Researchers from the University of Michigan state that Americans could live longer by lowering homocysteine with the use of vitamin supplementation. In a study appearing in the December 11, 2004 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, based on a computer model that takes into account the harmful effect of homocysteine. People with low homocysteine have a lower risk for heart disease than people with high homocysteine. It is possible that in the United States, high homocysteine levels may be responsible for between 6% and 10% of deaths due to heart disease.

Taking adequate amounts of folic acid and vitamin B12 will lower homocysteine levels. The study looked at the relative cost of a multivitamin and showed that even small reductions in heart-related deaths justify the minimal cost. According to Mark Fendrick, M.D., co-author of the study, “Homocysteine is a notable case of a known medical risk where we strongly suspect a possible benefit from an inexpensive intervention. This conservatively designed study suggests that the benefit doesn’t need to be very large to make the intervention worthwhile,”