Processed meat linked to cancer due to immune response

Over the years, scientists have shown that red or processed meat could cause cancer. However, they still break down the mechanisms that drive such a relationship. The authors of a recent study argue that at least part of the answer may lie in the immune interaction. In addition, diet and eating habits play a central role in a variety of health conditions. This includes cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Red meat and processed meat have each received appropriate levels of attention in this regard. Both are implicated in cancer risk, but how they exert their influence is still up for debate.

How does processed meat affect health??

Scientist analyzes a sample of red meat in the laboratory

So the authors point to preliminary evidence that N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc) may be a risk factor for colon cancer. This is a carbohydrate or sugar found in mammalian foods. Neu5Gc is abundant in red meat and dairy products and is found in small amounts in some fish but is absent in poultry. Humans cannot synthesize such an acid, but when they consume it, small amounts of it accumulate on the cell surface. When immune cells encounter this non-human material, it triggers the production of antibodies. Studies have shown that there are a wide range of these antibodies in the human body. Scientists have also found evidence that long-term exposure to these antibodies promotes inflammation and cancer in animal models. However, they have not yet identified a definite effect of consuming such animal products on the levels of these antibodies.

antibodies in case of inflammation in the blood

The researchers showed a connection between the level of circulating Neu5Gc antibodies and the risk of colon cancer. However, the level of antibodies was not associated with red meat intake. The aim of this new study is to end the relationship between a person’s diet and such a mirror once and for all. The authors of the present study included data from 16,149 adults, all of whom had registered at least six nutritional reports. Meanwhile, the researchers calculated the amount of Neu5Gc in a variety of common foods. Using this data, they created the so-called “Gcemic Index”. This classifies food according to Neu5Gc content. This applies in particular to the content in each food in relation to the amount measured in beef. Next, the researchers analyzed blood samples from 120 participants with at least eighteen 24-hour diet reports. In this way they determined the level of anti-Neu5Gc antibodies in the serum.

Study results

Researcher checks blood samples for blood clots in a covid 19 infection in the laboratory

The scientific team found a significant correlation between the high consumption of Neu5Gc from red meat and cheese and the increased development of antibodies that increase the risk of cancer. As these antibodies increase, so too does the likelihood of such inflammation. In addition, this increases the risk of certain conditions such as cancer getting worse. However, it’s also worth noting that the immune response described above is probably not the only link between red meat and cancer.

Perform process of biotechnology on red meat in laboratory

the authors the study also mention other factors including the high fat content in meat and mutagens. The latter are chemical compounds that cause irreversible changes in genetic material. Such a mutagen is, for example, heterocyclic amine, which is produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures. In the future, the researchers hope that such a Gcemic Index will be a tool for assessing the amount of Neu5Gc in a person’s diet. This can help to create personalized recommendations for people at risk.