A study from the University of California at Davis shows that people with high blood levels of homocysteine are at high risk for loss of mental function and even Alzheimer's disease.

Your body requires 20 protein building blocks called amino acids, but only nine are essential (meaning that you must get them from your food); your body can make the rest from the essential nine. It can use the amino acid, methionine, to make another amino acid, cysteine. But if you lack any one of the three vitamins: B12, folic acid, or pyridoxine, your body converts methionine to a poison called homocysteine that plugs up arteries to cause heart attacks and strokes. Anything that damages arteries can also cause loss of mental function. So people with high blood level of homocysteine are at high risk for heart attacks, strokes, and dementia or Alzheimer's disease. You can lower high levels of homocysteine by eating plenty of leafy greens and whole grains for folic acid and pyridoxine; and meat, fish or dairy products for vitamin B12. If homocysteine is above 100, take folic acid, pyridoxine and B12 (readily available in combination pills such as Foltex or Fol-B.) Also see report #G101.

Homocysteine and cognitive function in the Sacramento area Latino study on aging. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003, Vol 78, Iss 3, pp 441-447. JW Miller, R Green, MI Ramos, LH Allen, DM Mungas, WJ Jagust, MN Haan. Miller JW, Univ Calif Davis, Med Ctr, Dept Med Pathol, Sch Med, Res III Room 3200A, 4645 2nd Ave, Sacramento,CA 95817 USA

Checked 8/9/05

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