It's interesting to see the reaction of the meat-eating community. One interesting article was this one from VitalChoices (seller of Alaskan salmon, etc.):
"Beef Scare Overblown? Closer look eases artery concerns related to the carnitine abundant in beef and red meats"http://www.vitalchoice.com/shop/pc/articlesView.asp?id=2027
Notice the assertions:
1. "Incredibly, the authors failed to mention that many other foods – including fish and plant foods clearly linked to lower risk of heart disease – have more carnitine and/or TMAO than beef does."
I don't know where they came up with this one. Beef and pork have MUCH more carnitine than any other meat and MUCH MUCH MUCH more than any plant food that I know of. So someone didn't do their homework here.
By the way, I love VitalChoice overall, so I'm not attacking them. I'm just posting this to show how the meat-eaters are really squirming with this one.
2. "And many studies – including randomized clinical trials – have indicated that carnitine supplements improve outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease"
Now this is a much better point. If you'll read the article belowhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-r-gaby-md/carnitine-heart-health_b_3100191.html
he brings up how acetyl and propinyl supplements help patients with various aspects of managing heart disease such as issues in the extremeties, angina and surviving a heart attack. But these arguments really avoid a couple of important points:
--The original study said that arteriosclerosis would be accelerated in meat eaters. I believe there is evidence for this, but meat eaters would simply say, "Arteriosclerosis is inevitable and not that big of a deal if managed properly."
--Acetyl-l-carnitine and propinyl are really different animals. The have little to do with the carnitine found in meat and don't affect lipids. As far as I know, there is not link to these supplements and TMAO, although I am sure more data will be forthcoming.
Anyway, it is going to go back and forth for the next 10 years and it will be interesting to see where it all ends up...