Transcript: Meat May Exceed Daily Allowance of Irony
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
Beyond the putative role of nonhuman NeuGC as a potential molecular link between diet, autoreactive antibodies, and the progression of human cancer, let me offer one final tidbit on the evolving NeuGc story: the potentially deadly toxin produced by E. coli O157:H7—that causes the hemolytic uremic syndrome that can shut down the kidneys of children—actually attaches to NeuGc.
When we eat animal products, the “assimilation of dietary Neu5Gc creates high-affinity receptors on [the] human gut [lining] and kidney [blood vessels]…” conferring susceptibility to the gastrointestinal and systemic toxicities” of the E. coli toxin.
“Ironically, the [same] foods rich in NeuGC are the most common source of…contamination [with these toxin-producing E. coli].” So, meat provides us with the receptors to the very toxins the meat may contain. It’s like a gunman handing us our own bullseye.
So, there are both long- and short-term consequences. “Taken together, these findings suggest a ‘two-hit’ process in the pathogenesis of human [E. coli]-induced disease. First, humans eat Neu5Gc-rich food, leading to incorporation of Neu5Gc on the surfaces of…[their] cells. Second, when exposed to a [toxin]-producing strain, the toxin produced would be able to bind to the intestinal epithelial cells, perhaps causing acute gastrointestinal symptoms, and eventually damaging endothelial cells in other organs like the kidney, thereby causing HUS.”
“Neu5Gc-rich foods not only sensitizes human tissues to [the toxin], but also simultaneously increases the likelihood of infection with [toxin producing E. coli]. These pathogens are usually found in the intestines of livestock…” and, as such, “most commonly enter the human food chain by fecal contamination… Thus, those who consume large amounts of these types of foods may be unwittingly preparing their bodies for damage by a [toxin]-producing organism that contaminates their next meal of the very same food types.”
The researchers ask: is this “Poetic justice for…meat eaters?” Not when it’s “a major cause of acute [life-threatening kidney] failure in children.
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