Vegetarian diet lowers homocysteine
EDMOND, OKLAHOMA. A high blood level of homocysteine has been
linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and
peripheral vascular disease. There is abundant evidence that high
homocysteine levels can be lowered by supplementing with folic
acid. Now researchers at the Lifestyle Center of America report
that adopting a healthier lifestyle including eating an
exclusively vegetarian diet can result in very significant
reductions in homocysteine levels.
The study involved 40 participants who were part of a vegan diet-
based lifestyle program. This program included a vegan diet,
moderate physical exercise, stress management and spirituality
enhancement sessions, group support, and exclusion of tobacco,
caffeine, and alcohol. The participants were not provided with
supplements of folic acid or other B vitamins.
After one week on the program the average homocysteine level among
the participants had dropped by 13 per cent (from 8.66 micromol/L
to 7.53 micromol/L). The drop was particularly impressive among
the participants who had a high homocysteine level to begin with.
Participants with a starting level higher than 9.5 micromol/L
(mean of 11.3 micromol/L) showed a 19 per cent drop and patients
with coronary artery disease a drop in excess of 20 per cent
(these patients also had high homocysteine levels to begin with).
The researchers conclude that a one-week vegan diet-based
lifestyle program can result in a significant decrease in total
DeRose, David J., et al. Vegan diet-based lifestyle program rapidly lowers homocysteine
levels. Preventive Medicine, Vol. 30, March 2000, pp. 225-33