2001, Number 4
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ABSTRACTCardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in Mexico, as well as in other Western countries. Conventional risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as cigarette smoking, systemic hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and hypercholesterolemia, do not explain this association completely. Recently, it has been recognized that hyperhomocysteinemia contributes to the atherosclerotic process, promoting endothelial damage and oxidative stress in the vascular wall. Homocysteine, an amino acid generated under physiologic conditions after ingestion of protein-rich foods, is used in a variety of metabolic pathways. Elevated plasma levels of this amino acid (higher than 15 mmol/L or lower in the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors) promote the development of atherosclerosis. Folic acid and vitamin B 6 and B 12 supplements decrease plasma levels of homocysteine effectively and may play an important role in the prevention and treatment of atherosclerotic vascular disease.
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