The Homocysteine Connection
One interesting discovery is the link between homocysteine, low B12 levels and bone and joint health. Over the last five years, there have been more and more studies linking high homocysteine and low B12 levels to increased risk of fractures, osteoporosis and decreased bone mass density, particularly in women. It looks as if homocysteine actually damages bone by encouraging its breakdown and interfering with the collagen matrix which is what holds bone together. Collagen is made from vitamin C, which is yet another reason why I recommend a daily intake of 1000mg taken twice a day.
High homocysteine levels are linked to most inflammatory diseases since homocysteine promotes the release of pro-inflammatory agents in the body. Homocysteine levels are frequently found to be much higher in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers as well as those with ankylosing spondylitis, which is an inflammatory arthritic disease of the spine. Since rheumatoid arthritis is a ‘systemic’ disease, where the whole body’s chemistry is out of balance and many tissues and organs other than the joints are affected, one would suspect that homocysteine plays a leading role in the disease. And it does.
Research from the Department of Biochemistry at the University Hospital in Madrid, Spain, examined the homocysteine scores of women with rheumatoid arthritis versus those without. There was a massive difference. The average homocysteine score for those with rheumatoid arthritis was a sky-high 17.3, compared to 7.6 for those without! Other research groups have found similar differences, especially among rheumatoid arthritis sufferers with a history of thrombosis or abnormal clotting of the blood.
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