Once a debunked health myth, the link between red meat and heart disease may be gaining some scientific validity. The original claims were disregarded based on inconclusive data and questionable observational studies, like food diaries.
A new study, however, has found that red meat metabolite levels are high in acute heart failure patients. Metabolite trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), the chemical found in the patients, which is also in red meat, was found in high levels among patients who suffered from acute heart failure.
Although some papers have linked TMAO with mortality risk in chronic heart failure, no actual association in acute heart failure has been established.
The U.K.’s University of Leicester’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences measured circulating TMAO levels in about a 1,000 patients admitted to the University’s Hospital NHS Trust with acute heart failure.
The team also suggested the involvement of the gut microbiota and diet in the outcomes of many instances of heart failure. This throws the conclusions into a state of confusion, especially since microbiota are linked only to expensive yogurts.
Professor Toru Suzuki, who led the research team, said, “Patients with acute heart failure showed higher levels of the oxidized metabolite TMAO in those that died or had a repeat admission to hospital with heart failure within the first year.”
Heart disease is a very prevalent and destructive disease — 84% of people aged 65 and older die from heart disease. Therefore, any research that could lead to effective preventative treatment is highly coveted. As health crazes continue to take society by storm, many would welcome the scientific certainty of knowing that a lot of red meat could be bad for health.
The study claims to be the first to investigate the association of TMAO levels in acute heart failure patients.