If there is too much homocysteine in the blood, the risk of life-threatening cardiovascular disease can increase ninefold for those affected. That is undisputed. Whether this risk can be reduced with the additional administration of certain vitamins, however, was discussed controversially among experts last year. However, a new study shows that consistent and high-dose vitamin therapy can provide good protection against stroke and heart attack.
Removal of homocysteine by vitamins
Actually, homocysteine is an endogenous substance. It is produced as an intermediate in human metabolism, but is extremely toxic to the body cells and must therefore be rapidly degraded or converted into less dangerous substances.
Three vitamins are responsible for the rapid and smooth removal of homocysteine: folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. A permanent deficiency of folic acid as well as the other two vitamins therefore does not remain without consequences. The homocysteine is no longer completely eliminated, its content in the blood increases, the walls of the blood vessels are attacked, the blood clots easier, it can form deposits that impede blood flow. One then speaks of arteriosclerosis or arteriosclerosis. It is obvious that an improved vitamin supply could eliminate the problem.
Study in USA should provide information
Whether people who have already had a stroke can be prevented from relapsing by a vitamin treatment should therefore be examined in a large study in the USA. The result, however, disappointed the high expectations, no positive effect of vitamin administration could be demonstrated.
In the meantime, however, the scientists have again subjected their study data to a critical analysis and discovered some sources of error. For example, the study did not take into account that folic acid has been added to flour in the USA and Canada since 1996 as standard. Low folic acid levels are only rarely found in the local population and thus also in the untreated control group. A meaningful comparison with the treated patients was therefore hardly possible. The vitamin B12 levels of the patients were not controlled well enough. If you turn off these sources of error, the results are much cheaper for the vitamin therapy. The risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases decreased by more than 20 percent.
Situation in Germany
It is estimated that in about five to ten percent of the German population the homocysteine level exceeds the limit of 10 micromol per liter. To find out if you belong to this risk group, everyone should be homozygous for the doctor from 50, because from about this age increases the homocysteine. Only a small blood sample is needed. Depending on how the result is, the doctor will either give the all-clear or recommend tablets containing a combination of the vitamins folic acid, B12 and B6.
People who are already aware of vascular problems, the doctor is likely to advise an intensive therapy with vitamin injections, because so the homocysteine can be reduced as quickly as possible to safe levels.