Rethinking a Heart-Disease Risk

Homocysteine may be less dangerous than we thought. But some folks still need to watch it

If you follow medical news even casually, you have probably heard about homocysteine. Over the past few years, this amino acid, produced in the body, has been implicated as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease--maybe even more important than LDL, or "bad cholesterol." According to many studies, elevated homocysteine levels can triple the chance that you'll get heart disease and significantly increase your risk of stroke--and maybe of Alzheimer's disease as well. Researchers even have a plausible explanation: homocysteine seems to damage the internal walls of the arteries--a major source of cardiovascular problems.

But other studies have failed to find...

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