Study Suggests Carnitine In Red Meat Leads To Higher Levels Of Tmao Which Leads To Heart Disease

I apologize if this has been posted already (didn't see it), but a new study reported on in the NYTimes recently posits a theory that TMAO is a cause of heart disease, and carnitine in red meat gets converted to TMAO by certain gut bacteria that feed on carnitine (and so are present at higher levels in meat eaters), which leads to higher levels of TMAO in the blood, while TMAO, in turn, leads cholesterol to penetrate artery walls and prevents the body from excreting cholesterol, which, they then posit, leads to heart disease: 


Although this study in no way proves that TMAO is an actual cause, much less the cause, of heart disease, it is at the very least a little bit more interesting than those purely correlational studies that note some link between red meat and [insert horrific illness of your choice here] without factoring out other confounding factors such as other bad aspects of diet, lifestyle, etc. that usually go hand-in-hand with higher red meat consumption.  In this study, instead, the researchers first noted that meat eaters had a much higher level of TMAO in their blood than vegans and then did an experiment where they gave meat eaters and vegans steak (I guess they weren't very strict vegans, huh?), and they noticed that in the meat eaters, the level of TMAO soared in the blood immediately afterwards, which it didn't do in vegans.  Obviously, this doesn't prove anything since it's, again, possible that it's not the meat that does the trick, but rather, the other bad lifestyle/diet choices of many meat eaters as compared to vegans, and I guess this study piggybacks on the controversial view that cholesterol in the arteries is a cause of heart disease, but at least they tested levels of TMAO in the blood immediately after red meat consumption so that this isn't a PURELY correlational study.

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