Homocysteine, the big killer no ones heard about.

Posted by Mark Hamilton on

Is Homocysteine the biggest cardiovascular Disease killer?


Watch your Homocysteine levels?

To gain an insight on dietary B vitamin provision and homocysteine status, a blood assessment of those adhering to an omnivore, vegetarian and vegan diet was conducted. Each dietary pattern was associated with a satisfying vitamin B1 status; however, vegans had a significantly lower blood B12 status than omnivores and vegetarians, yet they presented with the greatest average blood folate levels. Deficiencies were highlighted for folate in 18% of omnivores and 10% each in vegans and vegetarians, B2 deficiency in 10% of omnivores and vegetarians and 30% of vegans. Homocysteine was elevated in 66% of the vegans and 45-50% of the omnivores and vegetarians.

Elevated homocysteine is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular events via a pro-inflammatory and tissue damaging mechanisms. A study that investigated the effect of supplemental B vitamins on the progression of vascular disease reported a reduction in the mean homocysteine level in response to 2.5 mg folic acid, 50 mg B6 and 1 mg B12 as compared to placebo.

To assess for changes in cardiovascular risk, an Random Controlled Test of 390 participants aged 60-74 years were randomly allocated to receive 50 mg vitamin C or vitamin C, 400 mcg folic acid, 2 mg B6, and 10 mcg B12 for 12 months.

Folate and B12 status increased by 253% and 80% respectively after 6 months and maintained to 12 months of supplementation, they then returned to baseline after 6 months without supplementation. There was a significant reduction of cardiovascular risk at 12 months in the combined C and B vitamin group, which too disappeared once supplementation ceased. Subsequently, a continued supply of these nutrients is required to maintain the risk reduction benefits.

Homocysteine metabolism is considered an indicator for the risk of stroke. Mandatory folic acid fortification is considered to reduce the risk of stroke by 15% and this can be increased to 25% by the addition of 50 mcg of vitamin B12 daily.

Additionally, a meta-analysis of 30 eligible RCTs involving 82,334 participants reported a risk reduction of 10% for stroke and 4% for overall Cardiovascular Disease risk in response to folic acid supplementation. While 12 weeks of folic acid and vitamin B6 supplementation improved serum triglycerides, total cholesterol and HDL-C besides induced changes in serum homocysteine, IL-1β and IL-10 which would be interpreted as the alleviation of homocysteine and inflammation.

High homocysteine is a potential risk for cardiovascular diseases. Its definitely worth making sure your getting a complete range of B Vitamins on a daily basis.

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