Lamb 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects

Improved physical performance

Lamb not only helps preserve muscle mass but may also be important for muscle function.

It contains the amino acid beta-alanine, which your body uses to produce carnosine, a substance necessary for muscle function.

Beta-alanine is found in high amounts in meat, such as lamb, beef, and pork.

High levels of carnosine in human muscles have been associated with decreased fatigue and improved exercise performance.

Diets low in beta-alanine — such as vegetarian and vegan diets — may decrease levels of carnosine in your muscles over time.

On the other hand, taking high doses of beta-alanine supplements for 4–10 weeks has been shown to cause a 40–80% increase in the amount of carnosine in muscles.

Therefore, regular consumption of lamb — or other foods rich in beta-alanine — may benefit athletes and those who want to optimize their physical performance.

Anemia prevention

Anemia is a common condition, characterized by low levels of red blood cells and decreased oxygen-carrying capacity of your blood. The main symptoms include fatigue and weakness.

Iron deficiency is a major cause of anemia but can be easily avoided with proper dietary strategies.

Meat is one of the best dietary sources of iron. It not only contains heme-iron — a highly bioavailable form of iron — but also improves the absorption of non-heme iron, the form of iron found in plants.

This effect of meat is not entirely understood and is referred to as the “meat factor”.

Heme-iron is only found in animal-derived foods. Therefore, it’s often low in vegetarian diets and absent from vegan diets.

This explains why vegetarians are more at risk of anemia than meat-eaters (39).

Simply put, eating meat may be one of the best dietary strategies to prevent iron deficiency anemia.

SUMMARY

Lamb may promote the growth and maintenance of muscle mass and improve muscle function, stamina, and exercise performance. As a rich source of highly available iron, lamb may help prevent anemia.