Beef jerky, processed meats linked to manic episodes: Study

New Delhi, July 19: Love to gorge on beef jerky, salami, hot dogs and other processed meat as part of your evening snacks daily? Beware, these processed meats laced with chemicals such as nitrates, to preserve them from spoilage, may contribute to mania — an abnormal mood state characterized by hyperactivity, euphoria and insomnia, a study has found.

The findings showed that people hospitalised for an episode of mania had more than three times the odds of having ever eaten nitrate-cured meats than people without a history of a serious psychiatric disorder. Nitrates have long been used as preservatives in cured meat products and have been previously linked to some cancers and neurodegenerative diseases, so Yolken suspected they may also explain the link to mood states such as mania.

Further, in experiments on rats, those who received the jerky showed irregular sleeping patterns and hyperactivity similar to that seen in patients with mania — increased activity during normal sleep times and in new environments. However, when the animals were fed on nitrate-free meat, they behaved similarly to a control group. (IANS)