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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Naturopathic News arrow Issue #5 - February 2003
Issue #5 - February 2003

Welcome to Naturopathic News #5. It’s my goal to help you find natural solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health. Any feedback in the form of comments, letters to the editor, success stories, etc., is appreciated.

This issue continues our series on the prevention of cardiovascular disease. This time we focus on two independent markers of cardiovascular risk, serum homocysteine and lipoprotein(a).



Homocysteine is an amino acid (building block of protein) that, in excess, can injure the artery wall and promote clotting. The amount of homocysteine in the blood can be directly affected, not by some $5/day drug, or some $20,000 hospital procedure, but by four simple nutrients: betaine (eggs, liver); folic acid (liver, eggs, fresh vegetables, whole grains), Vitamin B6 (green leafy vegetables, organ meats, eggs, walnuts, seeds, whole grains), and Vitamin B12 (liver, eggs, fish). It is no surprise that the consumption of 3 of these nutrients is low for a large segment of the population.

Dietary Intakes Of Folic Acid, Vitamin B6 And Vitamin B12 Among Americans Over 50:  Third National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey, Phase 1, 1989-91

FOLIC AC1D    B6            B12
        % Daily RDA    % Daily RDA    % Daily RDA
Both Sexes    59            76            55
Female    54            67            46
Male        67            87            69

Don’t eat enough of the foods that contain these nutrients and you are courting arteriosclerosis, coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. If your homocysteine is high already, you might consider the proper combination of these nutrients in supplemental form as well as food sources. You might also consider Vitamin C complex supplementation if your homocysteine is already high.


Lipoprotein(a) {Lp(a)} is a macromolecular complex made up of apolipoprotein B, cholesterol, and other lipids, and a protein called apolipoprotein(a). The serum level of Lp(a), which is genetically determined, has been shown to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Analyzing the findings from 27 studies, British researchers found that those patients with high levels of Lp(a) had a 70% higher risk of developing heart disease over a period of 10 years.

Once again a simple lifestyle modification can greatly impact your risk. Ingestion of trans fatty acids increases serum levels of Lp(a). Trans fats are modified fats that are produced when a vegetable oil is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated (margarine, shortening). Trans fatty acids are found in many commercial foods—cookies, biscuits, crackers, cakes, white bread, donuts, rolls, and others.

If the information in this newsletter has helped you better understand the risks for cardiovascular disease then it has done its job. If you know of anyone who would like to receive my email newsletter please pass his or her email on to me.

Be well,
Gregory Pais, ND