Monday, April 21, 2008

"But humans are designed to eat meat..."

A quick post....

I found this article in The Guardian. It is scarcely news in the vegan community!

(the emphasis is mine, by the way)


Heart disease linked to bad diet, urine shows
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

The leading cause of heart disease and stroke has been linked for the first time to a person's diet and chemicals in the urine.

In the first study of its kind to link blood pressure to a person's "metabolic fingerprint", a measure of how they process food, the good news is that genes do not seem to be to blame.

Diet and gut bugs appear largely responsible for high blood pressure, which will give a boost for efforts to provide new health advice.

The international team led by Imperial College London has found chemicals called metabolites in people's urine. These have a direct relation to blood pressure, linking it to diets rich in meat, high in alcohol and low in fibre.

Using metabolic fingerprinting, they looked at the relative levels of many different metabolites, which are the products of metabolism and act as markers which can reveal how diet and lifestyle contribute to disease.

Researchers said the approach and the new data point the way to greater understanding of dietary and biological causes of the epidemic of high blood pressure - which does not link in a simple way to genes - and possible enhanced ways to prevent and control high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

The study reveals a fundamental difference in what is happening in the western and eastern guts that could be linked with high blood pressure, which affects 16 million people in the UK alone and is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.

Prof Jeremy Nicholson and his team, working with colleagues in Northwestern University, report in the journal Nature how they analysed the metabolic fingerprints of 4,630 middle aged adults in the UK, USA, China and Japan, by using a method called NMR spectroscopy on their urine samples, which reveals the way food is broken down in the body.

The research shows that adults in the UK and USA, which have similar incidences of high blood pressure and heart disease, have similar metabolic fingerprints.

In contrast, although adults in Japan and China have similar genetic profiles, they have very different metabolic fingerprints from one another. Meanwhile, Japanese people living in the USA have typical American metabolic fingerprints, showing that lifestyle - diet in this case - is a dominant feature in determining metabolism.

Professor Nicholson says the find will "give us important clues as to the causes of major health problems such as high blood pressure".

"Metabolic profiling can tell us how specific aspects of a person's diet and how much they drink are contributing to their risks for certain diseases," he said.

Professor Paul Elliott, a co-author, adds: "The flip-side of this is that whereas a person can't alter their DNA, they can change their metabolic profile by changing their diet and lifestyle."

The new study reveals that people with increased levels of the amino acid alanine, which is found in many foods but which is particularly high in animal protein, have higher blood pressure and also increased energy intake, levels of dietary cholesterol, and body mass index.

People with increased levels of the metabolite formate, made by the breakdown of the starch in foods such as rice, have lower blood pressure and increased energy intake. Formate arises from the action of microbes in the gut or as a product of metabolism in the body.

Increased levels of hippurate, a by-product of metabolism by microbes in the gut, are found in people with lower blood pressure, lower levels of alcohol intake, and higher levels of dietary fibre.

"We think that hippurate excretion is broadly linked to having a healthy diet (which makes a healthy gut flora) - at least in western populations," says Prof Nicholson, adding the team will now study what aspects of diet promote hippurate.


Read the original article by clicking here.

And Stay Vegan, Friends!

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