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Homocysteine and Your Heart

Cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides – these are the usual suspects when discussing heart health. You may even be familiar with the role inflammation plays in cardiovascular diseases. But have you ever heard about homocysteine? This less-known character holds a critical position in the heart health narrative, and its unchecked rise could lead to a plot twist you’d rather avoid.

What is Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is a familiar character in the world of biochemistry, yet it often stays below the radar for many people. It’s an amino acid, one of our bodies’ many crucial chemicals to build proteins. However, homocysteine stands out due to its double-edged nature: necessary but potentially harmful when levels climb too high.

Homocysteine is part of our body’s regular functioning. It is the backbone of methionine metabolism, an amino acid abundant in a protein lover’s menu – think meats, seafood, dairy, eggs, but also, sesame seeds and Brazil nuts. And as methionine is dismantled, who steps into the spotlight? None other than homocysteine.

Nature has provided our bodies with an efficient system to regulate homocysteine levels. The B vitamins – B12, B6, and B9 (folate)- assume the role of diligent janitors. They break down homocysteine, morphing it into other beneficial substances. The result? Only a trace of homocysteine is left loitering in our bloodstream, and that’s the way we want it. Because when homocysteine starts to pile up, health can take a nosedive.

Why High Homocysteine is Dangerous

The adage “too much of a good thing” finds a sobering application in the case of homocysteine. All is well when the body’s natural processes keep homocysteine at manageable levels. However, if homocysteine isn’t properly metabolized, it accumulates in the body, acting much like a toxin. This build-up triggers inflammation, spurring further harmful byproducts that can cause shifts in cardiovascular, neurological, and endocrine systems.

High homocysteine levels can cause significant damage to the arterial walls, essentially laying the groundwork for atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries. This complication is akin to a pipe becoming blocked over time. From there, the trouble brews further with endothelial dysfunction, a condition that impairs the inner lining of blood vessels. The final, dreaded consequence of this cascade? Heart attacks and strokes – health emergencies we all strive to avoid.

When homocysteine levels are high, they can trigger a chain reaction of excessive clotting, obstructing blood flow to critical body areas. A heart starved of its necessary blood flow may succumb to a heart attack, while a brain with an inadequate supply could see an accelerated path to dementia and possibly strokes. It’s a dangerous scenario that underlines the importance of keeping homocysteine in check.

The potential harm of elevated homocysteine levels isn’t limited to cardiovascular issues. Here’s a snapshot of other potential health risks:

  • Increased risk for heart problems, such as coronary artery disease, heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
  • Greater likelihood of cognitive problems, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other cognitive disorders.
  • Potential for skeletal problems, such as osteoporosis and developmental abnormalities in children.
  • Increased incidence of neurological problems, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, ADHD, autism, and other learning disabilities.
  • More common occurrences of mental abnormalities, like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

As this list illustrates, homocysteine is a silent saboteur that can lay the groundwork for many health problems if its levels are unchecked.

What Causes High Homocysteine Levels?

While the biochemical dance to regulate homocysteine is usually efficient, various factors can disrupt this balance. Lifestyle choices and genetic mutations can both trigger unwelcome elevations in homocysteine levels.

A diet steeped in sugar and processed foods can sap our vital B vitamins and magnesium supplies. These nutrients are key players in maintaining homocysteine equilibrium. Dietary imbalance, paired with gut dysbiosis – an upset in the gut’s microbial balance – can stifle the absorption of necessary nutrients.

In addition to diet and gut health, our genetic makeup can significantly impact homocysteine levels. Certain genetic anomalies, like the MTHFR gene mutation, can throw a spanner in the works of folate and B6 absorption and utilization. These vitamins are key players in the homocysteine management game, and any disruption in their absorption can open the floodgates for a sharp rise in homocysteine levels.

Three Natural Ways to Lower Homocysteine Levels

A significant step in managing homocysteine levels is embracing an organic, whole-food diet. This means sidestepping sugar, gluten, GMOs, and processed foods, and swapping them for foods brimming with natural nutrients.

Alongside this crucial dietary pivot, there are several natural products specifically designed to keep homocysteine in check:

  1. Kickstart My Heart

A nod to our hunter-gatherer ancestors, Kickstart My Heart offers the unmatched nutrient density found in the organs of free-range American Bison. Containing 400mg of freeze-dried Bison Liver and 100mg of freeze-dried Bison Heart, this supplement surpasses the benefits of any collagen powder.

Kickstart My Heart delivers a full deck of vitamins – A, D, E, K, and B, along with essential fatty acids and amino acids. It’s a powerhouse of CoQ10 and glutathione, too, making it a comprehensive nutrient replenisher. Designed to help you manage homocysteine levels, it doesn’t just give your heart a kickstart but also amplifies your overall health.

  1. Homocysteine Support

This comprehensive blend of five targeted nutrients supports methylation and homocysteine balance. Homocysteine Support is a powerful fusion of important B vitamins – B6, B12, B2, folate – and betaine. This potent combination promotes DNA repair, maintains homocysteine balance, fosters neurotransmitter production, ensures hormone balance, and supports optimal detoxification. With just one capsule a day, you’re investing in a robust defense against elevated homocysteine and an ally in your holistic health journey.

  1. Digest

Formulated by cardiologist Jack Wolfson, Digest is a unique blend of essential digestive enzymes and vital molecules like betaine hydrochloride. This specialized formulation aids in breaking down fats, proteins, and carbs, reducing stomach discomfort and addressing gut issues.

Furthermore, the betaine in Digest is crucial in lowering homocysteine levels. The outcome is a more comfortable, efficient digestive process and a tangible step towards managing your homocysteine levels.

Remember that keeping homocysteine levels balanced is vital in maintaining optimal heart health. With the right dietary choices and supportive supplements, you have the tools to keep homocysteine in check and your heart in rhythm.

In order to live well, one must eat well.

Get the Natural Heart Doctor approved Diet and discover how to eat for your 100 Year Heart.

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About Dr. Keith Smigiel NP, DC

Dr. Keith Smigiel

Dr. Keith Smigiel is a regenerative medicine physician and pain management specialist. He takes an integrative approach to medicine, focusing on customized solutions tailored to individual needs. Using advanced, non-surgical treatments, Dr. Smigiel stimulates your body’s ability to naturally heal itself.

Dr. Smigiel helps people suffering from conditions such as chronic pain and erectile dysfunction, to hair loss and weight gain. Combining treatments such as PRP Therapy, Ozone, Neural Prolotherapy, and IV Infusions with functional rehabilitation, he helps you look and feel better.

He heals the body, instead of just treating the symptoms!

With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

Dr. Smigiel is married to Angela and has two children, Sophia and Larz. When he’s not busy helping patients, he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, motocross, and boating.

About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

Beyond guideline-directed therapies, Kneller is passionate about optimized personal health. With a deep interest in complimentary alternative medicine (CAM), he strives to reduce the need for pharmaceuticals, invasive procedures, and exposure to harmful radiation. With Natural Heart Doctor, he strives to help each and every client to Live Well, Eat Well, and Think Well to attain their 100-year heart!

About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

Dr. Lattanza Office Visit with Patient

As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

Dr. Wolfson Office Visit with Patient

Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

Dr. Wolfson is the founder of Natural Heart Doctor Scottsdale, his heart health practice in Arizona, and Natural Heart Doctor, an online resource center with natural health information. Doctors from across the globe reach out to Dr. Wolfson for training and education in holistic health practices.

He has been named one of America’s Top Functional Medicine Doctors and is a five-time winner of the Natural Choice Awards as a holistic M.D. Dr. Wolfson’s work has been covered by more than 100 media outlets, including NBC, CNN, and the Washington Post. His book “The Paleo Cardiologist: The Natural Way to Heart Health” was an Amazon #1 best-seller.

Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.