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Red meat and cancer. Evolutive hypothesis

Time ago some researches linked the high intake of red meat to a higher risk of metabolic, cardiovascular  and cancer disease. Regarding cancer some hypothesis have suggested that some factors such as the great among in iron, and saturated fatty acid can influence this situation. However the consumption of chicken and turkey is not linked to the increase of the risk of this type of diseases.

Nevertheless an interesting article (*) has recently been published. I knew about this article thanks to Ph D Rafael Urrialde that put up a post about this on his facebook frontpage. This article tell us about the relation between meat and cancer and focus on the evolutive hypothesis. 2 million years ago, it seems to be that our ancestors had a mutation in the CMAH gen, which  was converted into an inactive gen. This modification had some evolutive advantages , for example more protection against some type of malaria, but it was the cause why the red meat intake increases the risk of cancer.

This gen permits the synthesis of a type of sugar called Neu5Gc.  This sugar is typical of animal sources. The red meat, and some fishes, are a significant sources. Because of this mutation this sugar has converted in to stranger for our organism and it promote a immune and inflammatory response when we eat food that includes this sugar. This situation can cause some problems such as an increase of the risk of cancer.

Chicken and turkey don’t have this gen and for this reason don’t produce this type of sugar. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the chicken and turkey consumption is not related whith more risk of cancer. The read meat has this sugar and for this, its consumption increases the risk of cancer.

This is a reasonable hypothesis to explain why if we intake a lot of read meat we can increase the risk of suffering cancer.

In conclusion, this is another cause to limit the read meat consumption

(*) Sateesh Peri,  Asmita Kulkarni,  Felix Feyertag,  Patricia M. Berninsone, David Alvarez-Ponce. “Phylogenetic distribution of CMP-Neu5Ac hydroxylase (CMAH), the enzyme synthetizing the pro-inflammatory human xeno-antigen Neu5Gc”. Genome Biology and Evolution, 30 de noviembre de 2017.

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  1. Mark Cruels
    11 de marzo de 2018 at 03:12 · Responder

    I don’t know what to do anymore.

    • Dr. Ramón de Cangas
      12 de marzo de 2018 at 19:44 · Responder

      It is only a Hypothesis

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