Too Much Of Something
I was reading the other day, while sweating on the elliptical, about the miracle of carnitine. The magazine was loaded with ads promoting the wonders of this nutritional supplement. The claims were that carnitine would increase endurance, help with the oxidation of fats and change fat distribution. It was available as a supplement in addition to being in many of the listed energy drinks.
Today, ironically I came across a new research article published in the 4/13 Journal of Nature Medicine, pertaining to red meat’s risk on health. It seems the story is a little bit more complicated than we originally thought concerning animal protein’s role in causing disease. Blockage in the articles called atherosclerosis, isn’t just related to saturated fats and cholesterol, but also to carnitine. Atherosclerosis is the slow progressive cutting off of blood flow through the arteries.
Squiggle Inside Cell Is Mitochondria
What is carnitine? The substance is a combination of two different amino acids. Amino acids make up all of our proteins. Carnitine facilitates fats entrance into the mitochondria. There it helps throw this fuel into the burning furnace of the mitochondrial processes. Mitochondria is the energy power plant of each cell.
The research ties three things together that I find so incredibly exciting. Bacteria in our intestinal tract, food in our diet and our long-term health together form a network. Each of us can influence the bacteria in our gut with the food on our daily menus. This is exactly what this recent study concluded by linking bacteria and red meat and atherosclerosis.
It showed that red meat eaters convert carnitine into TMAO courtesy of microbes in the gut. So these live-in bacteria are digesting the carnitine and their waste product is TMAO. When a vegan consumed the same red meat that conversion process never occurred in their intestinal tract. Remember that vegans have completely different populations of bacteria living inside their bodies than carnivores. Vegan’s bacteria could care less about carnitine because they were always fed vegetable matter. Therefore their flora didn’t digest the carnitine.
If Not Elimination Then Moderation Is Warranted
The more meat, generates even more carnitine digesting bacteria and then more TMAO. The more TMAO the higher the risk of death from diseases resulting from atherosclerosis. The final dramatic conclusion of meat and TMAO is that it leads to American’s number one cause of death. Mortality from attacks of the heart with over 600,000 victims per year.
We can make a significant difference in the future quality of our life by helping to keep our arteries clean. You can do this by altering the diet. The more red meat in the diet the higher risk of death. You don’t have to eliminate but just reduce your meat consumption.
Strong For My Fragile Taste Buds, Takes Some Getting Used To
In addition, consume yogurt daily with as many active cultures as possible listed on the labeling. This will alter the types of bacteria in your gut. You can always purchase probiotics supplements or drink kombucha. These products encourage the production of beneficial flora in the GI tract that may help you to stay healthy.
Those ads for carnitine supplements and in energy drinks I spoke of earlier may actually accelerate the disease process in avid red meat carnivores. Some of those energy drinks have more carnitine in one can than a t-bone steak.
Happy Bacteria Are Friendly Bacteria
Bacterial cells outnumber our cells about 10 to 1. Studies show if we treat them well with good healthy food, minimal antibiotic use and no antiseptic skin cleaners they will extend the courtesy back to us. They are more in control of us than we realize. Make the relationship truly symbiotic for all the cells to benefit in this healthy rewards game of life.