by Melanie Grimes
Research has shown that high levels of homocysteine in the blood can predict who will suffer a heart attack. High levels of homocysteine prevent dilation of blood vessels. Research showed that homocysteine levels were a better indicator of heart attacks and strokes than high cholesterol levels. The research on the amino acid homocysteine and heart disease is over ten years old. Following men with heart problems for six years, Norwegian researchers found that the higher the homocysteine levels, the greater the risk of death following a heart attack. Another study showed that the risk of a fatal heart attack increased four-fold in those with high homocysteine levels in the blood. Several nutrients have been shown to lower blood homocysteine and the associated risks.
The risk factor for other diseases also increases with elevated levels of homocysteine. Diseases such as gout, rheumatism, cancer, leukemia, kidney disease, lupus, and even depression, go up as the homocysteine levels rise. Some doctors suggest a link between homocysteine and the thyroid gland as a link to these non-vascular disease states.
A healthy level of homocysteine in the blood is below 15 micro mol/liter, but some doctors recommend levels below 7. A simple blood test can be used for diagnosis.
Nutrients that reduce homocysteine are B12, B9 (folic acid), B2 (riboflavin), and B6. These nutrients act through various chemical pathways to break down homocysteine in the blood. Adding zinc and Tri-methyl Glycine (TMG) to the diet is also recommended. Physical exercise will decrease homocysteine levels, as will losing weight and reducing stress. A vegetarian diet reduces homocysteine levels as well.
Smoking and drinking alcohol will increase the levels of blood homocysteine as well, along with estrogen deficiency and use of some pharmaceutical drugs, such as steroids. Coffee and tea also cause an increase.
Some people are genetically prone to elevated homocysteine levels, but by changing the diet, reducing alcohol consumption, increasing exercise and adding B vitamins, homocysteine levels can be lowered, and the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other chronic conditions can be eliminated.
About the author
Melanie Grimes is a writer, award-winning screenwriter, medical journal editor, and adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University. She also teaches homeopathy at the Seattle School of Homeopathy and the American Homeopathic Medical College.
A trained homeopath, she is the editor of the homeopathic journal, Simillimum, and has edited alternative and integrative medical journals for 15 years. She has taught creative writing, founded the first Birkenstock store in the USA and authored medical textbooks.
Her ebook on Natural Remedies for the Flu is available at:
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