Friday, December 24, 2010

Homocysteine is Not a New Story

Homocysteine is Not a New Story by Dr. Deborah Baker

Also from the Life Extension article – “The homocysteine theory of cardiovascular risk was first tested and published by Dr. Kilmer McCully in 1969, but, with everyone focusing on cholesterol at that time, his findings were ignored. Finally, almost 30 years later, the word is out on homocysteine. In addition to NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, articles have been published in Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Prevention magazine and more.”

Homocysteine levels rise as people age. Therefore, any anti-aging program must take homocysteine level control into consideration. Lowering homocysteine has benefits beyond heart protection. When the blood supply to the heart is blocked, a heart attack results. When blood to the brain is blocked, a stroke results. If the penile artery is occluded, impotence results. Blockages in the extremeties results in intermittent claudication or pain in the affected extremity.
Homocysteines relationship to heart disease may explain some things that cholesterol never could. These B vitamins and homocysteine are so interrelated that homocysteine levels could be used to assess vitamin status. This could explain the increase in heart disease which has occurred in women over the past two decades which coincides with the use of birth control pills. Birth control pills deplete vitamin B6 and raise homocysteine levels. Smoking, a known risk factor for heart disease, also depletes vitamin B6 and smokers generally have low levels of folio acid and vitamin B12...all needed for homocysteine metabolism. Its not surprising that the statistics linking smoking to heart disease are similar to those linking high homocysteine levels to heart disease.(l)

The homocysteine story may explain some of the increases in heart disease that the cholesterol scare never could.  We also know now that things like taking birth control bills and smoking deprive the body of vitamin B6 (and also B12 and folic acid in smoking).  These both add to the risk of heart attack and it may be because of the effect on the homocysteine nutrients that they pose risk.

In general I recommend about 500 mg of TMG per day, 800 mcg of folic acid, (preferrably in the active MTHF form) 500 mcg of B12, 25 mg of B6 and 5 mg of zinc.  This should of course be taken in divided doses over the day.

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