When I discovered a book by Dr. Kilmer S. McCully called The Heart Revolution, I was amazed at what it reveals. Dr. McCulley's research discovered that, heart disease, the number one killer in North America, is not caused by cholesterol. The cause of heart disease is a toxic amino acid in our blood called homocysteine. Would you like to know why controlling homocysteine levels is a matter of life and death? Get ready to change what you think you know about heart disease.
In his book, The Heart Revolution (available in any major book store), Dr. McCully explains that almost everyone is deficient in one or more of the B vitamins (B6, Folic Acid & B12). These deficiencies occur because modern food processing removes the B vitamins from our foods. Take milling of white flour for instance. The milling process removes up to 90% of many vitamins, minerals, fiber, and essential oils; this includes folic acid and vitamin B6. Other processing methods, canning and freezing, have a similar affect on foods. These extremely important nutrients are the body's regulator of homocysteine and are the mechanism for keeping it under control and at low levels.
Many people, including medical doctors and scientists focus on only one thing when it comes to heart disease. Until very recently, fats and cholesterol in the diet were blamed for causing heart disease even though no convincing evidence, from years of medical research, shows them to actually cause hardening of the arteries. Scientists have even proven that pure cholesterol does not cause arteriosclerosis. Dr. McCully found that elavated levels of blood cholesterol is a symptom-not a cause-of heart disease. Dr. McCully's discoveries about a substance in our bodies, homocysteine, are revolutionizing our understanding of the cause of the nationís number one killer, heart disease.
If you eat processed, preserved and refined foods, (who doesn't?) deficiencies of B vitamins occur. Dr. McCully found that the homocysteine level in our blood soars when we have deficiencies of one or more of these critical B vitamins. Homocysteine is toxic in large amounts and damages the blood vessels and arteries. Plaques form as a result leading to arteriosclerosis and heart disease as well as blood clots, stroke and gangrene. A sobering observation of Dr. McCully is that "in a sense, heart disease is a modern disease because it's man made".
More danger from homocysteine
Research has also found that homocysteine is closely associated with the aging process, too. High levels of homocysteine increase your risk of getting diseases of aging such as arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and cancer.
Homocysteine is needed in the body's tissues to break down complex proteins. This is the process known as the methylation cycle. Methylation is the process that breaks down complex proteins into simpler, usable proteins. If this process is not completed efficiently, cells cannot complete their function, and poison, in the form of homocysteine (HCY), escapes into the bloodstream. The methylation cycle can be impaired by stress, environmental factors or nutrient deficiencies, and allow homocysteine to escape into the bloodstream where it is toxic. High blood levels of homocysteine (HCY) can cause severe damage to the human body.
Homocysteine (HCY) destroys the protein that your brain and bones are made from. If this protein is damaged, your tissues will not be as healthy as they should be. Controlling the amount of homocysteine in your blood is truly a matter of life and death.
McCully, M.D., Kilmer S. & McCully, Martha, The Heart Revolution, New York: Harper Perennial, 1999, pp 1-12
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