Meat consumption and your health part 1/3 - Lifestyle & Lipids: Contributions to Cardiovascular disease, Cancer & Alzheimer's disease.
Time for the second part in this three part series, aiming to educate my fellow humans about the dangers with the meat industry and meat consumption, or over consumption rather. I had to split this part in to 3 posts since it would just be gigantic and hard to digest if both lipids, toxins and our bacterial flora where addressed all in one post. So let's start out with the Lifestyle we live and the lipids(fats) we consume in meat, dairy and vegetables, and how they all balance out.
Americans consume over 100 kg meat / person and year, and are built like omnivores, which makes very little sense when taking our health in regard. We are an animal and we share metabolic pathways with animals, we produce low density lipoproteins, LDL, to transport fat to our heart and blood, and we produce high density lipoproteins, HDL, to remove fats via the liver. The production of LDL is crucial to use up phospholipids and triglycerides, we should not have them free in the blood stream continuously at to high levels. LDL is also bad by it self, and increases the risks of plaque formation in arteries. The same goes for HDL if the intake goes to high, we produce less, and build up the ingredients not used. We could also get to much total blood fat content or to high cholesterol rather, from just HDL or LDL levels, especially when to ratio goes towards high LDL, since HDL helps to transport LDL out of the blood for degradation in the liver.
Another thing is that we eat the metabolic end products of our own metabolism, like LDL or palmitate = eating animals(or dairy products) which can decrease our own production of LDL by up to 2 grams each day. That might not sound much, but you will learn soon that it has big health impacts over longer time frames. Another important thing is the economical impact of the related problems, and the pressure it puts on the health care system.
I will show that over consumption of meat & diary containing the wrong proportions of fats, leads to conditions like stroke risk, cardiovascular diseases, cancers and even Alzheimer's disease . Yes, we can still eat some meat, we are omnivores, but not keep this lifestyle going, where we mix LDL with trans fats and on top of that, processed fast food and a way to one-sided diet. An active lifestyle sure helps, working out or walking / running everyday, but that is another topic.
There are many known factors that could be bad for our health when it comes to meat consumption. We know that there are bad kinds of cholesterol, antibiotics in excess amounts, other toxic chemicals like glyphosate and off course the small issue with humans not being carnivores. There are also links to cancer from diets high in red meat, as well as the more commonly known, lipids and increased cancer risk / progression.
Humans are not carnivores.
So where to start? I've actually studied both archaeology and geography prior to becoming a civil engineer in biochemistry, so this is something that interests me, and hopefully, suits me to write about :).
We obviously have been cooking and eating meat for a long time, but never in history have we been consuming 100 kg meat / a year on such a steady basis combined with having it disposed 3-5 times a day. Never have it been these amounts pork & beef, and never have we lived 75+ years average, so I hope you live healthy enough to not suffer a stroke or cancer prior to getting old.
If you killed an animal 100,000 years ago, you had a few hours to consume it prior to it going bad, during the summer at least, now we can just store meat in the fridge.
At old age time has progressed enough for many dietary problems to express them self, so living longer than ever, requires the right food and exercise in order to do in a healthy manner. There are many disease on the rise, such as cardiac failures, strokes, cancer and Alzheimer disease, causing the average life expectancy to stall, and according to me it has already started done so in America / Europe, it is only a matter of catching up. The babies of to day will have much lower odds of making it to 80 years + compared to someone borne in the 50´s - 70´s . Certainly if we keep educating our children wrongly about diet and destroy the environment as we go along, or what do you think ???
The over consumption of fats, salts and other toxins in meat and processed fast food might lead to strokes, heart failures or cancer progression around the age 40 in worst case, so for some, the odds of staying alive until old age has not improved much since the stone ages. For that matter, I´d rather get eaten by timber wolves or s saber tooth then perish under my own mindless consumption. Greece hardly have a single cardiovascular patient, the middle Mediterranean diet seem to do wonders in this area. It consists of little red meat and good fats from the sea, along with plenty of other good stuff.
I wonder why its not on the news, or I don't really since Statin medications have made, and still are making some people very rich. Information brings in no money, just lower sales.
If we were carnivores(which we are not) ?
Well not even carnivores would eat like we are, small meals 3-5 times a day partially consisting of meat, even if it were just meat I guess. A wolf could consume 20 pounds of meat in one sitting, but the same wolf would not eat for another 5-6 days or sometimes 12, due to burning off fats & resting combined with hunting success.
- Did you know that wolf´s have much bigger livers than humans ? Important for metabolizing fats.
- I am sure you knew wolfs and meat eaters in general, have sharp teeth to slice and dice the meat instead of chewing it, making it digestible. Forks and knives just won't do!
Mixing the meat with simple carbohydrates three times a day, makes everything so much worse. Glucose will lower the ketolysis and beta oxidation, which will prevent the organism to use the stored energy from fats, since the the glucose pathways is active instead or competing with said metabolism. Acetyl / acetyl-CoA production is prioritized there and for the lime bike(citric acid cycle)instead of being made from fat deposits, since blood glucose is directly toxic. This will even promote fat storage directly, not metabolism.
Both fat and sugar is metabolized in the liver and share common products / intermediates so conflicts in metabolism here is nothing new or strange . You can see above that while metabolizing glucose, we produce fat. So eating sugar and fat on a continuous base creates buildup of fat, mainly TAG(triacylglycerol, triglycerides) in the bloodstream as well as around organs, which is not good. We do also store classic fat in regular adipose tissue and weight is also a rising problem sadly, and in worst case, it leads to obesity.
Involving VLDL / LDL(very low / low density lipoprotein) puts even more pressure on the metabolism since we are supposed to produce LDL to get rid of fats from the blood and create larger structures ready for transport. But eating it will prevent production, like eating most metabolic products.
Beyond the metabolism, cells & cell receptors take damage from altered fat ratios, and are dependent on good cholesterol for positioning, so constant meat & dairy product consumption will most likely generate health complications, one way or another.
If we take a look at the guts of carnivores herbivores and humans, we can place our metabolic style in the right arena pretty efficiently.
We propose that species feeding either on carrion or on organisms that are close phylogenetic relatives should require the most restrictive filter (measured as high stomach acidity) as protection from foreign microbes. Conversely, species feeding on a lower trophic level or on food that is distantly related to them (e.g. herbivores) should require the least restrictive filter, as the risk of pathogen exposure is lower.
Lower stomach Ph is known to favor meat digestion and pathogen destruction. We can see on the gut structure that we share a common features with elephants and monkeys and that similarities with carnivores are few, our GIT are much longer and contains features / bacteria for digesting complex carbohydrates, nuts and seeds. We have a pH in the middle of meat & herbivores, so eating lean meat if we want meat, along with a mixed diet from non animal sources, is essential.
Bad fats in meat ?
Heart failure and strokes
I wrote a summary on an article proving a very clear relation beta 1/2 androgenic receptors, cholesterol and heart failure, when going low in cholestrol. Feel free to read it here .
The team found that B2 receptors dislocate from tubuli regions and that this will result in decoupling form the PKA “pool”, resulting in signals that reverberate throughout the full cytoplasm. The dislocation of B2 from tubulin to crest regions has also been linked to low cholestrol levels at the cell surface. Lack of avaliable cell surface cholestrole will displace the B2 receptor but tubuli regions will be intact, linking the heart failure directly to B2 localization.
Another good example of a Low cholesterol problem is that it decreases testosterone levels, so we can´t stop eating fat either. But LDL promotes blood fat and plaque formations, so eat wise fat sources.
Lets just go through this prior to going on. LDL is not good to eat since it prevents making our own and prevents us from metabolizing important fats. You also want to have low enough values LDL by it self. HDL is good, you need a certain concentration to protect arteries and like mentioned, to maintain receptor positioning, but to much or it will push total cholesterol high. Your total cholesterol can never be more than 200 mg / dl. Of these 200 mg maximum 100 mg should be LDL while HDL must be over 60 mg / DL. This leaves little room for error e.g Increase HDL over 100 and you will have too much total fat, even though the fact that HDL can be directly beneficial!
To handle this you need to lower your or keep you´r LDL, around 100 and increase your HDL towards 60+ / dl but never exceed 200 mg / dl , this will protect organs, including the brain and the arteries compared to clogging them all up. It could be wise to try keeping both levels around 60 mg / dl to leave a buffer zone for metabolism and LDL increases.
Even values considered ok, or normal - LDL ~ 100 mg / DL can be dangerous it seem, science is divided but progressing rapidly here. I will explain the sources of LDL, which is diary, meat, and oils mainly, and as I said we want to produce LDL not eat it(they are produced in the liver so it is an animal product)
There is a third type of cholesterol called VLDL (very-low-density lipoproteins), which is another type of “bad” cholesterol produced in the liver, and contains a high amount of triglycerides.
Figure: Conceptual graph showing the relationship between low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels and relative risk of coronary heart disease, and baseline LDL-C levels in several recent studies. At the steep end of the curve, a 30-mg/dL decrease in LDL-C decreases the risk of coronary heart disease by about 30%.
Only 30 mg / DL decrease in LDL will drop risks by 30% at the high end of the curve. I suspect that this is when we are over 200 mg / DL total fat and over 130 mg LDL, which we saw earlier is bad and leaves little room for good cholesterol without going to high, and remember good cholesterol, HDL, are made to be degraded and get fat out of our blood via the liver or transport other fats to the liver. This is very important along with good LDL production so the balance of lipids in our food is great to keep in mind when designing a diet.
Saturated fats or unsaturated fats or even trans fats ? The next problem in modern meat, dairy and fast food diets
Organizations such as the American Heart Association (AHA) encourage people to switch to foods based on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from those that contain saturated and trans fats, which are generally processed fats or come from animal-based fat sources such as butter or meat products. Food often contains a combination of different types of fats.
But the unsaturated fats are inflammatory ? what is going on ?
Yeah everything must be kept in moderation, lack unsaturated fats and you need them, lack saturated ones and you need them, but never do you need trans fats ? it is all a problem of lifestyle that makes us consume trans fats along with saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Trans fats are just saturated fats, with a trans oriented double bound, so they are harder to degrade, due to lack of enzymes or receptors capable of detecting this configuration, but again a little wont matter. Trans Fats do raise the LDL level thou, and are saturated, while better fats will contribute a balance to both, and I explained earlier, constant LDL intake and decreased production of LDL in the liver, lays the groundwork for the a bad metabolic situation.
Is the most common saturated fatty acid found in animals and is a intermediate in fat / glucose metabolism / secretion.
It is regarded by WHO to promote cardiovascular disease. They claim "proofs are abundant and increasing steadily"
Trans fats & palmitate are easy to dodge, do not eat fast food or animal based products or oils that have been treated in anyway, easy right ? :)
Inflammatory fats ? Macrophages and lipids
Increased consumption of Western-type diets and environmental insults lead to widespread increases in the plasma levels of saturated fatty acids and lipoprotein oxidation. The aim of this study is to examine whether palmitate and minimally modified low-density lipoprotein (mmLDL) exert an additive effect on macrophages activation. We found that CXCL2 and TNF-α secretion as well as ERK and p38 phosphorylation were additively increased by cotreatment of J774 macrophages with palmitate and mmLDL in the presence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Furthermore, the analysis of differentially expressed genes using the KEGG database revealed that several pathways, including cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, and genes were significantly altered. These results were validated with real-time PCR,
showing upregulation of Il-6, Csf3, Il-1β, and Clec4d.
Macrophages are immune active cells responding to cytokines or antibodies, they digest peptides that are dangerous, bacteria, and other non wanted components of the blood stream such as lipid buildups or plaques, especially from LDL and Plamitate. Now it has been shown that this affect multiple pathways and gene expression causing inflammations. Macrophages respond to inflammations in the first place, making it an positive feedback loop of destruction. Cytokines can trigger much more severe immune responses in higher concentrations, killing our own cells and everything in its path.
We are not made to eat meat everyday, all day!
Lipids and their links to Alzheimer's disease
There are many direct biochemical evidence of harmful fats, and one that is looked over by many, is Alzheimer progression. I myself believe that Alzheimer's disease is progressed mainly via our food when it comes to the systemic kinds(not pure genetic). I also suspect that lipids are more central than we could imagine just a few years back, due to the very fast progression in the field of biochemistry. The systemic kind of AD is age dependent but it differs many years from patient to patient, and the symptoms / severity differ as well, so the lipids sure make the progression faster when over consumed. This might shift the progression from a 85 year time frame to a 75 year frame, and I would gladly change my diet to save my heart or brain 10 years.
Alzheimer's disease(AD) is on the rise, especially or only in USA / Europe rather. The rising corresponds well with the rising intake of meat and bad fats via fast food markets and processed foods. Feel free to read my introduction to AD and amyloid proteins here, I also have many posts done on the involved proteins.
What are the links to lipids? There are many so I'll just mention a few, and this is an area under study right now, and I am involved in it, as you can see in my earlier posts so you will just have to take my word for this. First of all the main protein in AD is APP, the amyloid precursor protein, which has many links to lipids. It is believed to be involved in lipid homeostasis which would mean that more lipids = more APP. We know that clearance of A-beta peptides are dependent on LRP, Low density lipoprotein receptor related protein and ligand binding to ApoE / alpha -2 - Microglobulin. ApoE binds to LRP and Lipids and are directly involved in lipid metabolism. High lipid concentration , will put high pressure on ApoE and compete with it for clearance via the LRP. More A-beta = faster AD progression(inside and outside of the cells). Low clearance = faster AD progression due to direct neuronal death, but clearing it interrupts the synapses and kills the neuron later. We do not want high APP to start with, and if we do, lipids just make it worse. Lastly lipids are known to promote miss folding of peptides, into e.g. protofibrils or amyloid nucleuses maturing into amyloid plaques or fibrils.
APP processing in AD: Is the main problem behind AD Alzheimer's disease. It is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder, afflicting 10% of the population over the age of 65 and 50% of the population over the age of 85
Lipid-mediated signaling regulates a plethora of physiological processes, including critical aspects of brain function. In addition, dysregulation of lipid pathways has been implicated in a growing number of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
I concur 100% with these two quotes / articles above. Lipids certainly progress AD if consumed wrongly, as well as cancer!
Altered lipid metabolism = Cancer
Many human diseases, including metabolic, immune and central nervous system disorders, as well as cancer, are the consequence of an alteration in lipid metabolic enzymes and their pathways. This illustrates the fundamental role played by lipids in maintaining membrane homeostasis and normal function in healthy cells. We reviewed the major lipid dysfunctions occurring during tumor development, as determined using systems biology approaches. In it, we provide detailed insight into the essential roles exerted by specific lipids in mediating intracellular oncogenic signaling, endoplasmic reticulum stress and bidirectional crosstalk between cells of the tumor microenvironment and cancer cells
Here we can see how Palmitate LDL & HDL & glucose fits in and interacts in the metabolism, and with the information we picked up about LDL /HDL /palmitate, it should be clear that this is a massive conflict. The conflict involves the pathways mentioned in the post, the citric acid cycle, beta oxidation(lipogenesis backwards) which builds up fat now, and import export of LDs, causing storage of fats. Glucose also becomes central, putting more and more pressure on fat storage the more sugar we add in our diet. Add the wide problems with bad ratios of lipids such as direct metabolism of LDL/VLDL by cancer cells, making them grow much faster and the situation is looking dire.
A simplified map of the main altered lipid metabolic pathways in cancer cells. Lipid metabolic network (blue) includes import/export and catabolic pathways (FAO) as well as de novo synthesis pathways, such as lipogenesis (that is, synthesis of TGs and PLs) and cholesterol synthesis. Glucose- and/or glutamine-derived citrate, provided by the increased glycolysis and/or glutaminolysis (orange), are common precursors of lipogenesis and cholesterol synthesis. Cancer cells can also take up exogenous cholesterol, transported by LDL and very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), to meet their cholesterol requirement.
There is a meta study that I just read that focuses on red meat and lung cancer risk in non-smokers. It is showing clear correlations I would say, check it out!
I am trying to say that many known health issues such as Alzheimer's disease and cardiac problems stem from bad fats which in their turn stem from meat, dairy and oils with saturated fats, which is all oils that has gone through hydrogen treatment. They are used to produce many fast foods and potato chips, even olive oils are often treated this way, making it inflammatory. Opt for cold pressed oils, even though they are expensive today.
To make my point more clear, I decided to submit the charts showing the increase in heart failures, Alzheimer's disease ,meat & fast food consumption. I expect a clear correlation, lets see!
It almost seems that cardiac problems are becoming less of a problem, since fewer deaths occur, or did until 2008 now it has increased again. The thing is bypass and angioplasty saves many patients giving cancer time to kill them. Add bypass and angioplasty numbers, and the curve would be rapidly growing. Cancer is saving a lot of the statistics as well since it kills patients prior to another stroke or heart failure. Add cancer + heart failure and bypass / angioplasty patients and we have an exponential growth in disease.
The health care system and insurance companies are already under pressure, not only due to more patients but the cost of each one!
Not only do hospitals save many from earlier deaths, it also cost the taxpayers tremendous amounts of money, more every year, way beyond inflation rate. Dementia care is rising as well, and nothing is being done about our life style.
Big pharma only comes up with new medicines one after another, trying to prolong the lives slightly but never stop the underlying symptoms. They gladly accept all the new patients on heart or cancer treatments, and the next big market seems to be AD. Off course they should accept patients but also inform about the causes instead of blindly medicating, think about what we teach the next generation...Medicine or a healthy life ? Why no put the money and effort into education of humans, instead of finding medicines for diseases that is easily avoided. Ah again, monetary interests.
Heart problems and AD, all life style problems increasing steadily with our fast food meat consumption along with cancer types. More and more links to over consumption of wrong fats or a bad ratio of fats are being found and published every day.
Why are we not learning this in school at young age ??
Why is this never on the news ??
Why do I read articles and blogs promoting meat to a populating already eating 100 kg / person a year, and that already suffers from it?...
Answer: Chronic Diseases = MONEY
Protein diseases and links to meat consumption + My clinical experience.
Lastly i just wanna talk a bit about the proteins we eat in animals and some experiences with post mortem stroke & heart failure subjects. I've done biopsies on necrotic, black, fibrous aortas, and the stench when they pop is just disgusting, phosphated fat pockets on the aorta that can bursts into the artery and causes strokes etc.
We did MS & MS, Methods for MS applications including protein identification via peptide matching to databases, on these substances and verified its contents, low protein content thou, but some plaques, and off course phospholipids & trans fats in abundance + some sphingolipids and random lipid raft relics.
I ´ve also done MS / MS / MS on proteins from depressed patients and found clear evidence of high levels of certain proteins. HSP 10 is one of such, and is already known as a early cancer biomarker. When we eat depressed & suffering animals we fill our self with HSP 10 and other malicious upregulated proteins, directly capable of causing or progressing cancer. Some might think that they are all degraded in the stomach but others sell enzymes ( Proteins ) as health beneficial, even though the same area of science says it's pointless since they are degraded.
In truth, we do absolutely NOT degrade the proteins in meat, only the most lean and well structured meat have a chance to be completely broken down in the stomach / small intestine, and much of the meat passes through the GIT, and is slowly degraded and the proteins free to interact with our cells and bacteria. But the enzymes we buy to improve health in many cases lack the same protection and are digested unless protected, so buy good products if you are, or it´s a waste...it's all about money and how to chose to sell products, not about our health.
I would recommend everyone to focus on eating a diverse omnivorous diet. Some meat, especially white and lean sorts or fish in general is ok to have in a diet, and I guess that some red meat won't kill you either. Check out the Mediterranean diet closer if you are not acquainted with that diet.
The lean meats or white meat even, is easier to digest, and carries lower LDL / trans fat content, but again to much of the HDL & Omega 3 & 6 is not good either, balance, use meat as seasoning, not main course!
Dairy products comes with the same problem as high meat consumption regarding LDL, and also contains antibiotics and chemicals that can be toxic to humans and the next post on meat and health, part 2/3, will go into that in detail.
P.s B12 is added to vegan alternatives so you won't miss a thing from going vegan, just watch out for over consuming vegetable oils or to much omega 3 & 6, everything in moderation even avocado or berries could be over consumed should we try. Vitamin D is always good to add, since we cant produce it and only fish contains levels good enough to satisfy our needs.
I believe that we can reach some vitamin D production & absorption, but that speculative at best, and we´ll see in the future what we find out. Even thou we can produce some vitamin D via bacteria, we can´t absorb the nutrition since it is done to late in the digestive tract, it is said. But measuring vitamin production in the GIT is notoriously hard, remember that.
P.s.s I am no dietist, but a biochemist so I am only trying to shine light on the biochemical reasons why lipids causes the diseases mentioned and off course give some tips that I find reasonable. I still think consulting a dietist and your doctor is smart, get your blood fat values and see if they are optimal. Check with a dietist if you feel lost in how to address this problem. Feel free to leave a comment if you think I can assist, I am a vegan since long and work out very hard and have had 0 issues with that. I´ve even tried eating once a day for a long period of time, never had better cardiac & liver health :)
I fear that still, many of us in the "rich" part of the world take water for granted and are unaware of the waste our habits generates. If you read part 1 - Environmental destruction, you might just think twice prior to buying all that beef when going grocery shopping, if your health and longlivety is not enough.
Reference list, for sources not cited or linked for any other reason,[x] indicates where in the text they are used.
1: Nikolaev, V. O., et al. (2010). "β2-adrenergic receptor redistribution in heart failure changes cAMP compartimentalization." Science 327: 1653-1657. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20185685
2: Polyunsaturated fatty acid analogs act arrhythmical on the cardiac IKs channel:
Sara I. et al.
3: Palmitate and minimally-modified low-density lipoprotein cooperatively promote inflammatory responses in macrophages:
Soo-jin Ann, Et al.https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193649
4 Murphy K, Travers P, Walport M (2007). "Signaling Through Immune System Receptors". Janeway's Immunobiology (7th ed.). London: Garland. ISBN 0-8153-4123-7.
5 Carcinogenicity of High Consumption of Meat and Lung Cancer Risk Among Non-Smokers: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis https://doi.org/10.1080/01635581.2017.1374420