Death of PETA Spokesman | The Whole Soy Story with The Naughty Nutritionist
But can meat and animal products actually protect us from heart disease? A naughty proposition to be sure, given the preponderance of the low-fat, low cholesterol myth. But the answer is yes, because of meat’s protective effect on homocysteine levels.
Homocysteine first came on the radar in 1969 when Kilmer S. McCully, MD, published the article “Vascular pathology of homocysteinemia: implications for the pathogenesis of arteriosclerosis” in the American Journal of Pathology (56, 111-128). Over the past four decades, homocysteine has not only been studied by Dr. McCully — known as “The Father of the Homocysteine Theory of Heart Disease” — but by many other researchers.
Homocysteinemia is an acquired metabolic abnormality, and Dr. McCully initially proposed it could be prevented easily and inexpensively by taking three B vitamins — B6, B12 and folate. Unfortunately, that solution proved simplistic. Although the data were clear that B6, B12 and folate were an important part of any prevention protocol, some people tested with high homocysteine anyway. The latest research suggests that sulfur deficiency — increasingly common in the modern world and especially common among vegetarians — might be an even more important risk factor.
Last year I reported on a study by Dr. McCully and Yves Ingenbleek MD that ran in the August 26, 2011 issue of the journal Nutrition. Its title “Vegetarianism produces subclinical malnutrition, hyperhomocysteinemia and atherogenesis” sounded a strong warning about heart disease risk, and the article itself detailed why subjects on mostly vegan diets can develop morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease unrelated to vitamin B status and Framingham criteria.