Healthy Eating

Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) in meat can be bad for scleroderma patients!

Trimethylamine N-oxide

Red meat is not healthy. No doubt, it has proteins but it comes with a lot of other negative effects on the body. And now, a new study reveals that people with scleroderma should avoid it. Because induces formation of Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) that causes a lot of blood vessels damage and therefore meat is not recommended for those patients.

Meat products consumption and Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO)

People who consume a lot of meat and meat products such as in Western type of foods have a lot of Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) in their body and blood.

Recently, researchers from University of Michigan studied this compound and found that it can cause scarring and blood vessel damage in patients of scleroderma.

Trimethylamine N-oxide
Meat can harm scleroderma cases (Source: Freepik)

The study team found that this substance can trigger body inflammation, blood vessel injury and fibrosis in scleroderma patients. This compound reshapes the blood vessel endothelial cells and converts them into myofibroblasts. In turn, this enhances fibrosis and causes vascular damage. Dr John Varga who is the lead author of this paper states:

“We have uncovered a novel mechanism linking the Western diet, the gut microbiome and some of the devastating effects of scleroderma.”

“We will next examine whether drugs, or food products like virgin olive oil, can be used to block formation of this compound in the gut to treat fibrosis.”

Gut microbiome and benefits

The gut of humans have a high magnitude of bacteria, fungi and other microbes. These are beneficial for health. They help in the digestive process and fight inflammation in the body. These microbes also play a great role in boosting body immune system.

Trimethylamine N-oxide
Replace vegetables in place of meat (Source: Pinterest)

Probiotics and prebiotics favor the growth of good bacteria. Foods such as yoghurt, buttermilk, and other fermented plant foods can enhance the multiplication and growth of these healthy flora of the gut. Thus, this prevents inflammation and chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart diseases, diabetes, cancer etc.

However, red meat and meat products that people in the West predominantly eat can harm the proliferation of these healthy microflora of the gut. Once the bacterial numbers go down, chronic diseases set in and health suffers. The level of TMAO rises and this leads to cellular damage and vascular injuries and fibrosis.

People with scleroderma already have a compromised small vasculature. Their small blood vessels in the body demonstrate an exaggerated contraction response. There is undue vascular injuries. And in such cases, eating meat and meat products could exacerbate the problem.

Diet Therapy

Therefore, this research suggests that people with scleroderma should minimize their intake of meats. They should try to go vegetarian or vegan. Having more of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and cutting down of meat can prolong their lives by 10 years, the researchers of another study state. This study was published in PLOS medicine earlier this year.

Trimethylamine N-oxide
Eat plant foods (Source: Sweat app)

Norwegian researchers have developed a model from data from the Global Burden of Diseases. This is the Food4HealthyLife calculator and is online. It provides an idea of how different dietary changes can influence life expectancy.

Read more: Best and worst foods for increased life expectancy!

It shows that swapping a Western diet to a balanced diet at 20 years can add 10 years to the life in the USA . If one decides to swap at 60, he or she can add 8 years of life. Moreover, if swapping is done at age of 80, only 3 years gets added to life.