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Life Extension Magazine

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July 1997

Personal Reports on Long-Term Use

By Paul Frankel, Ph.D. and Terri Mitchell

Some people have been taking homocysteine-lowering supernutrients for more than a decade. They have reported many benefits, including fewer colds, more energy, increased endurance, and lower blood sugar levels. Whether these effects are due to a decrease in homocysteine, an increase in SAM, or simply coincidence is not yet known. Blood sugar balance may relate to the osmotic protective feature of TMG. (The reason sugar beets contain so much TMG is to protect them against the stress sugar puts on plant cells).

The Future of Homocysteine Research

Homocysteine levels rise as people age. Therefore, any anti-aging program must take homocysteine levels into consideration. Lowering homocysteine has benefits beyond heart protection. It also protects against strokes. And the same supernutrients that lower homocysteine elevate SAM. SAM has numerous health benefits.

Some important research on HIV-positive patients and homocysteine may prove beneficial for everyone. Dr. Müller and his co-workers at the University of Bergen in Norway report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that AIDS patients have elevated concentrations of a particularly reactive form of homocysteine. This is thought to be related to the formation of reactive oxygen species caused by poor methylation. If this proves to be true, it may turn out that there is a relationship between homocysteine, free radicals and immunity.

AIDS dementia has been correlated with low SAM levels. Dementia is something that usually occurs with advancing age. The research being done on AIDS dementia may give insight into the age-related version.

A Major Breakthrough in Cardiovascular Health

While the potential benefits of lowering homocysteine and elevating SAM are just beginning to be realized, it is clear that there is a strong connection between homocysteine, heart disease, and stroke. With new blood tests for monitoring homocysteine, supernutrient supplementation, a proper diet and lifestyle plan (such as Dr. Ornish's program), there is no doubt that the incidence of heart disease will decline. Prevention is key. Don't wait until a heart condition strikes you down. The simple measures discussed in this article, combined with adequate blood monitoring, can help ensure that you don't fall victim to heart disease.

How To Take Homocysteine-Lowering Nutrients

For the best results, a combination of homocysteine-lowering nutrients should be taken. TMG (betaine), Folic acid (folate), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B12 are the nutrients which have been found to lower homocysteine in clinical studies. They all contribute something along the biochemical pathways which break down homocysteine. While any one of these factors by itself may lower homocysteine in some people, the best insurance is to take all of them. The methionine pathway is like a giant feedback loop with rest stops along the way. At those rest stops, nutrient co-factors are "fed" to the chemical reaction to keep it going. If any of these co-factors is not available, a toxic build-up of natural chemicals can result, and the entire pathway can become blocked.

Based on the latest-available research from the lab of Dr. Craig Cooney, the basic homocysteine-lowering formula per day is: 1000 mg of TMG, 800 mcg folic acid, 500 mcg vitamin B12, and 50 mg vitamin B6. People with serious medical conditions can take up to 6 grams of TMG per day. No toxicity has been reported at this amount. TMG is a natural substance found abundantly in sugar beets. Homocysteine level should be monitored, and TMG dose adjusted accordingly. Vitamin B6 can be toxic in high doses. Problems have been reported at doses above 250 mg/day. Tingling, numbness and balance problems are signs of B6 toxicity. People taking L-dopa should not take supernutrients without first consulting with their physician.