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  Homocysteine and Cardiovascular Health
by Jack A. Medina, M.A.

Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.

June 14, 2006

 
  Homocysteine (pronounced: ho-mo-sist-een) is an amino acid (a building block of protein) that is produced in the human body.  
 
Jack Medina
What Causes High Levels?

Normally homocysteine is converted to other non- damaging amino acids. Three B vitamins make this conversion possible: folate, B6, and B12, but if for some reason there is a genetic defect or vitamin deficiency causing this conversion to slow down, homocysteine levels increase and promote cholesterol’s damaging effects on the lining of the arterial wall.

 
 
Heart
How Is a High Level Harmful?

Too much homocysteine causes blood platelets to clump, thus leading to blood clots and deterioration of smooth muscle cells that line the arterial wall. Chronic homocysteine exposure can scar and thicken arteries. This provides a fertile mechanism for your LDL (bad cholesterol) to initiate damage and encourage plaque formation. Those with elevated homocysteine levels have a 3 to 4.5 times greater risk of death from heart disease compared to those with normal homocysteine levels.

 
 
A True Story!

In 1969, an 8 year old boy died of a stroke. The autopsy revealed that his arteries contained excess levels of the amino acid homocysteine. His rare genetic disorder, homocystinuria, causes premature hardening of the arteries and early death from stroke or heart attack.

Since this time an impressive number of research studies have shown a strong positive correlation between plasma homocysteine levels, heart attack and mortality risks. Both smoking and high blood pressure (hypertension) magnify the negative effects of homocysteine. In addition, homocysteine levels are also associated with Alzheimer’s disease and adverse outcomes and complications of pregnancy.

 
 
What Is the Ideal Level for Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is measured using a simple blood test. It can be measured at any time of day. You don't have to prepare in any special way for the blood test.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, a healthy homocysteine level is less than 12 Ámol per L. A level greater than 12 Ámol per L is considered high. If your homocysteine level is greater than 12 Ámol per L and you have blockages in any blood vessel, you need to lower your homocysteine. If you have no other major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and you do not have atherosclerosis, it may be okay for you to have a modestly high homocysteine level (12 to 15 Ámol per L).

 
 
How Can I Lower Homocysteine Levels?

Sufficient data supports the practice of consuming adequate B-vitamins, particularly B6, B12, and folic acid. Even small amounts of folic acid (plentiful in enriched whole-grain cereals, dark leafy vegetables, beans and peas, and orange juice) lower homocysteine levels.

This is exactly why we recommend you seriously consider adding Juice Plus+« to your nutrition program, helping you bridge the gap between your current nutrition level and optimal nutrition. Juice Plus+«, the “most scientifically documented whole food based nutritional concentrate in history,” has been scientifically proven to lower homocysteine levels.

In order to prevent and attack disease you must change weak-unhealthy cells to healthy ones – inside out. Why not increase your nutritional intensity by adding Juice Plus+« to your diet?

Link to Studies on Juice Plus+« and Homocysteine

 

 
  See you next month for another edition of our Newsletter!

Click here for a link to all past Newsletters

 

Best Wishes for Fitness and Health,

 


Jack A. Medina, M.A.

Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.

Designs for Fitness & Wellness

phone: 541-474-2454 or 1-866-204-8786 Toll Free Order Line
 
 


Author/speaker and an expert in Sports Performance Enhancement”. Jack Medina is available for speaking engagements, consultation and personal training of athletes in various sports, professional and amateur. Jack has written a new book, “The Winning Edge: Fueling & Training The Body For Peak Performance” with Dr. Roy Vartabedian, an internationally known New York Times Best Selling Author of the “Nutripoints” program for optimal nutrition. Both books are available online at www.jackmedina.com. Jack also has a monthly ezine (newsletter) available free which can be subscribed to on his website. All subscriber’s addresses will be confidential and not sold or given to any other organization or group.

This article contains copyrighted material. Copies of this article may be reprinted without permission of the author only when this bi-line is included with each copy. Jack can be reached at jack@jackmedina.com