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A report from Argentina shows that almost three quarters of men and women over 65 have higher than normal blood levels of homocysteine.

The protein in your body is made up of building blocks called amino acids. Your body converts some amino acids to others, using enzymes that come from vitamins. If you lack any one of three vitamins, these chemical reactions slow down and a poison called homocysteine accumulates in your bloodstream to punch holes in arteries and cause heart attacks, strokes and senility .

The three necessary vitamins include pyridoxine found in whole grains, folic acid found in leafy green vegetables, and B12 found in meat, fish, chicken and dairy products. The high levels of homocysteine found in 75 percent of older people mean that they should substitute whole grains for most bakery products and pastas; eat salads at least twice a day; and eat at least some animals products or take B12 pills. If homocysteine is above 100, take folic acid, pyridoxine and B12 (readily available in combination pills such as Foltex or Fol-B.)

Prevalence of Hyperhomocysteinemia in an elderly population. American Journal of Hypertension, 2002, Vol 15, Iss 5, pp 394-397. JJ Janson, CR Galarza, A Murua, I Quintana, PA Przygoda, G Waisman, L Camera, L Kordich, M Morales, LM Mayorga, MI Camera. Janson JJ, Hosp Italiano Buenos Aires, Unidad Hipertens Arterial, Gascon 450, RA-1181 Buenos Aires, DF, ARGENTINA

Checked 9/3/05

August 26th, 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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