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Dr. David Brownstein, M.D
Dr. David Brownstein,  editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter, is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

Tags: homocysteine | enzymes | metabolism | sulfur

How Homocysteine Affects Health

David Brownstein, M.D. By Tuesday, 22 June 2021 02:02 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

I’m a chemistry geek — I love studying biochemical pathways and finding ways to help improve their performance, which helps the body function optimally. In fact, I think all healthcare practitioners should be finding and using substances that support (or even enhance) biochemistry, and avoiding those that block or even poison it.

Nearly all drug therapies work by poisoning enzymes and blocking receptors, thereby disrupting our biochemistry. Homocysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that is an intermediate substance in the methylation pathway. Methylation simply refers to adding a molecule of methyl — made up of one carbon atom plus three hydrogen atoms, or CH3 — to various substances.

For instance, when the methylation pathway is working well, folic acid can be converted to methyl folic acid, which helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots. The enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) converts folic acid into 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, which is required to convert homocysteine into methionine. This reaction is catalyzed by vitamin B12.

Methionine helps the body produce fatty acids for cell membranes. A genetic defect in the MTHFR enzyme can cause a problem converting folic acid into 5-methyltetrahyrdrofolate. That can lead to an elevated homocysteine level because 5-methyl-tetrahyrdrofolate is necessary for converting homocysteine into methionine.

Unfortunately, MTHFR defects are very common.

There is another important pathway for homocysteine metabolism: the transulfuration pathway, which depends on an adequate intake of sulfur in the diet. In this pathway, homocysteine can be converted into glutathione — the strongest antioxidant in the body.

Sulfur is found in eggs, meats, legumes, and nuts. It is also found in some vegetables such as garlic and onions. But most fruits and vegetables do not contain much sulfur.

It is important to eat a diet that contains adequate sulfur for the proper metabolism of homocysteine.

© 2023 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

It is important to eat a diet that contains adequate sulfur for the proper metabolism of homocysteine.
homocysteine, enzymes, metabolism, sulfur
Tuesday, 22 June 2021 02:02 PM
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