When Meat Can Be a Lifesaver

When Meat Can Be a Lifesaver
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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.

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Remember the arachidonic acid story? We make it, but we can also get it in our diet eating other animals that make it; same thing with cholesterol.  Well, there are similar necessary components found exclusively, or almost exclusively, in the animal kingdom—not the plant kingdom—such as carnosine, carnitine, 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, true 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 affect as many as one in 40,000 births. It’s a mutation on chromosome 5 of a carnitine transport protein. They actually make enough carnitine; but because of the birth defect, end up peeing too much out, and so develop a carnitine deficiency.

And actually, there was a case report about 30 years ago of a 10-year-old 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; that’s why he was sick. 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 carnitine 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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

Remember the arachidonic acid story? We make it, but we can also get it in our diet eating other animals that make it; same thing with cholesterol.  Well, there are similar necessary components found exclusively, or almost exclusively, in the animal kingdom—not the plant kingdom—such as carnosine, carnitine, 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, true 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 affect as many as one in 40,000 births. It’s a mutation on chromosome 5 of a carnitine transport protein. They actually make enough carnitine; but because of the birth defect, end up peeing too much out, and so develop a carnitine deficiency.

And actually, there was a case report about 30 years ago of a 10-year-old 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; that’s why he was sick. 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 carnitine 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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

Nota del Doctor

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 also check out my blog post Vegan B12 Deficiency: Putting It Into Perspective.

Note that both of the sources listed in Sources Cited (above) are open access, so you can download them by clicking on the links.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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