NutritionFacts.org

Health Topics

  1. #
  2. A
  3. B
  4. C
  5. D
  6. E
  7. F
  8. G
  9. H
  10. I
  11. J
  12. K
  13. L
  14. M
  15. N
  16. O
  17. P
  18. Q
  19. R
  20. S
  21. T
  22. U
  23. V
  24. W
  25. X
  26. Y
  27. Z
Browse All Topics

When Meat Can Be a Lifesaver

There are rare birth defects in which the inability to produce certain compounds requires an exogenous source. Presented here is a case report of a boy with a mutation in his carnitine transport system.

May 2, 2012 |
GD Star Rating
loading...

Topics

Supplementary Info

Sources Cited

Acknowledgements

Images thanks to Ben Mills, Bb3cxv, Sbrools, Edgar181, Kay Gaensler and Thora Thinks via Wikimedia Commons.

Transcript

Remember the arachidonic acid story? Cholesterol? There are other similar necessary components found exclusively or almost exclusively in the animal kingdom—not the plant kingdom— such as carnosine, carinitine, creatine, and taurine.
But if something is made only by animals, what about those eating vegetarian? Thankfully, vegetarians are, animals too, so they make it themselves. Now carnivores are the exception. Cats don’t make taurine, for example, but that’s because they’re built to eat animals that do. But humans produce all these compounds on their own--unless they have some rare genetic inborn error of metabolism birth defect.
There is actually a hereditary disease that may affects as many as 1 in 40,000 births. It’s a mutation on chromosome 5 of a carnitine transport protein. They actually make enough carnitine; but end up peeing too much out and so develop a carnitine deficiency. And actually was a case report about 30 years ago of a 10 year boy in Israel in and out of the hospital every four or five months. No one knew what was going on. The clue only came when he decided to go meat-free, and that made things worse. Then he started having attacks every three weeks. Turns out he had that rare disorder, but it was being kept somewhat at bay by the exogenous, external dietary source of carnitine in the meat that the other 39,999 kids out of 40,000 don’t need.
He stayed vegetarian, but they gave him high dose creatine supplements, and at the time of the report he was 12, and completely cured.

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 veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

The "arachidonic acid story" I refer to in the video can be viewed here:Chickens, Eggs, and Inflammation. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient not made by plants or animals and is critical for those eating plant-based diets. See Safest Source of B12 for an introduction, and my blog post Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Putting It Into Perspective. And there are hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects. Note that all of the sources listed above in "Sources Cited" are open access, so you can download them by clicking on the links.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    The “arachidonic acid story” I refer to in the video can be viewed here: Chickens, Eggs, and Inflamation. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient not made by plants or animals and is critical for those eating plant-based diets. See Safest Source of B12 for an introduction, and my blog post Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Putting It Into Perspective. And there are hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects. Note that all of the sources listed above in “Sources Cited” are open access, so you can download them by clicking on the links.

    • Oil

      Dear dr. Greger.
      I am a vegan with MVP and regurgitation.

      Is it essential for me to take taurine?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=670735069 Tan Truong

    Could this be the reason why a number of people, regardless of truth or not, fanatically claim to need meat in their diet?

  • Jon Fisher

    Thanks for sharing this fascinating story! This is a great example of what I love about Dr. Gregor: he reports the facts rather than only giving examples that bolster veganism. Granted, 99%+ of the data do show good results for veganism, but some other groups promote the idea that it is impossible for any vegan diet (no matter how badly planned) can have any deficiencies for any people. It’s great having someone I can trust for nutrition advice!

  • Teresaannpitman

    What is also interesting to me is that the boy chose not to eat meat, but simply to take the supplements. 

  • Jeremy

    I suffer from Gilberts Syndrome and find that my body is unable to synthesize Taurine well, I substitute with supplement tablets when required but find my bodies health breaks down without red meat consumption. I don’t feel that the understanding medically around the affect of Gilberts allows for a true meat-free diet yet as most doctors still believe GS is asymptomatic. Instead I seek to obtain grass fed/free range animal products which have healthier fat and nutrition profiles.

    I am very interested in some of the statistics you show when comparing diets as having seen the vast difference in nutrient profiles put forth from farms like Polyface when comparing their eggs to others. I can’t help but see the need for another classification. One which would represent the consumption of locally, freshly and sustainably harvested animal product grown in a way that respects the historical living conditions and diets of the animals without pesticides, hormones, chemicals and production based breeding specialisation. The comparison between these animal products and the mass-produced animal products is a question that I’ve not found answered clearly yet. Thanks for your videos, very informative.

  • Sebastian Tristan

    Very interesting.