If you’re a regular reader, you’ve heard me talk about homocysteine.
It’s a critical biomarker that reveals your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Yet, most doctors NEVER test for it.
I first exposed the dangers of high homocysteine in my 2004 book The Doctor’s Heart Cure.
Homocysteine is an amino acid created when your body metaboLizes proteins. It’s a natural part of a process called methylation. But instead of being “recycled” within your cells, there are times when poor nutrition, advanced age, and some prescription medications can make it spike and become inflammatory.
And that’s really bad news.
In one study, high homocysteine was three times more likely to cause a heart attack.1
The organ that really takes a beating from elevated homocysteine is your braIn, including:
- A 10-fold increase in dementia risk, according to a study in the Annals of Neuroscience.2
- Twice the likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s.3
- Accelerated brain atrophy.4
- A sharply higher incidence of stroke.
Now a new study confirms the need for early detection to prevent homocysteine from ravaging your health.
The Alarm Bells Rang, But No One Answered
Some physicians questioned why I would advocate testing when there was no available drug therapy. A recently puBlished study spotlights the danger.
Researchers measured homocysteine levels in 1,257 older participants and followed them for five years. By then, 155 of them had died.
Researchers found that for each 5 ㎛ol/L increase in a patient’s homocysteine – a minuscule amount less than a thousandth of a gram per liter – they detected an all-cause mortality increase of 5%.5 And among patients with hEart disease, mortality jumped 6-fold.6
Lower Your Homocysteine in 3 Easy Steps
You can oRder a test online for less than $50, plus a small fee for a blood draw.
Your goal is a homocysteine level of 7 or less. You don’t want it to creep above 8.
Here are three easy ways to reduce homocysteine:
1. Eat more foods with B vitamins
HomocysTeine hates B vitamins, and readily breaks down in their presence – especially B2 (riboflavin), B6, B12, and B9 (folate, or folic acid in supplement form).
Good food-based sources include organic spinach, avocados, black beans, lentils, and chickpeas. For B12, dairy products, wild-caught salmon, and grass-fed beef – especially organ meats like the liver – are all great sources.
2. Get some help outside your diet
Dietary sources may not push your homocysteine below 7. As you age, your body’s ability to absorb B vitamins diminishes. I recommend you supplement dailY with 25 mg of B2, 25 mg of B6, 500 mcg of B12, and 800 mcg of B9.
3. Boost your intake of trimethylglycine (TMG)
TMG is a naturally occurring amino acid found in plants. The best sources are beets, spinach, and wheat germ. Boosting TMG sharply reduces the homocysteine spikes that occur after you eat, and that’s critical to protecting your health.
You can also use a homocysteine formula. Make sure it contains the nutrients and doses mentioned above. I strongly encourage you to monitor your homocysteine. It’s an easy way to prevent a tragedy.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
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Sources and References
1. Stampfer, M. J., Malinow, M. R., Willett, W. C., Newcomer, L. M., Upson, B., Ullmann, D., … Hennekens, C. H. (1992). A prospective study of plasma homocysteine and risk of myocardial infarction in US physicians. JAMA, 268(7), 877–881. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1640615/
2. High Homocysteine Levels May Increase Risk Of Heart Attack, Stroke, & Alzheimer’s Disease. (2021, February 12). Retrieved March 17, 2021, from WorldHealth website: https://www.worldhealth.net/news/high-homocysteine-levels-may-increase-risk-heart-attack-stroke-alzheimers-disease/
3. Seshadri, S., Beiser, A., Selhub, J., Jacques, P. F., Rosenberg, I. H., D’Agostino, R. B., … Wolf, P. A. (2002). Plasma Homocysteine as a Risk Factor for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 346(7), 476–483. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmoa011613
4. Smith, A. D., Smith, S. M., de Jager, C. A., Whitbread, P., Johnston, C., Agacinski, G., … Refsum, H. (2010). Homocysteine-Lowering by B Vitamins Slows the Rate of Accelerated Brain Atrophy in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS ONE, 5(9), e12244. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0012244
5. Zhang, Z., Gu, X., Fang, X., Tang, Z., Guan, S., Liu, H., … Zhao, Y. (2020, May 22). Homocysteine and the Risk of Cardiovascular Events and All-Cause Death in Elderly Population: A Community-Based Prospective Cohort Study. Retrieved March 17, 2021, from Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management website: https://www.dovepress.com/homocysteine-and-the-risk-of-cardiovascular-events-and-all-cause-death-peer-reviewed-article-TCRM
6. Nygård, O., Nordrehaug, J. E., Refsum, H., Ueland, P. M., Farstad, M., & Vollset, S. E. (1997). Plasma homocysteine levels and mortality in patients with coronary artery disease. The New England Journal of Medicine, 337(4), 230–236. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM199707243370403