Homocysteine (Hcy) is a protein in your blood, which at normal levels, is used by the body to help build and maintain body tissue. Too much homocysteine, however, can result in a lot of BAD THINGS!
The danger of this protein was discovered in the 1960’s when an 8-year-old boy died of a stroke. Kilmer McCully, M.D., Harvard Medical School, found that the child had suffered from severe arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries and plaque blockages, that would normally only be seen the very elderly. Dr. McCully learned that this boy had a rare genetic defect that severely raised his homocysteine level. He discovered that cholesterol was NOT the main culprit in blocking arteries in cardiovascular disease. The first step was the physical damage to the artery wall by homocysteine, AND THEN cholesterol would accumulate on that damaged site. Studies have shown that half of the individuals that die from a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels! Dr. McCully’s discovery has continued to be validated by nearly 100 clinical studies and cited by The American Heart Association. These studies have connected high homocysteine levels with heart disease and other significant diseases:
Elevated homocysteine (Hcy):
- Increases your risk of dying from a heart attack by 50%
- Each 3 unit increase in homocysteine equals another 35% increase in heart attack risk
- Increases your risk of stroke by 80% (when Hcy is greater than 14.24 umol/L)
- Doubles your risk for Alzheimer’s disease when Hcy is greater than 14 umol/L)
- Increases your risk of dying from cancer by 26%
- Increases the risk of birth defects
- Has been linked to deep vein thrombosis, Parkinson’s disease and polycystic ovary syndrome
Checking your levels of homocysteine is easily done by itself or along with your regular blood test. The latest research indicates a desired level to be 5-6 umol/L or less.
What can you do if it is high? (This is the best part!)
NON-PRESCRIPTION vitamins and substances that come from Mother Nature can lower high levels of homocysteine! The wisdom of Nature is also the wisdom of the body! Vitamins B-6, B-12, folic acid and trimethylglycine (TMG) are effective in lowering most cases of high homocysteine and costs less than 23 cents a day! However, one third of the population has difficulty in converting B-6 and folic acid to the activated forms in the body. These individuals would need to take a special version of these vitamins.
The bottom line: High levels of homocysteine have been proven to be a significant risk factor for many fatal conditions. Testing for it is easy. Treating it is inexpensive and safe.