Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk and Meat Intake

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 2.1 percent of men and women in the United States will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma at some point during their lifetime. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that originates in white blood cells known as lymphocytes. The lymphocytes are an essential component of the immune system that helps the body to fight infections and other diseases. Tumors can develop in both T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes—the two main types of lymphocyte cells. However, B-cell lymphomas are much more common in the United States than T-cell lymphomas.

Researchers have found several factors that can affect a person's chances of being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Diet is one of the factors that can influence the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Several studies have shown that high dietary ingestion of red meat is associated with elevated non-Hodgkin lymphoma risk.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Promoting Action of Meat

The findings of a 2015 study published in Medicine revealed that individuals on high-meat diets are highly vulnerable to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In this study, researchers analyzed the nutritional and clinical data of 15,189 subjects. They discovered that subjects who were frequent consumers of red and processed meats demonstrated a greater risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The team of researchers, therefore, concluded that non-Hodgkin lymphoma is more likely to occur in individuals who regularly consume diets dominated by red and processed meats. Other studies have corroborated the results of this study.

Meat and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Link?

The human digestive system is not a hundred percent efficient; it does not breakdown and absorb all food items into their simplest and absorbable forms at all times. When we consume a meaty meal, our digestive apparatus does not breakdown all the particles of the meat into their component amino acids. Some meat particles are absorbed in the form of intact protein into the blood. In the bloodstream, the absorbed intact meat proteins are treated as foreign invaders (antigens) by the immune system. Just like other antigens, the antigenic meat proteins also stimulate the proliferation, growth, and activation of immune cells, such as B and T lymphocytes. Chronic antigenic stimulation resulting from frequent consumption of red and processed meats amplifies lymphocyte proliferation, exposes lymphocytes to mutation, increases the chances of a normal lymphocyte cells to transform into a cancerous lymphoma, and elevates the risk of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Another Reason to Avoid Meat

Habitual consumption of red and processed meats has been linked to the development of many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, stroke, kidney, liver, heart, respiratory diseases and infections. Now, non-Hodgkin lymphoma can be added to this long list. If you want to minimize your chances of developing any of these deadly diseases, you should remove meat from your diet. As red and processed meat consumption increases, so do the chances of developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other diseases associated with meat intake. It is not worth it. 

Additional Information:

(1) 8 Serious Diseases Linked to Red Meat Consumption

(2) Dietary Patterns and the Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

(3) Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: Prognostic Factors and Targets

(4) Red and Processed Meat Consumption Increases Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

(5) National Cancer Institute- Cancer Stat Facts: Non Hodgkin Lymphoma

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