Red Flag for Red Meat

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April 13, 2010

If you're vulnerable to rheumatoid arthritis, lay off the beef.

Some rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk factors you're born with--including having a family history and being female. But not all: Cutting back on red meat may offer some protection if you're vulnerable, say British researchers.

They found that among 264 subjects, those who averaged 2 or more ounces of red meat every day had almost double the RA risk of those eating less than an ounce a day.

Red meat contains a lot of collagen, which may activate antibodies in people susceptible to the disease. Those antibodies are thought to trigger RA--an autoimmune disorder in which your body attacks itself, breaking down collagen in joints.

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