Homocysteine, Heart Disease, and Alzheimer Disease

There are a lot of reasons based on published experimental evidence to worry more about homocysteine in heart disease than cholesterol. This month it looks like it is correlated with Alzheimer disease as well. Homocysteine is easily controlled by nutritional supplements, particularly B vitamins and folic acid. See Life Extension Foundation protocol.

Moderately Elevated Plasma Homocysteine, Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase Genotype, and Risk for Stroke, Vascular Dementia, and Alzheimer Disease in Northern Ireland.

McIlroy SP, Dynan KB, Lawson JT, Patterson CC, Passmore AP.

Stroke 2002 Oct 1;33(10):2351-2356

Background and Purpose- Elevated plasma homocysteine level has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. Variation in the levels of this amino acid has been shown to be due to nutritional status and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genotype. METHODS: Under a case-control design we compared fasting levels of homocysteine and MTHFR genotypes in groups of subjects consisting of stroke, vascular dementia (VaD), and Alzheimer disease patients and normal controls from Northern Ireland. RESULTS: A significant increase in plasma homocysteine was observed in all 3 disease groups compared with controls. This remained significant after allowance for confounding factors (age, sex, hypertension, cholesterol, smoking, creatinine, and nutritional measures). MTHFR genotype was not found to influence homocysteine levels, although the T allele was found to increase risk for VaD and perhaps dementia after stroke. CONCLUSIONS: We report that moderately high plasma levels of homocysteine are associated with stroke, VaD, and Alzheimer disease. This is not due to vascular risk factors, nutritional status, or MTHFR genotype.

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