Even vegetarians could potentially be exposed to the carcinogens typically formed by cooking meat through eggs, cheese, creatine sports supplements, and cigarette smoke.
More than 20 heterocyclic amines have been reported in cooked meats, fish, and poultry prepared under common house-hold cooking conditions. To reduce one's exposure to these cooked meat carcinogens one could of course eat vegetarian, --or even just refrain from eating meat for 24 hours and the levels of the two chief heterocyclic amines drop to zero. So if you practice Meatless Mondays, by Tuesday morning the levels of PhIP and MeIQx, one the most potent mutagens ever tested, become N.D. undetectable. Now for a third cooked meat carcinogen, they actually did find some in a few folks—even though they hadn't eaten meat for a day. That perplexed the researchers. Now the four subjects that had quantifiable amounts of IQ4,5-b which is an isomer of the powerful animal carcinogen IQ in their urine after refraining from meat consumption had each eaten cheese and/or boiled eggs as part of their diet while abstaining from cooked meats. IQ and several other heterocyclic amines have been reported in fried eggs, so it's plausible that IQ- [4,5-b], which forms at temperatures well below 100 °C and may be present in boiled eggs or possibly other foods containing creatine, such as cheese. That brought up an interesting point, though. What about all the Dietary supplementation of creatine by sports enthusiasts; they speculate that high consumption of creatine could result in the formation of genotoxic heterocyclic amines in the body," a cautionary note for both meateaters and vegetarians alike. A similar finding was reported in a study comparing the levels of the cooked meat carcinogen PhIP growing out in people's hair . "It was detected in hair samples of all six of the meat-eaters they tested but was detected in one of the six vegetarians.” Now it was low, just above the kind of level of detection, so they kind of dismissed it, suggesting that exposure occurs primarily through the consumption of cooked meats or poultry and that nonmeat-derived sources of exposure are probably negligible. But not if you smoke. Even if you ate meatless Mondays all the way through meatless Sundays, you can still be exposed smoking cigarettes . Here's a measure of phip exposure in smoking meat eaters (rise up from bottom line), nonsmoking meateaters, smoking vegetarians, and nonsmoking vegetarians. So it's not enough to just eat healthy.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Jonathan Hodgson.
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Caution may also be necessary with athletic protein supplementation. See Heavy Metals in Protein Powder Supplements. In general, Some Dietary Supplements May Be More Than a Waste of Money.
More information on the Meatless Monday campaign can be found on their website meatlessmonday.com.
Measuring toxin levels in hair or nail clippings is a noninvasive way to measure long-term exposure levels. See Hair Testing for Mercury and Hair Testing for Mercury Before Considering Pregnancy for another instance of where it's used.
Heterocyclic amines are not the only class of meat carcinogens also found in cigarette smoke. See my video When Nitrites Go Bad. While the body can detox itself of both nitrosamines and these cooked meat chemicals within hours or days, some pollutants found in meat can persist in the body. See Industrial Pollutants in Vegans, Flame Retardant Chemical Contamination, and How Fast Can Children Detoxify from PCBs?
This is the final video of a four part series on heterocyclic amines—or is it? In Estrogenic Cooked Meat Carcinogens we explored the role of these cooked meat chemicals in tumor growth. In PhIP: The Three Strikes Breast Carcinogen we explored their role in cancer invasion. Then Reducing Cancer Risk In Meateaters offered some mediation strategies. The next two videos also involve these carcinogens, but only as an experimental model of cancer formation to test the power of various plants to stop this transformation.
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