My regular readers know about a dangerous and toxic compound that builds up in your blood-homocysteine. It’s a modified amino acid every cell in your body makes as a byproduct of the natural process of converting fuel into energy.
It also happens to be a highly reactive chemical. This means that at high levels, it has the same negative effects as free radicals. It binds to the proteins in healthy cells and causes serious damage.
Not only that—it has the destructive capacity to prevent your body from making compounds vital to proper functioning across a range of biological systems. These include:
• Collagen and elastin–Required for healthy skin and bones; also the main components of the delicate tissue lining your arteries.
• Albumin–Regulates blood volume by maintaining proper internal pressure of each red blood cell’s “compartment.” It also serves as a carrier for low water-soluble molecules, including certain hormones, bile salts, bilirubin (a building block of your red blood cells), healthy fatty acids, calcium, and iron.
• Hemoglobin–Another basic building block of your red blood cells, it’s critical for delivering oxygen throughout your body.
Every doctor learns about homocysteine over the course their medical training. So it’s a mystery why most don’t give it a second thought, since its dangers have been documented repeatedly in clinical studies. In fact, the most up-to-date research confirms what I’ve been saying for decades: it’s the most powerful risk factor for heart disease.
A “meta-analysis” published in the prestigious journal BMJ looked at 72 separate studies involving thousands of people with heart disease. It demonstrated conclusively that elevated homocysteine levels can lead to heart attack, clogged arteries, “pulmonary embolism”—blockage of the arteries in your lungs by a blood clot or air bubble—and “deep vein” blood clotting.
Another key study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine found a direct link between homocysteine, age-related dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Researchers looked at the mental health status of 1,092 patients with a mean age of 76. None of them exhibited signs of dementia at the start of the study.
After eight years, 111 had developed age-related dementia, and 83 were diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s. The authors found that those with elevated homocysteine levels were nearly twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
Fortunately, lowering homocysteine levels is relatively easy. You can do it with a combination of readily available, safe, and inexpensive supplements.
Here’s what I recommend (amounts are daily):
• B6–50 mg
• B12–500 mcg
• B9 (as folic acid)–800 mcg
• Trimethylglycine (TMG)–1,000 mg
These are proven homocysteine fighters. One recent study found that a simple treatment with B6, B9, and B12 lowered homocysteine levels and halted clogging of arteries in over 200 patients who’d already undergone surgery for atherosclerosis.
By the same token, there’s plenty of evidence that you need these critical nutrients to keep your mind sharp as you age. One study looked at 625 people over 65 and discovered that those with low levels of these critical nutrients suffered a dramatic increase in Alzheimer’s disease and age-related dementia.
So be sure to get your doctor to measure your homocysteine levels. An ideal result is less than 8 mmol/l.
If it’s above that, you can find the natural homocysteine fighters I listed at your local health food store or on line.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
P.S. I’ve developed my own brand of homocysteine support supplement that’s got everything you need to protect yourself—all in a simple capsule. I wanted to offer it to you as a loyal reader. Click HERE for your risk-free trial.
1 Wald et al. “Homocysteine and cardiovascular disease: evidence on causality from a meta-analysis.” BMJ. 2002. 325(7374):1202.
2 Seshadri et al. “Plasma Homocysteine as a Risk Factor for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.” New England Journal of Medicine. 2002. 346(7):476-48.
3 Schnyder et al. “Decreased Rate of Coronary Restenosis after Lowering of Plasma Homocysteine Levels.” New England Journal of Medicine. 2001. 345(22):1593-1600.
4 Kim et al. “Changes in folate, vitamin B12, and homocysteine associated with incident dementia.” Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. Published on line February 2008. doi:10.1136/jnnp.2007.131482.