A study conducted by Dr Rosenson of Mt Sinai and Dr Narula of Lenox Hill showed that carnitine, which is found in red meat and also sold as a supplement (especially in energy drinks) may be linked to heart disease/atherosclerosis. Carnitine is broken down in the gut into TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide), which has been shown to promote a hardening and clogging of the arteries. Previous research has found an increased risk of cardiovascular disease with consistently high TMAO levels. Additionally, the study showed that a diet high in carnitine encourages the growth of bacteria which makes the gut more prone to forming TMAO. The researchers compared vegetarians/vegans to omnivores and found that the omnivores produced very high levels of TMAO while the vegetarians did not. The study could not show a cause-and -effect relationship, but it definitely demonstrates the benefits of a diet lower in red meat consumption.