By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
July 19, 2021
I’ve been limiting my intake of meat for quite a while now. But I still enjoy it on occasion.
My absolute favorite is grass-fed New Zealand lamb. I pierce the top of the meat with a series of holes and fill each opening with a clove of garlic. Then, I cover the entire thing with organic ketchup to keep it moist and pop it into the oven.
It’s absolutely delicious. The garlic caramelizes, the ketchup keeps it moist and gives it a little shell. When you slice into it, the meat’s soft, rich, delicious and moist.
As tasty as it is, you probably wonder why I don’t eat it more often.
Well, when we eat animal products, we generate something called trimethylamine, or TMA for short. It doesn’t matter whether it’s meat, cheese, eggs or dairy. These feed bad bacteria in our guts that generate TMA and gram-negative bacteria that produce lipopolysaccharides (LPS).
This is all bad. Those bacteria continue grow and generate more and more TMA that goes from your gut to your liver, where it’s converted to TMAO. The more animal products you eat, the more TMAO is generated… and the less able your kidneys are to get rid of it. So it starts building up. And you won’t believe how quickly it accumulates!
That’s terrible news for your cardiovascular health, because TMAO is shown to be a big factor in cardiovascular incidents, like heart attack and stroke.
TMAO promotes inflammation, plaque buildup in the arteries and “sticky” blood. These are all major factors in your chances of suffering a cardiovascular event. Even worse, higher TMAO levels produce more massive strokes of greater severity.
It’s also hard on your kidneys. The more regularly you eat foods that contribute to TMAO, the greater your risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
It’s all About the Foods You Eat
What’s interesting is that vegans and vegetarians basically don’t have TMAO. This is why they’re generally healthier and not having cardiovascular events. (Well, unless they smoke, drink or eat a lot of sugar.)
What’s also interesting is we don’t know which bacteria causes it. But we do know that a vegan/vegetarian diet will generate more beneficial bacteria in your gut so that you don’t make the TMA that produces TMAO.
And here’s the thing. If you go from an animal product diet to a vegan diet, it only takes a week or two for your TMA to drop to safe levels. Your kidneys will automatically start flushing those high levels of it out of your body.
Then, if you only eat animal products one day a week or so, you won’t make nearly as much bad bacteria because you don’t have a lot of TMA. This means you could be a vegetarian or a vegan for six days of the week, then have your steak dinner – or your ham or turkey dinner – on Sunday.
So when you add in this one, single meat-eating day, you’re not going affect your gut too much.
You can learn more about eating a healthy, plant-based diet for your gut here.
How to Fast-Track TMAO Clearance
To speed up TMAO clearance even further, try adding more cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and red wine to your diet. These items are rich in something called DMB, which helps to stop your gut bacteria from producing TMAO.
Resveratrol can also help. It not only inhibits TMAO production, it also helps thin out the sticky effect TMAO has on your blood. This, in turn, can greatly reduce your risk of a major cardiovascular event. I recommend at least 100 mg of resveratrol each day. Add 25 mg of pterostilbene (a close cousin to resveratrol) to help keep your TMAO levels in check.
Add a probiotic to your daily regimen. Look for a formula that contains a prebiotic along with multiple strains of lactobacillus, bifidobacteria and other healthy bacteria. The higher the colony count, and the more live strains involved, the better off you’ll be. Just make sure to take it daily with food.
By the way, it’s easy enough to get your TMAO levels tested. It’s a simple blood test that your doctor can order for you from Quest, Labcorp or another diagnostic lab.
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