Red meat leads to DNA damage, says study

Feb. 1, 2006 at 1:15 PM
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LONDON, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- British scientist say eating lots of red meat can lead to DNA damage, raising the risk of bowel cancer.

Scientists at the MRC Dunn Human Nutrition Unit and the Open University near London compared red meat and vegetarian diets and found the former was associated with a higher level of DNA damage, reports the BBC.

The findings are published in Cancer Research. Earlier studies have noted that red meat consumption is more likely to lead to bowel cancer.

Work by Open University researchers suggested the DNA damage could be due to the presence of substances called N-nitrosocompounds, which form in the large bowel after eating red meat. These substances could lead to harmful changes or mutations, increasing cancer risks.

A Meat and Livestock Commission spokesman said the results of the small-scale study merely suggest the risk of developing colorectal cancer and larger-scale studies are needed.

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