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Healthy Heart Reports

Homocysteine In Vegetarians

A study from the Slovak Republic shows that some vegetarians may be at high risk for heart attacks. Having low blood levels of any one of three vitamins, folic acid, pyridoxine, or B12, increases your risk for a heart attack. Lack of any one of these vitamins causes a poison called homocysteine to accumulate in your bloodstream, punch holes in your arteries and form plaques.

Vitamin B12 is found only in foods from animals such as meat, fish , chicken, dairy products or eggs. In this study, 26 percent of vegetarians, 78 percent of vegans (who eat no eggs or dairy products) and none of the omnivores had low blood levels of vitamin B12. Twenty-nine percent of the vegetarians and only five percent of omnivores had high blood levels of homocysteine that causes heart attacks. Even though a vegetarian diet can lower serum cholesterol, it can raise blood homocysteine levels to increase risk for a heart attack.

May-June 2000 Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism.


Copyright 2002
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.

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