The most treatable ”cause” of atherosclerosis is homocysteine which is several times as dangerous as is cholesterol.
Homocysteine is a metabolic product of methionine metabolism and even moderate levels may be seriously damaging. The ”normal” range is approximately 4 to 13 micro mol/liter.
My experience strongly supports the optimal level at 7 or less. There is considerable evidence that hypertension is related to even moderate levels of 8 or higher.
Among the many findings related to homocysteine levels are
- Homocysteine is one of many independent risk factors in stoke and recurrent stroke
- Brain atrophy is found in individuals with higher levels of homocysteine
- Homocysteine levels tend to rise in pregnancy
- Pregnant women with the highest levels of homocysteine are at greater risk of pre-eclampsia
- Pregnant women with higher levels of homocysteine have significantly higher risks of having babies with neural tube defects (myelomeningocele) and other congenital abnormalities
- There is a moderate genetic influence in elevating homocysteine
- Individuals with poor kidney function have increased levels of homocysteine and are at greater risk of stroke and heart attack
- Nitric oxide, one of the critical factors in artery function, helps regulate homocysteine levels. Low nitric acid levels are associated with both increased arterial disease and erectile dysfunction
- L-Dopa treatment in patients with Parkinsonism increases homocysteine levels
- Elderly individuals have higher levels of homocysteine
- Elderly patients with severe psychological disorders have higher levels of homocysteine
- Postmenopausal women and those who have had ovaries removed have higher levels of homocysteine
- 5 cups of black tea daily may increase homocysteine levels
- Non-Hispanic whites have higher levels of homocysteine than Mexicans
- Obesity is associated with increased homocysteine
- Many drugs may increase homocysteine, including commonly used beta-blockers and hydrochlorthiazide.
- Even relative hypothyroidism results in elevated homocysteine
- Higher levels of homocysteine are associated with increased insulin sensitivity – hypoglycemia and diabetes.
- Homocysteine levels above 7 are increasingly associated with hypertension, especially systolic hypertension.
- Smoking, coffee and alcohol all may increase homocysteine
- Elevated homocysteine is associated with increased risk of hip fracture
THE GOOD NEWS
Homocysteine levels are easily controlled and lowered by increased amounts of folic acid, B 12, B 6 and possibly Vitamin C. In some individuals, larger dosages than the usual 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid may be critical. I take 100 mg daily, as Ray Oster demonstrated over 30 years ago that up to 80 mg is essential in some people!
Every person should have their homocysteine level checked not later than age 40 and it should be repeated at least every 10 years, unless you have an initially high level. Then you should be on supplements of B 12, folic acid, B 6 and C forever.
C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. He recommends autogenic focus (the basis of the Biogenics System) as part of your commitment to self-health and relieving depression. Register to download your FREE autogenic focus MP3 now.