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CHEM 181
David Harpp

pages 133136 SPINACH AND THE B VITAMINSSpinach is an outstanding source of folic acid a B vitamin which is increasingly being linked with a plethora of health benefitsIn 1969 Dr Kilmer McCully was investigating the case of an 8 year old boy who died from a stroke because he was suffering from homocystinuria a condition where homocysteine builds up in the blood Homocysteine is a metabolite of methionine and usually homocysteine is rapidly metabolized Looking at the childs arteries they were as clogged as an old mans McCully wondered if his death was really due to homocysteine o Dr McCullys conclusion from studying more children with this condition was that children with high homocysteine showed artery damage typical of that seen in older men He injected homocysteine into rabbits and showed artery damage Therefore he suggested that homocysteine was a risk factor for heart disease with damage being done quicker with higher levels of homocysteine o But he ended up getting firedbecause it was more accepted at the time that cholesterol was the number one culprit o However he was eventually vindicated when a 1992 Harvard study showed that those whose blood levels of homocysteine were in the top 5 had a heart attack risk that was three times greater than that seen in subjects with the lowest levels Other studies showed similar resultsHowever knowing a risk factor is only good if you can then do something about it It turns out that you can o Homocysteine forms through the action of certain enzymes
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