Researchers at Tel Aviv University may have found the cause of the link already observed between the consumption of red meat and dairy products and an increased risk of cancer. According to the researchers, these products ingest a sugar molecule called Neu5Gc, which causes the body to produce antibodies. The presence of these antibodies is a risk factor for cancer, especially colorectal cancer. The research results were recently presented in the renowned journal “BMC Medicine”.
An international research team recently found the first direct molecular link between the consumption of certain foods and the development of antibodies in the blood associated with an increased risk of cancer. In particular, the regular consumption of red meat and dairy products such as cheese leads to more biomarkers in the body that indicate an increased risk of cancer.
According to the study, Neu5Gc is a sugar molecule that is found in mammalian tissues but not in poultry or fish. Humans are already developing the first antibodies against Neu5Gc in infancy after eating milk and red meat products for the first time.
While Neu5Gc antibodies are known to increase the risk of cancer, there has been no direct evidence of a link between red meat and dairy consumption and the production of such antibodies. The research team emphasizes that this association may explain the high incidence of cancer in people who consume large amounts of dairy products and red meat.
What is New5Gc?
The researchers measured the amount of Neu5Gc sugar in a variety of dairy and meat products. They compared these values with data from a large French nutrition study involving more than 19,000 participants. “We found a significant correlation between the high consumption of Neu5Gc from red meat and cheese and the increased development of those antibodies that increase the risk of cancer,” said Dr. Vered Padler-Karavani, Head of Research. “Efforts have been made for years to find such a correlation, but no one has yet succeeded”.
According to Dr. Padler-Karavani, this index can be used to predict how high the concentrations of Neu5Gc antibodies are as a function of the amount of meat and dairy products consumed. A high concentration of antibodies is associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer and other cancers. (vb)
Based on these results and the quantification of Neu5Gc sugar in various foods from France, Dr. Padler-Karavani and her team established the so-called Gcemic Index, which reflects the increased risk of cancer associated with excessive consumption of dairy products and red meat.
Molecular relationship between diet and cancer risk
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.