Is This Another Silent Killer You Need to be Aware of?
Every time I hear the phrase “silent killer’, I have to roll my eyes.
It’s like there’s a boogeyman under every rock and around every turn.
Part of the reason for that is many of the times “silent killers” we’re talking about are either unquantifiable or just hyped up for the sake of getting a rise out of the audience.
Well, one of the “silent killers” I believe you need to be educated about is only now coming to light in the medical community, and I believe you deserve to know about it.
My guess is, you probably haven’t heard much about homocysteine.
Now, homocysteine isn’t so much a “bad guy,” as much as it’s an indication that there are some troublesome things going on with your body.
The first thing I’ll do is talk briefly about why you haven’t heard much about it until now, and then I’ll get more into the nitty-gritty of homocysteine.
Part of the reason that homocysteine hasn’t made it on your radar (even though it was discovered back in the 70’s) has everything to do with the fact that drug companies don’t want you to know about it.
Sounds like a conspiracy, but you don’t need to make a tin foil hat when you discover why it was kept from the public for so long.
Allow me to explain.
The Killer Hiding Right Beneath Your Nose
In the 60s and 70s, a pathologist out of Harvard Medical School by the name of Dr. Kilmer McCully stumbled upon a connection between elevated levels of homocysteine and certain heart diseases.
McCully had been studying a disease known as homocystinuria, which was a condition that was observed in very young children.
The hallmark indicators that a child had homocystinuria was when their body’s expressed a high level of homocysteine. This came as a result of their body’s not being able to convert an essential amino acid called methionine into it’s final, end form…the one usable by the body.
As he continued to study the disease, he came across two cases in which children under the age of 8 had died from heart attacks.
While performing the autopsies, he noticed the children’s arteries were strongly calcified, similar to those of men and women who were much older than them and who had also died of heart attacks.
After more research, McCully noticed that both of the children, much like many older adults who died of heart attacks, had elevated levels of homocysteine in their blood.
As McCully began to make the connection between homocysteine levels and heart attacks, he was quickly shuttled out of the medical community and was unable to continue his research.
Concurrent with McCully’s research on homocysteine were many studies that were attempting to make the connection between cholesterol and heart attacks.
Millions of dollars in research funding had been spent on these trials, and billions of dollars in profits were being chased by the drug companies. The last thing they wanted at the time was for their research to be for nothing.
And so, the discovery of elevated homocysteine levels and heart attacks was muted, and the important information McCully wanted to relay to the rest of the world was kept under wraps for decades.
It might seem like a stretch to believe it, but go ahead and see what lengths people go to in order to make money, and you might catch yourself thinking, “Dr. Wiggy knows a thing or two about conspiracies.”
And, let me put my tin-foil hat back on… No, I’m kidding!
In all seriousness, there are some things you need to know about homocysteine.
For one, you will have some level of homocysteine in your body.
But, even slightly elevated levels, (those even just touch above the norm that is found in the body) often indicate that there might be some problems in your body that deserve some attention.
As I noted earlier, the presence of homocysteine comes in part from the body’s inability to break down methionine.
This defect is caused by an error in the body’s methylation processing, and, as such, when someone has a methylation malfunction, it will produce, not just elevated levels of homocysteine, but also will cause many other chronic degenerative diseases.
I’ll be covering methylation deficiencies in a later email this week, but right now I want you to understand the relationship between homocysteine and early death; along with realizing that sometimes good science is kept from the general public because it isn’t profitable for behemoth pharmaceutical companies.
Case in point:
While McCully was out performing his research, understanding how homocysteine was adversely affecting the body, he was also beginning to discover how simple it was to reduce homocysteine in the body.
Here’s How to Fight Rising Homocysteine Levels
If you’re wondering how best to fight the presence of elevated levels of homocysteine in the body, well, it’s quite simple.
A regimen I advise many to follow is to supplement with both methylcobalamin and methylfolate (individual needs may vary, and this isn’t a definitive recommendation as everyone’s personal needs differ).
That’s right, rather than recommend for my patients to take expensive drugs, I give them prescriptions for natural vitamins that are helpful in fighting the causes of elevated homocysteine levels.
Now you can see why McCully was kept silent for so many years.
You might be wondering what you can do to find out if you have elevated homocysteine levels.
All it takes is a simple blood test, and you’ll be able to find out what your blood homocysteine levels are.
If you find they’re elevated (greater than 4.4 and 10.8 micromoles per liter of blood), then it’s advisable you set up an appointment with a physician so you can figure out why exactly your blood levels of homocysteine are so high.