Homocysteine Heart Disease Risk Factor: What You Don't Know Can Kill You

Diseases of the heart and blood vessels are still the number one health problem in the United States. Approximately 35% of all heart attacks occur in people with normal total cholesterol levels.

Research has shown that high levels of an amino acid called Homocysteine contributes to the progression of heart disease. Many researchers believe that the connection between Homocysteine and atherosclerosis is even stronger than the case against cholesterol. Some studies have shown that for each 5 micromoles per liter increase in homocysteine level, your risk for heart disease can increase by as much as 60 to 80%. The American Heart Association has indicated that a reasonable therapeutic goal for homocysteine levels should be less than 10 micromoles per liter.

How Homocysteine causes damage

Homocysteine injures the walls of arteries. Injured artery cells absorb LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. Homocysteine promotes the growth of smooth muscle cells in the artery which in turn narrows the lumen of the artery. As levels increase, you are at increased risk for the formation of blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Risk factors for increased Homocysteine levels include :

Smoking and tobacco use
Post-Heart Attack or Stroke
Kidney Failure
Advanced Age
Post menopause
Chronic, excessive alcohol consumption

How Homocysteine levels become elevated

Homocysteine levels rise when your body does not have the necessary co-factors to breakdown Homocysteine.

The necessary co-factors to breakdown homocysteine to Cysteine and Methionine are Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin B6.

How to protect yourself against high levels of Homocysteine

Have your doctor check your Homocysteine level

Take adequate amounts of Folate. Natural Folate obtained from food is only 50% absorbed by the body when taken orally. Folic Acid, the synthetic form of Folate, is 100% absorbed after oral administration. Liquids are better absorbed than pills.

Take adequate amounts of Vitamin B12. The average diet supplies 5 to 15mcg per day in a form that is available after normal digestion. Recent studies have shown that at least 800mcg to 1mg of B12 given orally is necessary for proper gastrointestinal absorption.Liquids are better absorbed than pills.

Take adequate amounts of Vitamin B6. The need for B6 increases when the amount of protein increases in the diet. Liquids are better absorbed than pills.

Increased doses of Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin B6 have been shown to reduce elevated Homocysteine levels by up to 72%.

Prescription formulations of these vitamins with levels as high as 2.5mg of Folic acid, 1mg of B12, and 25mg of B6 have been shown to normalize plasma Homocysteine levels in patients at risk for coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis and stoke.

It is reasonable to assume that judicious dietary supplementation with these vitamins may aid in preventing these illnesses.

Dr. Messina became a Board Certified Family Practitioner in 1985. He had a solo practice until 1994. At that time he helped form a group Family Practice in which he was Vice President. He left group practice in 1997 and became Medical Director of a Wellness Center. He was responsible for coordinating the efforts of nutritionists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, exercise physiologists, and Chinese medicine practitioners into patient care plans.

He became Medical Director of an independent clinical research facility in 2000. He has been the Principal Investigator in over 50 clinical trials involving osteoarthritis, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, dry eye, migraine, and diabetes prevention.

He has served as consultant to a nutritional company, and has formulated nutritional supplements.

Visit Dr. Messina's website at =>http://Physicianformulated.com/

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