Two new studies add insights and home in on therapeutic targets

Two new human studies from a Cleveland Clinic research team led by Stanley Hazen, MD, PhD, have yielded additional insights into why and how regular consumption of red meat can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and the role that gut bacteria play in the process.

The studies — published online December 10 by the European Heart Journal and the Journal of Clinical Investigation — build on previous work by Dr. Hazen’s team and others showing that the metabolite TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) — a gut bacteria byproduct generated during digestion — is mechanistically linked to the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic heart disease. TMAO is produced when gut bacteria digest choline, carnitine and lecithin — nutrients that are abundant in animal products, particularly red meat. (TMAO’s linkages to CVD have previously been covered on Consult QD, including here and here.)

Image by Reinhard Thrainer from Pixabay

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Photo credit:  (CC BY 2.0), flickr, The Meat Case