- Is your doctor making a dangerous oversight with your heart labs? Find out which test they should be running.
- Discover how these two nutrients may decrease your chance of heart disease and stroke.
- Plus, three simple ways to ensure you are purchasing a quality supplement.
Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
“It felt like someone was sitting on my chest and smothering me at the same time.”
A few days ago while in Austin learning new and exciting health information (which I’ll be sharing with you soon, stay tuned), I got a distressed voicemail from a former colleague that simply said: “I have something really important to tell you.”
Once I was able to catch up with her, I found out why she sounded so panicked — she’d had a heart attack a few days earlier.
I was truly shocked by the news.
You see, Dana is only 42 years old and in terrific shape. In fact, she just ran a half marathon back in March and she was training for a triathlon when we last spoke.
However, there is a certain factor for heart attack that many doctors don’t test for that can be a reliable indicator of heart disease. We will dig deeper into this in a bit.
She went on to explain her upsetting situation to me. “At first, I thought I took the stairs to my office too fast… I was out of breath and dizzy… but shortly after, I fell to the floor and it felt like someone was sitting on my chest and smothering me at the same time…”
After being ambulanced from her office, she spent a couple days in the hospital. She found out she has a small blockage in her artery and a very high level of a dangerous amino acid in her blood.
While her physicians are still deciding if she will need surgery, it’s very clear she needs to decrease high levels of this amino acid or run the risk of having another terrifying cardiac episode.
Luckily, a heart-protective tag team of nutrients can help Dana and the other 27.6 million Americans suffering from heart disease by reducing this heart-destructive amino acid called homocysteine.1
The Untested Killer
Homocysteine can wreak havoc on your heart and arteries. It’s associated with the development of heart and artery disease, as well as heart attack, stroke, migraines, and even dementia.
In fact, this stuff is so dangerous, a raised level of homocysteine is an independent risk factor for heart disease.
But the hazards aren’t limited to just the heart. Research shows that homocysteine is also linked to certain types of cancer, cognitive decline, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. 2
Unfortunately, unlike Dana’s doctor, many physicians don’t test homocysteine levels to assess heart risks. Most mainstream docs still accept the lipid-related risk factors like high LDL, low HDL, and triglycerides as the gold standard.
However, since research shows that nearly 75 percent of all heart attack victims have normal blood cholesterol levels, the homocysteine test should be a vital part of cardiac blood testing.
So next time you go in for labs be sure to insist a homocysteine level be drawn – it may save your life.
In the meantime, another way to protect your heart is with two hardworking nutrients that can help reduce your homocysteine levels — especially when taken together.
Tag Team Your Heart Health
Research published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that folks taking a combination of vitamin B12 and fish oil saw significant reductions in homocysteine levels.
In the study, 30 men and women were randomly assigned to groups. One group received 1,000 micrograms of vitamin B12, another group received 2 grams of fish oil, and the last group received both 1,000 micrograms of vitamin B12 and 2 grams of fish oil.
Before the treatment began, participants had their blood tested for C-reactive protein (an indicator of inflammation), homocysteine, lipids, and vitamin B12 levels. Levels were tested again at four and eight weeks.
At the end of eight weeks, folks who received fish oil alone or fish oil plus vitamin B12 saw a significant decrease in triglycerides and C-reactive proteins.
But what was more amazing…
Homocysteine levels were reduced by 19 percent in the fish oil group, 22 percent in the vitamin B12 group, and by a whopping 39 percent among the folks who received B12 and fish oil for eight weeks. 4
This means folks who regularly take both vitamin B12 and fish oil have an almost double chance of reducing homocysteine compared with people taking just one of them.
So when you’re shopping for a B12 vitamin, don’t forget to get your fish oil too.
When looking for a reliable fish oil source, be sure to check for the following:
- Potency: Fish oil contains both EPA and DHA. If you’re taking fish oil for heart health or cognitive support or to reduce inflammation, a higher concentration of EPA is important. If you are pregnant, higher levels of DHA are a better option for you, because DHA is vital for fetal brain development in the womb.
- Purity: Many fish oil sources can contain heavy metals and dangerous chemicals including PCBs, dioxins, and mercury. Because of this, many manufacturers use a process called molecular distillation to remove toxins from the oil. If this process is done correctly, it should remove the toxins. However, some manufactures don’t test this. In order to double-check your fish oil has been tested, always ask the manufacturer for a certificate of analysis (COA)
- Freshness: Some fish oils are rancid. One good way to check this is through the COA. Look for the “peroxide value,” which is a measure of rancidity reactions. This level should less than 5 meq/kg. If a COA isn’t available, reach out to the manufacturer and ask to see the testing. Once you have purchased a supplement, you can keep it in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily
 Heart Disease