March 17, 2014

Homocysteine Levels

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

There has been a dramatic rise in cardiovascular disease in this country. Arterial hardening or the loss of elasticity of the artery wall is a leading cause of heart attack deaths, coronary artery disease, and stroke.

Dr. Kilmer McCully originally reported in 1969 that elevated homocysteine levels were associated with advanced atherosclerosis (plaquing) of the arteries and premature death. He based the findings on a study of children born with a genetic disorder called homocystinuria. These patients had genetically induced super high levels of homocysteine, and they often died at very young ages with advanced hardening of the arteries.

Homocysteine is an inflammatory amino acid that is produced as a byproduct of metabolism of the protein methionine. During metabolism of methionine, significant levels of B6, B12, folate, B2 and magnesium must be present in order to be synthesized properly into glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that protects against oxidative stress.

No, you can’t just stop eating red meat to avoid these problems; although some would try to have you believe that nonsense. Methionine is also found in seafood, poultry, dairy products, eggs, sesame seeds and Brazil nuts. Although common sense does say that a pure vegetarian diet would reduce your intake of methionine, simply because you eat less meat where it is primarily found. But, by not eating meat, you also lower the byproduct glutathione, which is very essential to good health. Only when it is incorrectly metabolized does it lead to elevated homocysteine levels.

Research shows that high blood levels of homocysteine can predict who will suffer a heart attack. High levels of homocysteine prevent dilation of blood vessels.


Studies have found that those patients who have elevated homocysteine have four times the risk of death following a heart attack.

The risk factors for other diseases also increase with elevated levels of homocysteine. Diseases such as gout, rheumatism, cancer, leukemia, kidney disease, lupus and even depression go up as levels rise.

Homocysteine can be measured with a simple blood test. If you have a family history of heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cognitive degeneration (dementia); you should know your homocysteine levels. If you have been diagnosed with any of these diseases, get it tested.

There are some very definitive blood tests, that when looked at collectively, give you a pretty good picture of your cardiovascular health. Test homocysteine, C-reactive protein, L-pa (Lipoprotein A), triglycerides and HDL, and the VAP(vertical auto profile) profile as a package to determine your heart health.

Poor diets high in sugar and carbohydrates can deplete vitamin B levels and magnesium. If your gut is not functioning properly, malabsorption of these key nutrients can result in high homocysteine levels. Smoking and drinking elevate levels also.

The best solution to lower homocysteine levels is to quit eating so much junk; and increase your intake of B vitamins, magnesium, krill oil and coconut oil. All these have been shown to reduce homocysteine levels and systemic inflammation levels in general. A study of 5500 men and women over 5 years showed those taking B vitamins had a 25% lower risk of stroke than those taking placebo pills. The reduction percentage was directly dose dependent. Meaning the higher the dose of vitamins given, the less the risk of stroke. 

Tell me again why the government scientists keep pushing studies that seem to show vitamins are not worthwhile, or even harmful?  They are delusional at best.