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Choline In Meat And Eggs May Play Role In Blood Clotting, Heart Attack Risk

Good food sources of choline are animal foods, especially eggs, poultry, seafood, and beef liver.

Just saw:
Nutrient In Meat And Eggs May Play Role In Blood Clotting, Heart Attack Risk, CBS News, 25 April 2017

Researchers found that when they gave 18 healthy volunteers choline supplements, it boosted their production of a chemical called TMAO.

That, in turn, increased their blood cells’ tendency to clot.

TMAO is short for trimethylamine N-oxide. It’s produced when gut bacteria digest choline and certain other substances.

Past studies have linked higher TMAO levels in the blood to heightened risks of blood clots, heart attack and stroke, said Dr. Stanley Hazen, the senior researcher on the new study.

These findings, he said, give the first direct evidence that choline revs up TMAO production in the human gut, which then makes platelets (a type of blood cell) more prone to sticking together.

Choline is found in a range of foods, but it’s most concentrated in animal products such as egg yolks, beef and chicken.

The amount of choline in 2 or 3 eggs (450 mg) increased their TMAO 10-fold in just a month.

Here’s the study:

Gut Microbe-Generated Trimethylamine N-Oxide From Dietary Choline Is Prothrombotic in Subjects, Circulation, 25 April 2017

Choline has three methyl groups attached to a nitrogen, so it provides the trimethylamine part of TMAO. According to Wikipedia, all you have to do is oxidize that trimethlyamine to create TMAO. That oxidation takes place in the liver. Carnitine in the diet can also provide that trimethylamine structure, but this study just looked at choline.

Choline is also found in plants, like broccoli, cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables; and in beans and whole grains. But plant sources contain much lesser amounts than animal sources.

There are several variables here: the ingestion of choline (or some other TMAO precursor like carnitine), the action of colonic bacteria, oxidation of TMA in the liver, and systemic action of TMAO. You can affect what’s going on by changing any of these variables. Not eating foods high in choline would reduce TMAO. But you also need a certain gut microbiome, a particular set of organisms that can metabolize choline. Vegan diets select against that set of organisms.

Organic? I Think It’s Better To Fix Conventional

Dr. Greger’s videos and writings subtly and sometimes not so subtly encourage people to eat organic:

What Are the Benefits of Organic?, Nutrition Facts, 25 April, 2017

Two questions:

  1. The USDA says that only about 1-2% of farmland is organic. Organic food is also more expensive. What do people eat who can’t access organic food? Is organic food just for the privileged?
  2. Just how organic is organic anyway?

I’ve said a lot about this over the years. I don’t think it’s a good idea to spend money and manpower maintaining two standards. It’s better to fix conventional agriculture. It wouldn’t be perfect but it would benefit more people. It wouldn’t create one class of food for the wealthy and another for everyone else.

I’ve also posted about the problems with organic, e.g. using manure from factory farms, manure that contains heavy metals, pesticides, and drugs; allowing synthetic, and unhealthy non-synthetic chemicals. The FDA was planning on testing food for glyphosate but put that project on hold last November.

“Organic” has become a marketing term, a sought-after label that allows producers to charge more for food that may not live up to consumers’ expectations. That will only act to erode the standard over time, which is already happening. You’ve got a problem when organic eggs can have over 3 times the EPA limit for glyphosate.

President Trump Has Dismissed US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy

Sad news. Dr. Murthy is no longer our Surgeon General:

Nurse Replaces Surgeon General After Obama Appointee Resigns, New York Times, 21 April 2017

Some of the things that attracted me to him:

  • He called for compassion in dealing with addiction.
  • He said that gun violence was a public health issue.
  • He warned about the risks of vaping and e-cigarettes.

He did it all with earnestness and positivity and bipartisanship. And humbleness:

“The role of the Surgeon General is traditionally to share wisdom with others, but it was I who learned so much by listening to your stories.”

Some excerpts from his outgoing statement:

1. Kindness is more than a virtue. It is a source of strength. If we teach our children to be kind and remind each other of the same, we can live from a place of strength, not fear.

2. We will only be successful in addressing addiction – and other illnesses – when we recognize the humanity within each of us. People are more than their disease. All of us are more than our worst mistakes. We must ensure our nation always reflects a fundamental value: every life matters.

3. Healing happens when we are able to truly talk to and connect with each other. That means listening and understanding. It means assuming good, not the worst. It means pausing before we judge.

4. The world is locked in a struggle between love and fear. Choose love. Always. It is the world’s oldest medicine.

“Thank you, America, for the privilege of a lifetime. I have been truly humbled and honored to serve as your Surgeon General.”

He taught me so much just by his manner. In this day and age where everyone seems to know everything, where no one is surprised, where revealing a sense of wonder is almost something to be ashamed of, Dr. Murthy was a perpetual student, his eyes wide and his heart on his sleeve. I am going to miss him.

“Certified Transitional” Is Not “Certified Organic”

Nope. “Certified Transitional” food is not organic food. People will end up paying more for food that is not organic. This does not benefit the consumer; it benefits the food producer. It is about making money. It’s a game, an utter crock:

How To Preserve Muscle And Bone As We Age: Eat Less Meat And Dairy, More Fruits And Vegetables

Here’s another of Dr. Greger’s videos. This one talks about metabolic acidosis. It dispels the notion that eating an acid-forming diet (lots of meat and dairy) draws calcium from bones and sets one up for osteoporosis. Well, it dispels that direct link (somewhat, you have to eat enough calcium to break even), but it doesn’t get rid of the idea entirely. One way animal protein can be bad for bones: acidosis can lead to muscle wasting; and you need strong muscles to maintain strong bone.

Some studies from his video:

  • This earlier study found that there is a “progressively worsening low-level metabolic acidosis” as we age, and that “such age-related increasing metabolic acidosis may reflect in part the normal decline of renal function with increasing age.”
    Age And Systemic Acid-Base Equilibrium: Analysis Of Published Data, Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, 1996
  • This study began, “metabolic acidosis promotes muscle wasting.” And concluded, “Higher intake of foods rich in potassium, such as fruit and vegetables, may favor the preservation of muscle mass in older men and women.”
    Alkaline Diets Favor Lean Tissue Mass In Older Adults, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2008
  • This study says that diet-induced metabolic acidosis (eating lots of meat and dairy) increases slowly over time and that the kidneys compensate, in part, by nitrogen wasting. Insulin resistance also plays a role in muscle loss:
    Diet-Induced Metabolic Acidosis, Clinical Nutrition, August 2011
  • This was a review. It presented a body of evidence that reinforces a link between metabolic acidosis and poor health, including loss of muscle mass and bone deterioration. “Muscle wasting however seems to be reduced with an alkaline diet and back pain may benefit from this as well.” The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That An Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?, Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012

That last paper concluded:

Increased fruits and vegetables in an alkaline diet would improve the potassium/sodium ratio and may benefit bone health, reduce muscle wasting, as well as mitigate other chronic diseases such as hypertension and strokes.

Blue Is Best

According to Greger, and these studies, it’s not good to see your pee becoming more acidic as you age. You can test it if you like with either inexpensive pH strips, or with purple cabbage water. Purple cabbage in the presence of acid turns red; it turns blue in the presence of alkaline (or less acid). I think this would also work with beets and maybe blueberries and purple sweet potatoes, i.e. red is acid, blue is alkaline.