Diseases of aging tied to an amino acid

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wdlove, May 18, 2004.

  1. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    Eating a healthy, balanced diet supplemented by a multivitamin may help ward off many ailments of old age, according to an accumulating body of research on homocysteine, an amino acid produced by the body.

    Scientists have linked high levels of homocysteine to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia and, just last week, to fractures due to osteoporosis. Studies show that people with the most homocysteine are about twice as likely to face these problems as those with the least.

    For once, there appears to be a quick fix. Eating more foods containing folic acid, and vitamins B-6 and B-12 -- such as a diet rich in animal protein, whole grains, fruits and leafy vegetables -- reduces homocysteine accumulation.

    Studies to test whether cutting homocysteine levels prevents disease are still underway, and it's not yet clear whether high homocysteine levels are the cause of disease or a byproduct. So, most doctors say it's not yet worth testing all patients' homocysteine levels, although those over 60 or with early signs of these diseases may want to ask their doctors about getting the blood test.

    Many say the early research suggests, however, that it's worth getting the antidotes -- through meals or a daily multivitamin.


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