The way the body digests red meat after eating it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially heart attack, in older people.
- Red meat participates in the development of red blood cells.
- However, its high consumption is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Metabolites, organic compounds, could be the source of these risks.
Red meat is an essential food in French cuisine, very popular with consumers. It is rich in protein, iron and zinc, and participates in the development of red blood cells. However, an August 2022 study exposes the dangers of this food.
An increased risk of cardiovascular disease with red meat
The study, published in the journal American Heart Association, confirms that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. To achieve this result, the researchers collected information from 3,931 participants over the age of 65. Almost two-thirds of the participants were women and none of the volunteers had cardiovascular disease. The objective was to assess their usual consumption of red meat, fish, poultry and eggs. As part of the study, blood samples, taken on an empty stomach, were analyzed.
The research team found that a high consumption of meat increased the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, which is manifested by an accumulation of fatty deposits (cholesterol) on the walls of the arteries. “Eating more meat, especially red meat and processed meat, is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, even later in life.”said Meng Wang, co-author of the study.
The role of metabolites in heart disease
For scientists, metabolites, organic compounds produced by metabolism, could be responsible for the higher risk of cardiovascular disease. “Metabolites generated by our gut microbes from nutrients (found) in red meat, along with blood sugar and general inflammation, seem to account for much of this elevated risk, more than the effects of blood cholesterol or arterial pressure“said Meng Wang.
Additionally, Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean at the Friedman School and co-lead author of the study, clarified how cardiovascular risk increases. “We have identified three main pathways that help explain the links between red and processed meat and cardiovascular disease, microbiome-related metabolites like TMAO (liver oxidation product), blood sugar and general inflammation, and each of these seemed to be more important than pathways related to blood cholesterol or blood pressure.”