(written by Tessa Jupp - from the book "The H Factor")

"Homocysteine reflects the health of your genes."  say Patrick Holford and Dr James Braly MD in their 2003 publication "The H Factor".  "Your H score is more important than your weight, your blood pressure or your cholesterol level.  It is your most vital, preventable and reversible health statistic."  and "Your Homocysteine level is a more accurate predictor than cholesterol of our risk of heart attack or stroke."

So why aren't doctors looking at it?  They can.  And YOU can ask your GP to do the blood test  - a fasting plasma homocysteine.  The Labs will give "normal levels" as 6.5 - 11.9mmol/L or even higher but Halford recommends a level below 6.

Clinipath results here in WA come back with a notation for the doctor that says -  "Elevated Homocysteine levels are associated with increased independent risk of cardiovascular disease.  A 5 mmol/L rise in HoCy correlates to a 0.5mmol/L increase in Cholesterol.  Elevations are also found in anaemia, genetic homocystinuria, renal disease, deficiencies of B group vitamins B12, Folate, Pyridoxine (ie B6) and some drug therapies."

Royal Perth Hospital began a study about 4-5 years ago on the effectiveness of using B12, B6 and folic acid to lower homocysteine levels.  This was replicating previous similar studies already undertaken in other parts of the world.  I'm not sure what stage this present study at Royal Perth Hospital has reached but we don't need to wait.
The new book by Holford, brings in some more essential nutrients that are needed for these same chemical pathways to occur.  We, the public, have not been told of these additional essential co-factors - namely B2, zinc, magnesium and choline (or TMG). 

HOMOCYSTEINE is a naturally occurring by-product of methionine metabolism in the body.  Methionine is an amino acid, ie part of food proteins and is found primarily in meats, eggs, dairy products, fish, chicken, seeds, nuts and some vegetables.  Homocysteine pathways normally pave the way to body production of other essentials including glutathione a powerful detoxifier in the body on the one hand and brain chemicals serotonin (the happy hormone), melatonin (sleep and mood improving hormone), dopamine (euphoria hormone) and adrenaline (the fight and flight hormone). 

According to Holford, the reason Homocysteine accumulates in the body causing cell damage and the onset of major disease, is because the biochemical transformation process is not working properly, usually due to lack of these needed vitamins and minerals for the given Homocysteine pathways. 

In this diagram, protein foods like meats in the diet breakdown to methionine then to homocysteine.  Normally it then goes on to fulfil various important pathways to provide essential hormones etc.  (SAMe is a metabolic precursor to the essential brain hormones.)  If we are short on the needed vitamins and minerals for these pathsways we end up with dangerous excess homocysteine levels and ill health. 

So as you can see we do need homocysteine to get the end-result good things like serotonin, adrenaline, melatonin and dopamine and to detoxify in the liver but unless the other vitamin and mineral co-factors are present we end up building dangerous and damaging levels of homocysteine in the body.  But we can fix this - take the appropriate supplements, have your GP test your H levels and get them down to 6.

So how would you rate the state of your health?
boundless energy constant tiredness chronic fatigue 
enlivened by life feel drained feel exhausted 
sharp mind poor concentration constant pain 
positive outlook mood swings depression
full of life exercise exhausts pessimistic 
physically fit unfit unable to exercise
rarely ill frequently ill incapacitated by ill 
lead full life easily overwhelmed  life is hard work
well toned body flabby like a vegetable
content, happy dissatisfed in despair

What is your Score?? 

  Tired a lot of the time? 
  Keeping up getting harder? 
  Weight unstable? 
  Odd pains - arthritis, aches, cramps, migraines 
  Frequent colds, flu's? 
  Eyesight deteriorating? 
  Not so much on the ball these days? 
  Problems with sleep, getting to or staying 
  Memory on the decline? 
  A touch depressed (or more than a bit)? 
  2 or more glasses alchol per day? 
  More than 3 cups coffee per day? 
  Smoker - cigarettes? 
  Strict vegetarian diet?

Homocysteine levels are 40 times more predictive of heart attack than Cholesterol levels!!

1.  Speeds aging 
2.  Damages arteries 
3.  Weakens immune system 
4.  Damages brain & IQ 
5.  Pain & inflammation 
6.  Vulnerable to Cancer 
7.  Dementia prone 
8.  Hormonal problems 
9.  Indicates nutritional 
 deficiencies - particularly 
 B vitamins & minerals 
10.  Less "happy" hormones
Aged 40 + 
Post menapause 
Drink alcohol or smoke 
Often angry or suppress anger 
Exercise rarely 
Drink caffinated drinks - coffee, tea, coke 
Strict vegetarians 
High fat/protein diet 
Use salt liberally 
Rarely take nutritional supplements 
Take low dose supplements 
Underactive thyroid 
Chronic kidney problems 
Take anti-epileptics 
Suffer chronic ill health 
 eg digestive problems, auto-immune, asthma, eczema, arthritis, osteoporosis,  ulcers, diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure, thrombosis, cancer 
Health Risk  Fasting level
super healthy   below 6 
low risk 6 - 8.9 
moderate risk 9 - 12 
high risk  12 - 15 
very high risk  15 - 20 
extremely high risk above 20

Aging  Heart conditions 
Alcoholism  Kidney failure 
Alzheimers  Mental retardation 
Anaemias  Migraines 
Angina  Miscarriages 
Arthritis  Osteoporosis 
Artheriosclerosis  Parkinson's 
Auto-immune  Polycystic ovary disease
Birth defects  Pregnancy complications 
Cancers  Psoriasis 
Cholesterol - high  Rheumatoid arthritis 
Chronic Fatigue  Schizophrenia 
Coeliac disease  Strokes 
Chrohn's  Thyroid disorders 
Depression  Ulcerative colitis 
Diabetes  and many more......
(check for indicators first) 
B12 - by injection or tablets  1,000mcg 
B6  100mg - 500mg 
Folic Acid - 500mcg - 2,000mcg 
B2   100mg - 400mg 
Zinc - 220mg - 880mg 
Magnesium chelate twice daily to bowel tolerance (below diarrhoea)

1.  improved mood, memory and mental clarity 

2.  improved liver function 

3.  better condition of hair, skin and nails 

4.  increased energy 

5.  better sleep 

6.  reduction in arthritic pain 

7.  slowed aging - better detox 

10 Step H Factor Diet 

1.  Eat less fatty foods - more fish, eggs, lean meat and vegetables 

2.  Eat your greens 

3.  Clove of garlic a day 

4.  Use good quality sea salt sparingly on foods 

5.  Cut back on tea & coffee 

6.  Limit alcohol 

7.  Reduce your stress 

8.  Avoid smoke toxins 

9.  Correct hormonal deficiences  (not HRT - natural or nutritional) 

10.  Supplemental nutrition  (multi plus individual needs)

DRUGS that raise HOMOCYSTEINE levels 

* Cholesterol reducing drugs - 
   cholestyramine - bile acid binding 
   lopid - fibric acid derivtives 

* Diabetic controlling tablets 
   diabex, fibric acid derivatives 

* Cortisone drugs for asthma, arthritis etc 

* Theophylline for asthma 

* Epileptic drugs 
   dilantin, phenobarb 

* Sulphasalazine for arthritis & Crohn's 

* L-Dopa for Parkinson's 

* Chemotherapy drugs for cancer - also 
   methotrexate used for arthritis, psoriasis 
   cyclosporin - for immune suppression

Indicators for Homocysteine supplements
B12 - Lack of moons on thumb-nails - good levels of B12 if moons are white and a third of the way up the nail; procrastinate, disorganised, untidy, vague, vacant, memory loss, confusion, depression, tingling hands & feet, numbness, neuralgia, macrocytic anaemia fatigue, shortness of breath, grey hair early, split ends, need to wash hair often, bursitis, spurs, heavy periods or none.  B2 - Red gritty itchy bloodshot eyes, dry thin cracked or red swollen shiny lips, red sore smooth tongue, sore tongue tip, enlarged taste buds, cracks corner of mouth, red oily flaky skin side of nose, rosacea, migraines, sickle cell anaemia, digestive ulcers. 
B6 - Hand test, sharp electric shock type pain, pins & needles, numbness, joint pain, swelling, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, loss of appetite, poor dream recall, 
depression, expressionless face, shuffling gait, carpel tunnel, PMT, menopause. 
Zinc - Smelly feet, short term memory loss, learning problems, ADD, hyperactive, irritable, irrational, bite fingernails, white spots on fingernails, loss of sense of taste & 
smell, poor appetite for meat, poor sleep, racing mind, creaky joints, leg ulcers, PMT, menopause. 
Folic Acid - No moons on thumbs (pink moons are good folate but poor B12) large cell anaemia, nerve pain, fatigue, difficulty walking, abnormal pap smears. 
Magnesium - Cramps; tight muscles; aches & pains; headaches; migraines; anal cramps; twitches & spasms; hiccups; grinding teeth; body rocking; restless legs; can't 
keep still; anxiety; panic attacks; noise, skin & feet sensitivity; cold hands & feet; PMT, menopause.