Research shows that having elevated homocysteine levels increases the risk for cardiovascular diseases – including heart disease and stroke. Homocysteine impairs endothelial vasomotor function, which determines how easily blood flows through blood vessels. It may also cause damage to coronary arteries and increase the risk for blood cells to clump together and form a clot, which may lead to a heart attack.
Homocysteine is known to be regulated by at least three vitamins including folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6. Of these, folate has been found to have the greatest homocysteine-lowering effect.
Twelve clinical trials examining the relationship between these nutrients and homocysteine found that 0.5-5 mg/day of folate reduces homocysteine by 25% while 500 mcg/day of vitamin B12 provides an additional 7% reduction in homocysteine.
The Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study followed 1,980 Finnish men for 10 years. Researchers found those men consuming the most dietary folate had only 45% the risk of an acute coronary event compared with those who consumed the least dietary folate.
Protect your heart by enjoying delicious folate-rich foods – especially leafy greens. In addition, to enjoying salads whirl folate-rich greens into smoothies, stir into scrambled eggs and wilt into soups.