What Is Homocysteine ?

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Published on May 10, 2013 by

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02:26 One of those is really the subject that we want to
02:29 focus is on homocysteine…
02:30 What is homocysteine?
02:32 I mean… a lot of people say, you know, “What?”
02:35 Homocysteine is what we call an amino acid.
02:38 It’s a protein building-block…

02:40 So if you look at a protein, it’s kind of a
02:42 string of molecules and it’s got these building blocks,
02:45 these amino acids and one of those amino acids
02:48 is homocysteine.
02:50 Now homocysteine isn’t normally
02:52 something that we just conjure up.
02:55 It’s made actually from another amino acid
02:58 that we call eat called “methionine”
03:00 Okay… methionine.
03:01 So we eat this and then it’s built into homocysteine.
03:06 Well why is homocysteine so important?
03:08 Well, you know, a lot of people
03:09 didn’t think much about homocysteine.
03:11 There is a rare genetic problem where people get these
03:14 really sky-high levels of homocysteine,
03:16 and they had accelerated risk of heart disease.
03:20 This has been known for years,
03:21 and when a physician-researcher by the name of “Kilmer McCully”
03:26 suggested that homocysteine in more moderate elevation
03:30 could be a heart disease risk factor,
03:32 he basically was kind of laughed out of the medical discussions;
03:37 this was some years ago.
03:38 But now Don, there’s a whole wealth of medical research…
03:41 It’s coming from Scandinavia.
03:43 It’s coming from the United States.
03:44 It’s coming from Canada.
03:45 It’s coming from all over the world.
03:47 And it’s saying that as our homocysteine level rises,
03:50 our risk of heart attack, stroke and blockage in blood vessels
03:54 in general, like blockage in blood vessels to the legs
03:56 all dramatically increases.
03:58 So maybe we should have, in our car,
04:00 a gas gauge, a water gauge, and a homocysteine level gauge!
04:04 Well, I mean, that would be taking it to the extreme…
04:06 But actually your point is well-taken…
04:08 Because homocysteine, for most people,
04:10 is not even on the radar screen…
04:12 And what we’re seeing, in the medical community,
04:15 is this IS emerging as a very
04:17 important risk factor for heart disease.
04:19 So how does it work? What does it do?
04:21 When I have homocysteine in my blood,
04:23 I assume it’s in the blood… It is…
04:24 and I have it swirling around in there,
04:26 what does it do that causes heart disease?
04:29 Well it seems to do a number of things.
04:31 The most CRITICAL thing that we pretty much nailed down
04:34 from what we call the “epidemiology”
04:36 that’s the population studies…
04:38 is that as this level goes up, it increases heart disease risk.

04:42 Now the million dollar question is the one you’re asking… and
04:44 WHY? Why would rising levels of
04:47 homocysteine increase the risk of blockage in the arteries?
04:51 And what it seems to be is that homocysteine
04:53 does a NUMBER of NASTY things!
04:55 I mean, it damages the blood vessel lining.
04:57 How exactly does it do that?
04:59 Well it seems to have to do with “free radicals”
05:02 These are very reactive compounds
05:04 that then can DAMAGE other tissues…
05:06 And the blood vessel lining seems to be one of the tissues
05:09 that is susceptible to this free radical damage
05:12 caused by homocysteine.
05:14 Free radical… that just sounds like something I want to BE
05:16 You know like… just BOOM, BANG, BANG!
05:18 But that’s not GOOD… it’s just like a missile
05:21 flying around and it damages everything it hits.
05:25 That’s right… it’s like a loose cannon, if you will,
05:26 and what’s happening… these free radicals
05:28 they just bang into tissues damaging them…
05:31 And that seems to be one of the ways
05:32 that homocysteine does its dirty work.
05:34 Okay, so we have to negate homocysteine.
05:37 We have to do SOMETHING with it.
05:39 What should we do to lower our risk from these problems?
05:42 What can we do to LOWER the homocysteine level?
05:44 Well one of the things we know clearly, Don, is that B vitamins
05:47 3 particular B vitamins help to lower homocysteine levels.
05:51 They’re B6, also known as pyridoxine;
05:54 folic acid, and then B12
05:57 Those 3 definitely lower homocysteine levels.
06:00 B6, folic acid and B12
06:03 What other things could lower it?
06:05 Well actually, this is the whole subject
06:06 of a lot of discussion in research right now.
06:08 In March of 2000, at the Lifestyle Center of America,
06:12 we actually published research
06:14 in the “Journal of Preventive Medicine”
06:15 on patients going through our program…
06:18 And what we found is without giving them any folic acid,
06:21 without giving them any B6, without giving them ANY B12,
06:25 these people dramatically lowered their
06:27 homocysteine levels about 13% in just one week! Wow!

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