High levels of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) – a component related to the consumption of fish, shellfish and a primarily vegetarian diet – can reduce cardiovascular symptoms related to hypertension. The new research in rats finds that treatment with low doses with TMAO reduced cardiac thickening (cardiac fibrosis) and cardiac insufficiency markers in an animal model of hypertension. The study is published before printing on American journal of physiology – Cardiac and circulatory physiology and was chosen as an APSselect article for November
TMAO levels in the blood increase significantly after eating foods rich in TMAO such as fish and vegetables. In addition, the liver produces TMAO from trimethylamine (TMA), a substance made by intestinal bacteria. Due to the high levels of TMAO in the blood and the effects of the compound in the heart and the circulatory system are not clear and the previous investigations were contradictory. It is anticipated that levels of blood plasma TMAO and risk of heart disease increase after consumption of red meat and eggs. However, "it seems that a diet rich in fish and vegetarian, which is beneficial or at least neutral for cardiovascular risk, is associated with plasma TMAO significantly higher than those rich in red meat and high in eggs, which are considered as a rising cardiovascular increase, "wrote researchers from the Warsaw Medical University in Poland and the Polish Academy of Sciences.
The researchers studied the effect of TMAO on rats that have a genetic tendency to develop high blood pressure (spontaneously hypertensive rats). A group of hypertensive rats received low dose TMAO supplements in their drinking water and another group received pure water. They have been compared with a control group of rats that do not have the same genetic predisposition and receive pure water. The dosage of TMAO was designed to increase the levels of blood TMAO approximately four times greater than normally produced by the body. The rats received TMAO therapy for 12 weeks or 56 weeks and were evaluated for cardiac and renal damage and high blood pressure.
Treatment with TMAO did not affect the development of high blood pressure in any of the spontaneously hypertensive rats. However, the condition of the animals that received the compound was better than expected, even after more than one year of treatment with low dose of TMAO. "A new discovery of our study is that [a] The increase of four to five times in the plasma The TMAO does not exert negative effects in the circulatory system. In contrast, a low dose TMAO treatment is associated with reduced cardiac fibrosis and [markers of] Heart fails in spontaneously hypertensive rats, "the researchers wrote.
"Our study provides new evidence of a possible beneficial effect of a moderate increase in TMAO plasma in the overpriced heart," wrote the research team. Researchers acknowledge that an additional study is needed to assess the effect of TMAO and TMA in the circulatory system. However, an indirect conclusion of the study could underline the heart's healthy benefits of following a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish and vegetables.
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