It is estimated that 17 million people die from cardiovascular disease worldwide each year, including more than 600,000 in the U.S. For both men and women, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America.
In 1969, Dr. Kilmer McCully reported that children who lacked an enzyme called cystathionine synthase developed high levels of homocysteine and had progressive coronary artery disease in childhood.
Dr. McCully was the first researcher to associate an elevated homocysteine level as the cause of atherosclerosis.
Today, hundreds of follow-up studies have shown an association between elevated homocysteine level and heart disease. To be fair, there are studies that refute this claim, but they are fewer in number.
An elevated homocysteine level in the blood can cause inflammation and damage to the delicate lining of arteries, called the endothelium.
Once the lining of an artery is damaged, it triggers an inflammatory cascade that can lead to blood clots, which causes strokes and heart attacks.
Elevated homocysteine is also associated with other heart illnesses, including congestive heart failure.
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