Vitamin B12 and Heart Disease

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The medical community has recently recognized that Vitamin B12 helps prevent heart disease.  The reason is that vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolism of homocysteine, a toxic amino acid.

When there is too much homocysteine in the bloodstream, the blood vessels become inelastic and are unable to dilate.  Then, fatty deposits stick to the walls of the arties.  This turns into plaque, which leads to heart attacks and strokes.  This plaque formation in the arteries is commonly known as atherosclerosis.

Although the relationship between vitamin B12 and heart disease has only recently become publicized, this information was actually discovered by Dr. Kilmar McCully over 30 years ago, in 1969.  At that time, he studied the occurrence of heart attacks in children, and concluded that the culprit was high levels of homocysteine, due to malabsorption of vitamin B12.  He wrote that vitamin therapy could counteract these problems in children as well as adults.

Dr. McCully argued with the common belief that the primary cause of heart disease is cholesterol.  The medical community did not acknowledge his research or his findings, so this was hidden from the public until recently.

There are many studies done over the last decade that support Dr. McCully’s claims.  For example, a study done in Israel found that men living in Israel were more likely to suffer heart attacks than men living in the United States.  The researchers concluded that this result was due to lower B12 plasma levels in the Israeli men.

Despite the knowledge of how vitamin B12 affects heart disease, doctors still check blood cholesterol primarily to determine cardiovascular risk.  Even so, many victims of heart attacks and strokes actually have blood cholesterol levels that are within the range of normal.

If you want to determine your likelihood of developing heart disease, tell your doctor to check your blood plasma B12 levels.