Peruse the aisles of any supermarket, and the message that cholesterol causes heart disease rings loud and clear. But soon attention will likely shift to another culprit: homocysteine. This amino acid is usually scant in the blood. But when slightly elevated, it may set the stage for the atherosclerosis that is so tightly linked to cholesterol. Controlling homocysteine level is a simple matter of taking more vitamins--folic acid in particular.

Donald Jacobsen
"In the future, a homocysteine test will be as common as a cholesterol test. If clinical trials show people with lowered homocysteine live longer, there will be millions performed each year," predicts Donald Jacobsen, director of the Laboratory for Homocysteine Research at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. In a truly international effort, a dozen clinical trials are tracking the effect of lowered blood homocysteine on heart health among 70,000 participants in the United States, England, Norway, Australia, Spain,...

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