FRIDAY, Aug. 5, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Higher intakes of unprocessed red meat, total meat, and total animal source foods (ASF) are associated with higher atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk, with the associations mediated by trimethylamine N-oxide-related metabolites, according to a study published online Aug. 1 in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.
Meng Wang, M.D., Ph.D., from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, and colleagues serially measured ASF intakes and trimethylamine N-oxide-related metabolites over time among 3,931 participants from a community-based U.S. cohort aged 65 years and older. During 12.5 years of follow-up, incident ASCVD (myocardial infarction, fatal coronary heart disease, stroke, other atherosclerotic death) was adjudicated.
The researchers found that higher intakes of unprocessed red meat, total meat, and total ASF were associated with higher ASCVD risk after multivariable adjustment. These associations were significantly mediated by trimethylamine N-oxide-related metabolites. A nonsignificantly higher trend toward higher ASCVD was seen for processed meat intake; no significant associations were seen for intake of fish, poultry, and eggs. The total meat-ASCVD association was mediated by blood glucose, insulin, and C-reactive protein, but not blood pressure or blood cholesterol.
"These findings help answer long-standing questions on mechanisms linking meats to risk of cardiovascular diseases," Wang said in a statement. "The interactions between red meat, our gut microbiome, and the bioactive metabolites they generate seem to be an important pathway for risk, which creates a new target for possible interventions to reduce heart disease."
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.