Exploring Red Meat and Inflammation: Unraveling the Complex Connection

A recent study delved into the link between red meat consumption and inflammation, using data from a diverse group of older adults. The research aimed to uncover if processed and unprocessed meat had distinct associations with inflammation markers, investigate metabolites associated with red meat intake, and determine the role of body mass index (BMI) in these relationships.

Analyzing data from over 6,000 participants, the study revealed that unprocessed red meat intake was linked to higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation. However, this association vanished when accounting for BMI, indicating that the relationship between unprocessed red meat and inflammation is influenced by body weight. Surprisingly, processed red meat showed no significant connection with inflammation markers.

Metabolomic analysis, focusing on specific molecules associated with red meat intake, identified glutamine, an anti-inflammatory amino acid, inversely linked to CRP and interleukin-6 (IL-6). This association remained even after considering BMI, suggesting that glutamine might play a role in mitigating inflammation caused by red meat consumption. However, the study emphasized the complexity of these relationships, highlighting the need for further research to fully understand the interplay between red meat, metabolism, and inflammation in diverse populations.

Source: Wood AC, Graca G, Gadgil M, Senn MK, Allison MA, Tzoulaki I, Greenland P, Ebbels T, Elliott P, Goodarzi MO, Tracy R, Rotter JI, Herrington D. Untargeted Metabolomic Analysis Investigating Links Between Unprocessed Red Meat Intake and Markers of Inflammation. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2023, in press. 


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