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Thromb Res. 1997 May 15;86(4):333-5.

Homocysteine in Greenland Inuits.

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Department of Medical Gastroenterology, Aalborg Hospital, Denmark.


Patients with homozygous homocystinuria are at greatly increased risk for development of atherosclerosis and thrombosis (1). Elevated plasma levels of homocysteine (HCY) are caused by reduced enzymatic catabolism or reduced enzymatic remethylation of HCY, due to either hereditary enzyme defects or to nutritional deficiencies of vitamins functioning as cofactors. However, several recent studies have suggested that persons with mildly elevated plasma levels of HCY also are at increased risk for coronary heart disease. (2-4). There are some indications that dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may offer protection against coronary heart disease (5-6). Several mechanisms may be involved, including beneficial effects of n-3 PUFAs on plasma lipids, platelet and leukocyte reactivity, blood pressure and vasoreactivity (7). Interestingly, Olszewski el al. recently found HCY-levels to be lowered 36% in 15 type IIa or IIb hyperlipemic men by n-3 PUFA supplementation. A possible beneficial effect of n-3 PUFA on the incidence of coronary heart disease was initially suggested from studies in Greenland Inuits by our group (8). We therefore investigated plasma levels of homocysteine in a group of traditionally living Greenland Inuits with a diet consisting mainly of marine food and with a very high content of n-3 PUFAs.

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