffington Post.
The study researchers were looking beyond the usual unhealthy suspects in red meat: cholesterol and fat, which are both linked with cardiovascular disease, and found that carnitine has a powerful influence over metabolism of cholesterol—making people who consume large amounts of carnitine more prone to heart disease by causing build up of cholesterol on artery walls, with less of it being eliminated by the body.
Carnitine, which is similar to choline, is also found in other animal products including eggs, dairy, chicken and fish. It can also be found as a supplement, added to energy products and protein powders.
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Image: Neeta Lind