Scientists believe they may have found a way to stop too much red meat harming your heart.
They have worked out how nutrients in beef, pork or lamb are transformed into molecules that harden and narrow the arteries – and are hopeful of a treatment that would slow down or stop the process.
A team led by Dr Stanley Hazen, from the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, found the root of the problem is in the way one compound in meat is broken down by bacteria in the gut.
Scientists already new that one nutrient in red meat – called L- carnitine – could be transformed into metabolites that contribute to the build-up of hard fat on the walls of blood vessels, raising the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
But the new research published last night in the Cell Metabolism, discovered another harmful substance that is produced at rates 1000 times higher.
The newly discovered chemical, called gamma-butyrobetaine, is naturally produced by gut bacteria that process L-carnitine. Researchers believe the problem could be controlled by taking a probiotic comp0und to change the balance of bacteria in the guy, but say more research is needed.
“Few years to go yet then – Just off to ‘McDonalds’ for a Big Mac and Chips!!”.