In this newsletter I would like to discuss high homocysteine levels and what can be done for its prevention.
Homocysteine is a byproduct of amino-acid methionine. Eventually it could be converted into ATP (an energy product) and amino-acid cysteine if the right cofactors are present. If there is a lack of cofactors, homocysteine will go into the bloodstream and create a lot of problems. Some of the problems are it promotes oxidation of the lipids, platelet aggregation or sticking together, and enhances fibrin formation and free radical damage to the artery walls.
Research found that elevated levels of homocysteine was a greater risk factor then elevated cholesterol was for stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and coronary artery disease. There are even some conditions, not associated with it earlier, such as depression, osteoporosis, dementia, macular degeneration, cervical cancer, birth defects and even erectile dysfunction.
Recent research linked elevated homocysteine levels with low levels of vitamin B-6, B-12 and folate. Vitamin B-6 converts homocysteine to cysteine, Vitamin B-12 and folate work together and convert homocysteine back to metionine, which we all need. The lipotrophic factor is needed for normal liver function.
So, how high is high?
Although many homocysteine test reports state that 8,10 or 12 units are normal, extensive research reported by Dr, J. Braly and P. Holford in their book, The H-Factor Solution, indicates that number should be much lower.
Under 6 units - Extremely low risk for vascular disease.
6-8 or 9 units - Relatively low risk, but could be lower.
Above 8 or 9 units - Significantly greater risk with the greatest risk associated with the highest numbers.
Do not wait until your homocysteine levels are too high, take action now and get tested in the office with NRT- Nutrition Response Testing. Your doctor will determine your need for vitamin B-6, B-12 and folate and may recommend whole food supplements to help you.
I do not want to discourage you, so lets talk about the French Paradox. This phrase was coined in 1992 by Dr. Serge Renaud from Bordeaux University, and refers to the low incidence of cardio-vascular disease and obesity among the French, even though they are known for eating diets high in fat and consume high levels of red wine.
In France, Israel and Germany where studies were conducted that confirmed that high level of resveratrol, found in red wine is a real preventive against obesity and cardio-vascular disease. Israel's study showed that people who consumed 250 ml of red wine per day during 21 days had better maintenance of endothelial cells in their blood vessels and increased production of nitric acid, which has a relaxing and dilating effect on blood vessel walls. Research from Germany showed that resveratrol has a direct effect on mass and function of the fat tissue. It inhibited fat production. The same study confirmed that resveratrol had well established anti-aging properties, along with anti- inflammatory and cardiovascular properties. Resveratrol had the ability not only to increase production of nitric oxide but also increased its bioavailability.
Now I would like to give you one recipe from this wonderful cookbook that I have. This recipe is called Steak au Poivre and it's from Julia Child's cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French cooking".
2 Tablespoons of a mixture of several kinds of peppercorns or white peppercorn
2-2.5 lbs. steak - ¾ to 1 inch thick
1 Tablespoon butter (it would not be a French recipe without butter)
2 Tablespoon of minced shallots or green onions
1/3 cup cognac
1/2 cup stock
3-4 Tablespoon butter softened
Crush peppercorns in the mixing bowl, dry the steak on paper towels and press the crushed peppercorns into the sides of meat, cover with waxed paper and let stand 1-3 hours (in the refrigerator), the longer the better so the flavor of peppercorn will penetrate the meat. Then sauté the steak on high heat in the frying pan with butter for 3-4 minutes on each side, remove steak and season with salt. Place on a hot platter while you are making the sauce.
Add butter, green onions or shallots to the frying pan and sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add stock and boil down rapidly, then add cognac and boil rapidly again. Take frying pan off the heat and add softened butter, swirl. Decorate the plate with potatoes and pour the sauce over the steak, almost done!
Open a bottle of good French wine and Enjoy Life!