Just a couple of years ago, homocysteine became a household word.
Homocysteine is an amino acid that your body uses as part of its metabolism. It’s a byproduct your body makes when it breaks down proteins.
In a normal, healthy person, the body cleans up any excess homocysteine. But if you don’t have the right nutrients available—vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid—then your homocysteine levels begin to climb.
Rising homocysteine means rising heart disease risk
Doctors use a blood test to measure homocysteine. They measure it in micromoles per liter of blood, but that’s neither here or there. You can just look at the number to know how you’re doing.
If your levels get up above nine, then your risk of cardiovascular diseases begins to increase. Your heart disease risks rise slowly at first, but by the time your homocysteine reaches 15, you have some serious problems. You are at higher risk of dying from heart disease, and you’re also at a much higher risk of suffering a stroke.
Still, the mainstream medical industry keeps trying to downplay the importance of homocysteine.
Don’t be Fooled—Homocysteine Levels DO Matter
Despite efforts to dismiss homocysteine, a review of the evidence shows that it does make a difference. A moderate decrease for someone with levels between nine and 13 won’t yield an impressive decrease in heart disease risk.
But for people with really high homocysteine, it’s a different story.
If your homocysteine levels climb higher than 15, your heart disease risk is four or five times higher than if you had normal levels. Your risk of stroke also increases. Homocysteine levels of just 11 increase stroke risk by 76% compared to someone with levels below nine.
Keep Your Homocysteine And Heart Healthy
It’s cynical, but part of the reason that homocysteine doesn’t get the attention it deserves is because there aren’t expensive, fancy drugs to bring it down to healthy levels.
The best way to lower your homocysteine levels is to take more B vitamins. The three specific vitamins that help maintain healthy homocysteine levels are B6, B12, and folic acid. Dietary sources are best, but your multivitamin or B complex vitamin should contain 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid, 50 mcg of B12, and 50 milligrams of B6. For the best results, take your vitamins with food.
By maintaining good nutrition and making sure you get enough of these crucial B vitamins, you can keep your homocysteine levels low and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D. is director and founder of the Institute for Anti-Aging in South Florida. For the past 15 years he has combined modern medicine with nutrition, exercise, and physiology to create a natural program for healthier living.
Dr. Rosenberg received his undergraduate degree from University of Pennsylvania and graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine. He then completed his residency in emergency medicine in San Antonio, Texas at Brooke Army Medical Center, where he won the award of “Teacher and Resident of the Year.”
In 1997, Dr. Rosenberg became a diplomate of the American College of Anti-Aging Medicine. He has since become a highly sought-after speaker and lectures frequently on topics such as integrative cancer therapy and anti-aging medicine. In 2009, Dr. Rosenberg will be regularly lecturing in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Dr. Rosenberg has published a physician’s guide to the treatment of drug toxicities and served as a consultant to several hospitals for the treatment of drug overdoses. In addition to drug research, he is avidly involved in supplement research, and has served as the Chief Science Officer for several supplement companies including VitalMax Vitamins.
Dr. Rosenberg has spent much of his time over the past few years studying cancer. He has developed a novel protocol that integrates standard chemotherapeutic regimens with non-toxic natural supplemental regimens. Dr. Rosenberg was featured on Fox News for inducing remission in a patient with cancer that had spread from the lungs to the liver and spine. Wake Forest University is now studying this protocol.
Dr. Rosenberg is a regular contributor, and one of the experts that can be found on HealthyAnswers.com.
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