Does Meat Increase Homocysteine?

Meat, especially red meat, is often the target of criticism in some nutrition circles. Not always for the same reasons–most seem to appreciate its protein but lambast its fat as “artery clogging”. However, there also exists a number of noted nutritionists, particularly those recommending a “plant based diet”, who claim meat protein itself is unhealthy for a various reasons. One of their claims is that animal protein is acidic and causes bone loss as a result. I already this claim in a previous posts, concluding that it was completely untrue. But what about some of the other claims leveed against meat protein, do they have merit?

One claim I sometimes hear relates to homocysteine. Homocysteine is a compound found in the blood that appears to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (1,2). Homocysteine is derived primarily from the amino acid methionine, which meat protein is particularly rich in. This generally serves as the bases for the argument that meat should increase homocysteine levels. This makes some sense in theory, but do studies actually support it? Let’s find out. Continue reading