TMAO, a killer predictor of heart attack risk

TMAO stands for trimethylamine-N-oxide.

Bacteria in the digestive tract turn carnitin, a byproduct of lecithin, found in animal products like meat, fish, poultry, and milk into trimethylamine. This produced is absorbed into the bloodstream and metabolized by the liver. The resulting substance is TMAO. In 4,000 patients who underwent coronary angiography, a relationship between TMAO levels and future (3-year) risk of major adverse cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, stroke and death, was clearly seen. Subsequent studies took a look at choline (a substance similar to B vitamins) and found an effect on TMAO production very similar to carnitine.

How can you test your TMAO levels?

Here is the video of one of the Top 10 Medical Innovations of 2014, voted on the Medical Innovation Summit 2014 (Cleveland Clinic):

Take-aways:

1. Lower or eliminate your animal product intake.

2. Be careful about supplements and energy drinks that contain carnitin.

Additional Info:

What is Carnitine?

Compound in red meat, energy drinks linked to heart disease in Cleveland Clinic research, Cleveland.com – April 2013

Gut-Flora Metabolite Biomarker for Cardiac Risk, Heart & Vascular Institute Physician eNewsletter – Fall/Winter 2014

Top 10 Medical Innovations of 2014, Cleveland Clinic

What You Need To Know About Coffee, Saturated Fat and Red Meat, GarmaOnHealth.com

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