What is Homocysteine
In a nutshell, Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood. When homocysteine is increased or elevated in the blood, it is linked to significant inflammation and neurodegeneration. Fortunately for us its easy to recitify.
A Short History On Homocysteine
Homocysteine was discovered in 1932 by Butz and du Vigneaud, but brought to the fore by a Harvard medical researcher Dr Kilmer McCully. Unfortunately Dr McCully “the father of homocysteine” was ahead of his time and was deemed a medical heretic, denounced by fellow scientists, his research grants withdrawn for his stance that an increase in the amino acid homocysteine, resulted in heart attacks and strokes. This all occurred at the time when the cholesterol-heart-attack theory (still popular) was gaining tremendous momentum and Mc Cully’s hypothesis clearly challenged its future.
McCully went on to pioneer much on homocysteine, and write many papers and books on the topic. Sadly to this day the knowledge of homocysteine is downplayed and under utilized, because it cannot be treated by a drug based approach, but by diet and nutrition. In short there is no money to be made by pharmaceutical companies selling vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid which are the basics required to normalize high homcysteine levels.
Homocysteine Theory Revived
It was not until the mid 90’s, thanks mainly to the work of Dr Meir Stampfer, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, that researchers accepted as fact that homocysteine was indeed an independent risk factor.
According to Dr Sherry Rogers, “Homocysteine compromises the blood vessels ability to heal their inner lining, by destroying the vessels ability to make nitric oxide and anti oxidants. These two mechanism are your bodies way to dilate relax and heal the inner lining.”
This then leads to high blood pressure, angina’s, cardiomyopathies, arrhythmias, and ultimately heart failure”, all of which as you know are a bad thing.
Assuming the arteries are inflamed, this means that very same inflation is being circulated and experienced in the brain. Also a bad thing! (think fatigue, memory loss and other subtle symptoms.) This alone should be a big red flag to the aviation industry and should be be checked, but is not.
The body uses cholesterol to plug up the holes that the inflammatory mediators and everyday unavoidable toxins produce (via free radicals).
More on what Homocysteine actually is?
In short Homocysteine is inflammation in the arteries leading to accelerated aging, arteriosclerosis, cancer, eye degeneration Alzheimer’s, diabetes complications, periodontitis, and can create high blood pressure which in the Western World affects one in three adults.
The body’s methylation process is vital for formation of essential cell components such as proteins, nucleic acids found in DNA and RNA, and phospholipids that form nerve cell membranes. By transferring methyl groups (three hydrogen atoms bonded to a carbon atom, known as CH3) from one molecule to another, methylation turns on genes, activates enzymes, drives detoxification reactions, influences hormone secretion, and helps maintain normal metabolism of homocysteine, a potentially harmful amino acid metabolite.
Unfortunately, poor nutrition, oxidative stress, infections, metabolic defects, and various other factors can impair methylation processes throughout the body.
It is now generally accepted that high levels of homocysteine are associated with up to 80% increased risk of a heart attack or stroke (even if your cholesterol is OK), double the risk of Alzheimer’s, increased risk for diabetes, obesity, depression, schizophrenia, pregnancy problems – in fact there are over 100 diseases associated with high homocystein levels.
Mainstream medicine’s solution to the above SYMPTOMS is to prescribe statin drugs. This drug based approach only serves to poison the arterial system more.
On top of that they seriously deplete numerous nutrients like CoQ10, selenium, vitamin E, and other nutrients thus adding fuel the fire and again contributing to heart related issues, atrial fibrillation, chronic fatigue, tooth loss and other symptoms that don’t seem related to the heart or to these medications.
Elevated homocysteine also uses up your natural methylation or detoxification nutrients, making you more vulnerable to the effects of everyday unavoidable toxins, ultimately setting you up for just about every disease.
Furthermore an elevated homocysteine drives metastases. We all have cancer cells in us all the time just waiting for us to lower our guard. An elevated homocysteine can set you up for earlier metastases.
Not meaning to alarm you or be a bearer of bad news, but knowing what your homocysteine level is, is really important particularly if you (No matter if you are male or female) are forty years of age and over OR flying more than 75 hours in an aeroplane a month.
On a more upbeat note your homocystein score is probably the best objective measure of whether you are achieving optimum nutrition and a red flag to problem coming down the road.
Thankfully its easy to measure at just about any lab. You don’t need a prescription.
Dr Patrick Holford a leading UK nutritional expert has an excellent means of getting a heads up on whether you are a contender for high homocystein.
Holford goes on to say “If you have ﬁve or more of these symptoms, chances are good your homocysteine is moderate to very high (9 to 15, if not higher.”
The symptoms he lists are:
Tired or fatigued a lot of the time? Is your stamina, or ability to keep going, noticeably decreasing? Do you having a hard time keeping your weight stable? Do you often experience physical pain, be it arthritis, muscle aches or migraines? Do you get frequent colds? Is your eyesight deteriorating? Is your mental clarity or concentration decreasing? Are you experiencing more sleeping problems? Is your memory on the decline? Do you experience depressing lines of thought? Do you average two or more alcoholic beverages daily? Do you drink more than three cups of coffee daily? Do you smoke cigarettes? Are you a strict vegetarian (Vegan)? Do you consume red meat at least once a day?”
What Causes Homocystein.
Its one thing treating Homocysteine, but finding the cause is a little more cryptic. There are various factors that are thought to drive homocysteine.
It is strongly suspected that consuming a non natural diet high in processed foods and toxins, and lacking in vital nutrients (B6, B12, Folic Acid etc) are at the root of the issue. High levels of stress will only throw fuel on the already smoldering fire. Disrupted sleep, poor exercise routine, exposure to high electromagnetic environments (Wifi/Mobile-phones) and other highly toxic environments.
Some industries are more toxic than others. The airlines industry and in particular Pilots and Cabin Crew exposed to fatiguing workload levels, excessive flight and duty periods, frequent time zone changes, disrupted sleep cycles, poor nutrition, exposure to toxic chemicals (jet fuel fumes, frequent insecticide inhalation to name but a few), would be prime contenders for elevated homocystein levels.
An elevated homocysteine level if left unaddressed is a harboring of worse to come.
Fortunately once discovered and then acted upon is easily rectified from nutritional point of view. No drugs needed or available to treat it…just good nutrition.
Detection and Treatment:
But prior to being rectified it needs to be detected. For a number of decades there is an inexpensive prognostic test available in just about every lab but sadly not ordered enough by physician even though it should be part of the annual checkup for everyone because of its prognostic ability.
To nutritionally support optimal methylation capacity, a solution needs to be found that supplies folate acid, vitamin B12, B6, B2, and betaine in amounts and forms that are efficiently utilized and well-tolerated by the body.
These four essential B-vitamins together with betaine (also known as trimethylglycine or TMG) synergistically support the methylation processes and normalise homocysteine metabolism. TMG is an excellent supplement as it donates a methyl group to the homocysteine amino acid, thus detoxifying it.
Treatment is by means of life style modification and improved nutrient intake. Yet another example of the extreme control that pharmaceutically focused medicine has over guidelines coupled with disregard for your health.
Since homocysteine goes up with age, in the pursuit of optimal health whilst aiming to minimize the risk of over 100 disease including Cardio Vascular disease a simple rule of thumb would be to keep your homocystein score below your age, divided by ten. An example if you are 60 years of age, keep your level below 6.
EMF (Electromagnetic Frequencies/Radiation): The Thousand pound Gorilla in the room.
We all know that EMF/EMR has been alluded to in the medical literature as being “toxic.” Experts in the field of studying the toxic effects of EMF suggest that in years to come the mobile phone will be regarded in the same negative vain as we regard the effects of smoking on our health.
Homocysteine is listed as a biomarker test on page 7 of the ‘Guideline of the Austrian Medical Association for the diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses.’
The above Austrian guide is the first document to identify homocysteine as a bio-marker for radio wave sickness. Hence, EMF impairs methylation.
Again this would be relevant in the aviation environment where aviation workers are exposed to significant amounts of not only space radiation and from aircraft instrumentation, but more recently the use of satellite WIFI connectivity allowing hundreds off mobile phone to be used within the confined area of a large modern passenger aircraft.
Eight easy steps that will help to lower your homocysteine level.
1. Eat less fatty meat, more ﬁsh and vegetable protein. Eat no more than four servings of lean meat a week; ﬁsh (not fried) at least three times a week, plus beans, such as kidney beans, chickpea hummus or baked beans, at least ﬁve times a week.
2. Eat your greens. Have at least ﬁve servings of fruit or vegetables a day. This means eating two pieces of fruit every single day, and three servings of vegetables. Vary your selections from day to day. Make sure half of what’s on your plate for each main meal is vegetables.
3. Have a clove of garlic a day. Either eat a clove of garlic a day, or take a garlic supplement every day. If possible try and get your hands on aged Iranian Garlic, world renown for being up to 30 years of age with great medicinal qualities.
4. Clean up your organs of elimination, which would allow for the blood stream (river of life) to more effectively do its job of healing and carrying nutrients. There are various blood cleaning herbal formulas available. The Home Detox Kit is a perfect entry point to achieve this sizeable point.
5. Limit your intake of alcohol to two pints of beer or four glasses of wine a week max. Reduce your intake of tea and coffe. Replace with herbal teas or blood puryfying teas.
6. Reduce your stress If you are under a lot of stress, or ﬁnd yourself reacting stressful much of the time, make a decision to reduce your stress load by changing both the circumstances that are giving you stress and your attitude.
Simple solutions abound such as yoga, meditation and/or exercise, or see a counselor if you have personal issues to resolve. These steps can make all the difference.
7. Stop smoking. The sooner you stop the longer you’ll live.
8. Get a Cardio/ION test done to see which nutrients, minerals and vitamins you are deficient in. The Cardio ION test is the finest biochemical map available to determine your unique mineral and vitamin deficient status. This will equip you with an accurate road-map of what you need to supplement on a daily basis.
The above diet, lifestyle and supplement suggestions have the potential to halve your homocysteine score in weeks. If it’s high, then you may need to supplement additional nutrients with expert guidance. The goal is to bring your score to below six.
The take home lesson is simple – lower your homocysteine level or face risk of pre-mature death.
Summary: Keeping your homocysteine levels low
· Test your homocysteine level.
· Adopt as many of the above 8 steps.
· If it’s above six, supplement the appropriate levels of homocysteine lowering nutrients.
· Re-test yourself every three months until your homocysteine is below 6.