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Originally published April 25 2013

Questioning the study: Carnitine compound found in red meat and energy increases heart disease risks

by PF Louis

(NaturalNews) An earlier NaturalNews article by this author featured mainstream media's (MSM) reports of the red meat study with a similar title to this article. It drew some strong disagreement from commenting readers.

Since then, more information from reliable alternative media and medical sources has been discovered to deconstruct the findings of that study. For the record, I don't eat meat.

However, any studies or news, even if flawed or erroneous, that discourages eating meat from CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) factory farms is encouraging.

An obvious flaw

The study, "Intestinal microbiota metabolism of L-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis" was performed by researchers at Lerner Research Institute in Cleveland, Ohio. It was published in the journal Nature Medicine.

There was no distinction made from CAFO beef and grass fed, hormone free organic cattle. CAFO meats are toxic

CAFO livestock are overly injected with antibiotics for disease prevention (from the terrible overcrowded conditions) and as fattening agents along with hormones. They are also force fed grain mush. The grains are generally GMO corn and soy.

The toxic glyphosate herbicide Roundup is passed on with GMO feed. Retired PhD plant pathologist Don Huber and others have determined glyphosate is the culprit that initiated GMO crops' soil creation of a new pathogen wreaking havoc in CAFO livestock.

So did the Cleveland study examine the difference between CAFO red meat and meat from organic grass fed livestock? Nope. Did MSM ask why not? Nope.

More study issues from reliable sources

The Cleveland study announced red meat and supplemental L-carnitine as the initiator of a process that produces a toxic compound called trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO).

They dismissed saturated fat from meat as the problem. Instead they claimed TMAO blocks or inhibits metabolizing a type of cholesterol LDL they say is responsible for those clogged arteries (

However, cholesterol as the lone source of arterial congestion and inflammation has been challenged lately by even cardiologists. A specific type of LDL can inflame arteries, but it is created mostly from HFCS and trans-fatty acids, not from saturated fats.

Cholesterol is important for building cell walls and brain cells.

But by isolating L-carnitine, they also put a scare into vegetarians who supplement L-carnitine and others who consume sports and energy drinks with L-carnitine. That drew the largest reaction with good reason.

Dr. Stephen Sinatra MD, holistic cardiologist author of The Great Cholesterol Myth, wrote on his website that the study report was complicated with contradictions.

He countered the study's recommendation of meat eaters using antibiotics to rid their guts of the bacteria that my be involved with creating TMAO with his own recommendation: Eat less red meat and use only free range grass fed animals.

Dr. Sinatra believes health starts in the gut with a balanced intestinal flora.

Dr. Sinatra also advised vegetarians to disregard the study's concern about L-carnitine supplements. He mentioned that there are plenty of studies showing it is a deterrent to all types of heart disease. The title of his article: "L-carnitine is Not Only Safe, It's Essential" is linked in the sources below.

Also linked below is the article from Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), "Latest Red Meat Study Doubly Flawed". This article points out that only six humans, five meat eaters and one vegan, along with several mice were used in the study. So only one vegan determined the L-carnitine supplement concerns.

ANH also pointed out the difference between CAFO meats and meats from free pasture organic grass fed livestock, which both the study and mainstream media ignored. Their article reiterated Dr. Siniatra's assertion of L-carnitine's positive heart health characteristics documented in several other studies.

L-carnitine transports fatty acids into cellular mitochondria for the creation of cellular energy. So use L-Carnitine and eat less red meat from factory farms if you're a meat eater. That seems to be the real bottom line.

Sources for this article include:

One of several MSM articles on the study

Dr. Sinatra's article

ANH article

Mayo Clinic: L-carnitine is the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

Interview (text) of Don Huber - GMOs, Glyphosate, and Tommorow

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