As you may know, researchers have linked the amino acid homocysteine to heart attack risk. The higher your levels of homocysteine, the greater your risk of having a heart attack. You may also know that one of the most effective ways to lower your homocysteine is with B vitamins. But researchers recently found something you can take with those B vitamins that makes them even more effective.
In this study, researchers reviewed the data from 11 trials, which included more than 720 participants. They found that taking omega-3 fatty acids resulted in significantly lower levels of homocysteine in the blood. And it didn’t matter if the source of the fatty acids was from diet or from supplements.
The researchers found evidence that answers why omega-3 fats lower homocysteine. They deactivate the enzyme that’s necessary for the amino acid to form.
I suspect that scientists will one day find that homocysteine isn’t the boogeyman everyone says it is, much like we’ve seen with cholesterol. No research has found that homocysteine itself causes heart attacks. All we know is that high levels tend to be present when heart attacks occur.
However, there is much debate in the scientific community about homocysteine. That’s because many of the best studies on the amino acid don’t show an impressive association. And that’s not all. Many studies from well-respected groups didn’t find any relation between homocysteine levels and either heart attacks or strokes.
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Your body produces homocysteine naturally. So we can’t say that it’s a dangerous amino acid. In fact, it’s difficult to find any studies looking at what homocysteine actually does. I suspect we’ll see those studies before long. But because the body produces it, I take that to mean the body needs it. And high homocysteine levels are probably the body’s response to some abnormal condition. In other words, I think homocysteine may be the body’s way of protecting against the problems that cause heart attacks.
When you take B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, they work to correct the abnormal condition that leads up to the heart attack. So your body doesn’t have to produce as much homocysteine. This is the best way to treat the higher levels — fix the underlying problem.
So take plenty of high-quality fish oils. The manufacturer should guarantee the product is completely free from any contamination or rancidity. The last thing you want to put in your body is rancid fish oil or heavy metals, as both are toxic.
You can order a high-quality fish oil from Advanced Bionutritionals.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
Nutrition, 2011 April 16. [Epub ahead of print].