Most people over age 30 know their blood pressure and cholesterol levels fairly well. But how many even know what homocysteine is, much less their blood level of homocysteine?
Doctors don't give routine tests for homocysteine because - get this - there are currently no pharmaceutical drugs to lower this dangerous compound. And dangerous is an understatement. According to Dr. Ben Kim, homocysteine levels are believed to be one of the best objective indicators of how long you are going to live.
A high blood level of homocysteine is a reliable risk factor for each of the following:
•Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
•Cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
•Thyroid-related health challenges
•Neurological conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
I spoke with a woman who had recently experienced a stroke. She told me her cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure levels were all normal. Apparently, the only indicator for her stroke was her very high level of homocysteine.
In other words, we should know what our homocysteine level is and we should know how to keep it low.
Which is why I delighted to see a study about how diet influences homocysteine (click here to read the abstract from the Journal of Nutrition).
Researchers examined the diets and homocysteine levels of 872 men and women aged 18 to 60 years old. Based on their diet pattern, participants were categorized into diet "groups". Those who consumed the most plant protein were significantly less likely to have high levels of homocysteine, with a higher intake of plant protein having a protective role against homocysteine.
Conversely, the high animal protein diet was positively associated with high homocysteine levels, or "hyperhomocystemia". In fact, participants who consumed the most animal protein were over twice as likely to have high homocysteine levels as those who consumed the least.
According to researchers: "A diet rich in fruits and uncooked vegetables decreased the risk of hyperhomocysteinemia, whereas diets rich in red meat, chicken, and tea with milk were positively associated with hyperhomocysteinemia (high homocysteine levels)."
So find out what your homocysteine level is - and take action as necessary!