By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
February 27, 2019
In the February 22, 2019 issue of Advanced Natural Wellness I mentioned four heart risk factors that patients are most curious about. These included cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and homocysteine levels.
Since then I’ve received several emails, all asking the same question:
“What the heck is homocysteine?”
If you’re not familiar with this amino acid, I’m here to tell you…
Homocysteine is one of the greatest discoveries (1932) of all time when it comes to assessing your cardiovascular risk. But it wasn’t until 1968 when Dr.Kilmer McCully believed he found a link between arteriosclerosis and elevated homocysteinuria.
It’s a more accurate predictor cardiovascular death than blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking status and diabetes combined. It may even have a leg up on some of the other more recently discovered biomarkers, such as C-reactive protein and interleukin 6.
Just to be clear, low levels of this amino acid are not a problem. It’s something your body naturally produces and, under normal circumstances, isn’t a threat.
But when levels get too high, all bets are off.
Elevated levels of homocysteine trigger an inflammatory response in the arteries. In turn, this damages, stiffens and narrows your arterial walls. It also contributes to arterial calcification, plaque build-up and blood clots.
All of these conditions can restrict (or even stop!) the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart, brain and other organs. And you know as well as I do what happens next; a heart attack or stroke.
These are events nobody wants to experience.
But they aren’t the only hazards associated with excessive levels of homocysteine.
This rogue amino acid can also rob you of your mental faculties. It is tightly linked to a decline in cognitive function, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In other words, homocysteine isn’t just a threat to your longevity. It’s also a menace to your mental well-being!
So it’s a good thing that I have some great news for you.
Homocysteine Busting Cocktail Beats Dementia & Improves Cardiovascular Health
I don’t know a functional physician out there who hasn’t experienced a few “miracles” in his or her career.
One of these marvels comes when certain dementia patients are given B12 injections.
Many times this vitamin literally reverses the loss of mental capacity and allows them to return to their normal, quick-witted selves.
And I’ll tell you what.
The first time I experienced such a reversal in a patient I was absolutely bowled over! It was one of the most amazing, gratifying and humbling experiences in my life.
Since that first event, I’ve learned a lot.
It turns out that a specific B-vitamin regimen can work wonders to lower homocysteine levels. And they can produce almost miraculous results in patients with homocysteine-related cognitive dysfunction or dementia.
At the same time you have to remember that high homocysteine levels could potentially double your chance of early death from a cardiovascular event.
This makes it doubly urgent to get your homocysteine under control.
So don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for a homocysteine blood test. A measurement over 10 micromoles/liter (µmol/L) is considered high. I like to see the number in single digits.
If your homocysteine levels are elevated I recommend a daily vitamin B cocktail of:
- 500 mcg. B12
- 20 mg. B6
- 800 mcg. activated folate
I also suggest eating more foods that contain these all-important nutrients.
- B12 can be found in all lean and low-fat animal products like fish and low-fat dairy products.
- B6 can be found in meats, nuts, and vegetables like bell peppers, spinach, baked potatoes (skin included), green peas, yams, broccoli, asparagus and turnip greens.
- Lentils, beans, broccoli, asparagus, orange juice, dark leafy greens and tofu are all good sources of folate.
de Ruijter W, et al. Use of Framingham risk score and new biomarkers to predict cardiovascular mortality in older people: population based observational cohort study. BMJ. 2009 Jan 8;338:a3083.
Ganguly P, et al. Role of homocysteine in the development of cardiovascular disease. Nutr J. 2015; 14: 6.
Smith AD, et al. Homocysteine and Dementia: An International Consensus Statement. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018; 62(2): 561–570.
Refson H, et al. Preventing Alzheimer’s disease-related gray matter atrophy by B-vitamin treatment. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jun 4;110(23):9523-8.
Rajarethinam P, et al. Vitamin B12Deficiency and Depression in the Elderly: Review and Case Report. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2009; 11(5): 269–270.
Dangour AD, et al. Plasma homocysteine, but not folate or vitamin B-12, predicts mortality in older people in the United Kingdom. J Nutr. 2008 Jun;138(6):1121-8.