Archive for the ‘Vitamin B’ Category

An Old Wives Tale

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

One of the old wives tales is that cholesterol is a key factor in heart disease. A lot of money has been funneled into its study and many scientists have based their careers on it. In the 1970s Dr. Kilmer McCully displaced this theory and lost his job over it. Today he is recognized for his study in homocysteine and its place in causing clogged arteries.

Part of the problem is who’s making the money. In this case it’s the pharmaceutical companies as they manufacture cholesterol-lowering drugs. Statin drugs are a 22 billion dollar a year industry. Dr. McCully’s simple method is take foods rich in vitamin B and take supplements as well. The drug companies can’t patent vitamin B so they try to discredit the scientific evidence for homocysteine being the real problem in heart disease.

Folate: What is it?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Folate is a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate that is found in supplements and added to fortified foods [1].

Folate gets its name from the Latin word “folium” for leaf. A key observation of researcher Lucy Wills nearly 70 years ago led to the identification of folate as the nutrient needed to prevent the anemia of pregnancy. Dr. Wills demonstrated that the anemia could be corrected by a yeast extract. Folate was identified as the corrective substance in yeast extract in the late 1930s, and was extracted from spinach leaves in 1941.

Folate helps produce and maintain new cells [2]. This is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy. Folate is needed to make DNA and RNA, the building blocks of cells. It also helps prevent changes to DNA that may lead to cancer [3]. Both adults and children need folate to make normal red blood cells and prevent anemia [4]. Folate is also essential for the metabolism of homocysteine, and helps maintain normal levels of this amino acid.