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Why is homocysteine considered an excellent predictor of all cause of death ?

At least three out of four people die from diseasese that are largely preventable.In the main, this means the big five - heart attacks, strokes, cancer, the complications of diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. It you can prevent all of these diseases you are likely to add between 10 and 20 years to your lifespan. If you live in the UK, the average lifespan is 73 if you are a man, and 79 if you are a woman. If you are an American, the figures are 76 for a man and 83 for a woman. So an extra decade or two of healthy living would be quite a boon. And probably the best single measure that you are on the right track is your homocysteine level.


But first a word on homocysteine. This amino acid occurs naturally in the blood, but high levels indicate a higher risk for degenerative diseases such as heart disease. Homocysteine is kept in check by a natural process in the body called methylation, which converts it to the essential amino acid methionine. Certain nutrients and natural chemicals boost methylation, notably the B vitamins.


A comprehensive research study at the University of Bergen in Norway measure the homocysteine levels of 4,766 men and women, aged 65 to 67 in 1992, and then recorded any deaths over the next five years. What they found was that the chances of a person of 65 to 67 years dying from any cause increased by almost 50 percent for every 5-unit increase in homocysteine! This strongly reflects how central homocysteine and methylation (and as a consequence, your nutritational status) are to the underlying causes of the common diseases that kill most of us prematurely in the 21st century. 


Turn this amazing finding the other way round and we can say that, for every 5-unit drop in your H score, you halve your risk of dying prematurely from all common causes. If, for example, your H score was 15, and you drop it to 6 units or less and maintain it there, you can probably add around 10 years to your life! And it would be a lively decade because, as you will see, if you lower your homocysteine level below 6 units with the proper balance of diet and supplementation, and alleviate your methylation problems, your cells will age slower, you will have increased vitality and you will feel younger than your years. There are tests available to check your homocysteine levels.

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