High intake of heterocyclic amines from meat is associated with oxidative stress

Br J Nutr. 2015 Apr 28;113(8):1301-7. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515000628. Epub 2015 Mar 27.


High meat intake has been related to chronic diseases such as cancer and CVD. One hypothesis is that heterocyclic amines (HCA), which are formed during the cooking process of meat, can generate reactive species. These compounds can cause oxidation of lipids, proteins and DNA, resulting in oxidative stress, cell damage and loss of biological function. This association has been seen in vitro; however, it remains unclear in vivo. The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between oxidative stress and HCA intake, and oxidative stress and meat intake. Data were from the Health Survey for Sao Paulo--ISA-Capital (561 adult and elderly). Food intake was estimated by one 24-h dietary recall (24HR) complemented by a detailed FFQ with preferences of cooking methods and level of doneness for meat. HCA intake was estimated linking the meat from the 24HR to a database of HCA. Oxidative stress was estimated by malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration in the plasma, after derivatisation with thiobarbituric acid and quantification by HPLC/diode array. Analyses were performed using multivariate logistic regressions adjusted for smoking, sex, age, BMI, skin colour, energy intake, fruit and vegetable intake, and physical activity. A positive association between HCA intake and MDA concentration (OR 1·17; 95% CI 1·01, 1·38) was observed, showing that HCA from meat may contribute to increase oxidative stress, and may consequently increase the risk of chronic diseases.

Keywords: Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amines / chemistry*
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Mass Index
  • Brazil
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Meat / analysis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Young Adult


  • Amines
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Malondialdehyde