Eating red meat may up fatal heart failure risk

A harmful chemical in red meat like your favourite steak may put you at acute heart failure risk, suggests new research.

Red meat is rich in a nutrient called L-carnitine which is broken down by gut bacteria to form the harmful chemical named trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO).

“Patients with acute heart failure showed higher levels of the oxidised metabolite TMAO in those who died or had a repeat admission to hospital with heart failure within the first year,” said lead researchers Toru Suzuki from University of Leicester in Britain.

“Our study shows that higher levels of TMAO, a metabolite of L-carnitine derived from red meat, is associated with poorer outcomes associated with acute heart failure — one of the main diseases of the heart,” Suzuki added.

In previous studies, TMAO has been association with mortality risk in chronic heart failure but this association in acute heart failure is still unknown.

The team measured circulating TMAO levels in approximately 1,000 patients admitted to University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust with acute heart failure.

The study, published in the journal Heart, claims to be the first to investigate association of TMAO levels in acute heart failure patients.

“This metabolic pathway provides a possible link between how red meat is associated with heart disease,” Suzuki noted.