I recently read the work of Varki et al. concerning red meat and Neu5gc (http://health.ucsd.edu/news/2003/09_29_Varki.html). This acid is highly inflammatory and carcinogen and found in very high amounts in red meats. I think it is very interesting, especially as I'm currently changing my diet to a paleo diet. As you know, meat is one essential part of the paleo diet (I took this decision because I have an autommune desease and paleo is said to be highly anti-inflammatory). Does anyone know: Has there been furhter evidence on this topic so that a red meat abstinence is recommended? What do you think about this topic? Thanks in advance.
Best regards, Arthur
P.S. I'm german, so don't wonder about the grammar.
asked byArthur_2 (75)
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on July 04, 2011
at 07:05 PM
It's funny how the meat-haters always mention that there is just so very much evidence that red meat kills you dead, and when you don't cherry-pick studies or if you control for confounding factors you find no association, and actually probably evidence for an inverse association if you control for a few confounding factors, so right away we should be very suspicious that this has anything to do with anything. "Oh noes it can provoke an inflammatory response" are the words of the supremely bias, it isn't enough to say that something provokes an inflammatory response because we are constantly beset by microorganism that must be killed by the immune system every second of the day. I just put my finger in my mouth and zillions of creepy crawlies went to do battle with my immune system, and yet here I am, not dead and with CRP of 0.1 mg/L (I think they rounded up).
The thing about the immune system is that when it has a proper supply of suppressor cells and molecules there is very little excessive inflammation of any kind. The only study I have read on Neu5gc that could have possibly demonstrated anything was with rats with the Neu5gc gene deletion. They were injected full of the molecule and also injected with the antibody, a very contrived immune situation that doesn't reflect how the immune system normally works. The rats died of cancer, which was meant to demonstrate that the hypothesis that Neu5gc molecules kill those without the gene dead. However then they did the same thing but added a COX-2 inhibitor (basically a potent ibuprofen) and there was very little immune response. That was what I would have hypothesized due to the bacteria reasoning. Even grain lectins which are supposed to be very inflammatory aren't necessarily going to cause any significant amount of inflammatory damage and dysregulation in the body via inflammation alone (but probably by all of their other trickery).
Rose up there also pointed to different susceptibilities in different people, although if the gut flora are happy and body has abundant materials to make anti-inflammatory eicosanoids and other regulators I don't think that it would be a problem even in the most susceptible people. If someone has a study looking at that, that would be sweet.
on July 04, 2011
at 06:28 PM
Excellent question, Arthur. I just got my CRP test results back, and have made some dietary changes in response. I've always dismissed the notion that red meat is inflammatory, mostly because that seems to me to be a kneejerk anti-saturated fat stance, but when I got the test results, I took a serious look at red meat and inflammation. That's when I found out about the Neu5Gc business.
So now I'm eating loads of fish and poultry, and am avoiding beef, lamb and pork, in a month-long experiment to see if I can reduce my CRP numbers (I'll be re-tested in a few weeks).
Here are some of the links that I've found helpful regarding Neu5Gc (hat tip to Melissa for getting an early jump on this topic):
Enlightening interview with a leading researcher into Neu5Gc here:
And some interesting links here (not sure how helpful the actual blog content is, lol):
I'll be very interested to read other people's thoughts on this issue. Thanks for asking this.
on March 18, 2012
at 04:50 PM
In as much as it is very likely that early man (and woman) evolved by the sea in southwest Africa) for 140,000 years and ate mostly seashore food, I do not have a problem with this finding about Neu5Gc.
I would also point out that most of the baby making takes place long before inflammation becomes a problem, Neu5Gc and other inflammatory foods would not be much of a physical evolution problem. Inflammation would certainly negatively effect cultural evolution since it would deprive a culture of it's sources of elder wisdom.