Study says this compound increases risk of heart disease

December 27, 2018 - 3:30 am

KYW’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — You probably have not heard of trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO — I know i haven’t heard of it. 

TMAO is a byproduct of red meat digestion and linked with increased risk of heart disease. In fact, elevated blood levels of TMAO have been found in patients at risk for heart disease and has been associated with heart attack, stroke and death. 

Animal studies are now showing that elevations in TMAO are associated with the buildup of dangerous plaque in blood vessels. A new study at the Cleveland Clinic has taken a look at this and found that the consumption of red meat clearly increased levels of TMAO in the blood as well as in the urine. This is particularly pronounced in people who eat red meat on a regular basis. 

What does all of this mean to us? Eat red meat in moderation and clearly not on a daily basis. The occasional consumption of red meat will not dramatically increase the levels of TMAO.