Take An Additional Step to Assess Your Risk For A Stroke

Most people proactive with their healthcare know what their cholesterol numbers are.  After all, these numbers are a very important indicator of your risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke.  But there’s an equally important number for assessing these risks, as well as many others — your homocysteine.

You may never have even heard of homocysteine because most doctors don’t test for it in favor of relying solely on the lipid panel to assess heart health.  The problem is that as many as 50% of patients treated for heart attacks, and many for strokes, have normal lipid levels prior to their incidents.

Stroke is the third largest cause of death in the US, ranking behind CVD and cancer of all kinds.  Research shows that in many cases, a high level of homocysteine in the blood can accurately predict your risk for these two common killers, especially in the elderly.  What’s more, it can be the cause of migraines, depression, osteoporosis, macular degeneration and symptoms associated with dementia.

That means knowing your homocysteine number can be pretty important in managing your health.

What is it?

Homocysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid found naturally in blood plasma that requires the presence of folate and vitamins B6 and B12 to break down. 

As with most vitamins, the best way to increase intake is naturally, by eating more foods, such as green vegetables, folate-rich beans, lentils and chickpeas, and/or taking dietary supplements, which perform as well as prescription drugs in lowering homocysteine levels.

Up to half of Americans, however, carry a genetic variation that makes them unable to metabolize folic acid into its active form, meaning even if they consume enough, they still have elevated homocysteine levels.

For these patients, we recommend a different, already-active form of folate called 5-MTHF, along with B12 and B6, to protect them against homocysteine-related disorders.

At Whole Body Health, we can not only determine if you have elevated levels of homocysteine in your blood, but can tell you through gene testing if a common genetic variation is to blame.  Being armed with this knowledge is just another way to ensure your wellness plan is complete.