Research teams said, that the body acknowledges red meat as a foreign invader and the immune system releases a toxic response. The alarm set by the immune system in the organism, leads the body to produce antibodies that cause inflammation which could ultimately transform into cancer.
This means that the daily intake of red meat should be portioned. Health experts recommend a daily consumption of two and a half ounces of red meat. This quantity is equal to two slices of beef, or a lamb chop or three slices of ham, per day. The substance contained in the red meat, Neu5Gc is a type of sugar that provokes inflammation and promotes cancer development in rodents.
Neu5Gc is a molecule found in the majority of mammals. In spite of being found in apes, the human body cannot synthesise Neu5Gc due to the fact that the human gene CMAH is irreversibly mutated.
Even though the human body cannot produce Neu5Gc reports have shown that it can be found in human cancers or fetal samples. This make researchers to believe that the Neu5Gc molecules must enter the human system through external sources, such as diets.
After a survey on common foods, the team of scientists found that the red meats such pork, beef and lamb contain alot of Neu5Gc, which means that these foods are the main source of Neu5Gc from the human diet. Also, the molecule proved that it can spread to tissues by traveling trough the blood stream.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine examined the possible role of Neu5Gc in human cancer. The study has shown that feeding Neu5Gc to mice, which lack this sugar, made their bodies to developed spontaneous cancer. The experiment didn’t include exposure of the mice to carcinogens or artificially induced cancer, which demonstrated Neu5Gc’s correlation with consmption of red meat and cancer development.
“This is the first time we have directly shown that mimicking the exact situation in humans – feeding non-human Neu5Gc and inducing anti-Neu5Gc antibodies – increases spontaneous cancers in mice,”
lead author of the study, Ajit Varki, MD, said. Dr. Varki is a distinguished Professor of Medicine in Cellular and Molecular medicine and is a member of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.
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