Health Advice



What fuels stroke-related disability? Get to the meat of the matter

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

The word "stroke" has so many meanings: to pat or rub gently; the striking of a clock (the stroke of midnight); and of course, to have a blood clot that lodges in the brain.

Someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds -- and stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability, reducing mobility in more than half of stroke survivors ages 65 and older. But don't think they're just a problem for seniors. In 2009, 34% of people hospitalized for stroke were younger than 65 -- and 15% to 30% of them were disabled as a result.

So what's fueling the damage done to the nearly 800,000 Americans who have a stroke every year? Cleveland Clinic researchers have confirmed that what goes on in your gut biome directly affects how severe a stroke you might have and how impaired you are after the event. Building on 10 years of research, their new study, published in Cell Host & Microbe, provides proof that that the adverse effects of TMAO -- a byproduct of digesting red meat, egg yolks, cheese and other animal products -- on the gut biome increase the severity of brain damage, and motor and cognitive deficits from a stroke.

Now, you don't want to have a stroke, but if you do have one, you sure want to have your best shot at a robust recovery. "Switching to plant-based protein sources helps lower TMAO," says Cleveland Clinic researcher Dr. Weifei Zhu. We say, if you do that, well, that's a stroke of genius.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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