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HOMOCYSTEINE IN VEGETARIANS

A study from the Slovak Republic shows that some vegetarians may be at high risk for heart attacks. Having low blood levels of any one of three vitamins, folic acid, pyridoxine, or B12, increases your risk for a heart attack. Lack of any one of these vitamins causes a poison called homocysteine to accumulate in your bloodstream, punch holes in your arteries and form plaques.

Vitamin B12 is found only in foods from animals such as meat, fish , chicken, dairy products or eggs. In this study, 26 percent of vegetarians, 78 percent of vegans (who eat no eggs or dairy products) and none of the omnivores had low blood levels of vitamin B12. Twenty-nine percent of the vegetarians and only five percent of omnivores had high blood levels of homocysteine that causes heart attacks. Even though a vegetarian diet can lower serum cholesterol, it can raise blood homocysteine levels to increase risk for a heart attack. If homocysteine is above 100, take folic acid, pyridoxine and B12 (readily available in combination pills such as Foltex or Fol-B.)

May-June 2000 Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism

Checked 9/3/05

May 21st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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