The Defy Aging Newsletter

Anti-aging psychology, holistic health, and wellness

a biweekly e-mail newsletter for helping you think, feel, look, and be more youthful and live with purpose.

Number 142

This issue:

Blood Tests (part 2)


When you have your annual physical, include blood testing for fibrinogen, homocystine, Hemoglobin A1C, and possibly C-reactive protein.


I normally focus on what I know best—what it takes mentally to grow young and live with purpose. Sometimes, news about physical health issues is so noteworthy that I address it as well. The research source that I have grown to trust the most for health news is the nonprofit organization, the Life Extension Foundation. It has a history of championing causes ten years before mainstream medicine and federal agencies acknowledge the problem or remedy.

Everyone agrees that exercise and good nutrition are vital to cardiovascular health. For the past decade, cardiologists have focused on cholesterol in the battle against heart disease—initially on total cholesterol and later on keeping HDL high and LDL low.

The Life Extension Foundation’s research indicates several factors foster cardiovascular problems and cholesterol probably isn’t the most important factor–certainly not the preeminent factor. One factor that causes a lot of problems is homocystine. Homocystine is an amino acid found primarily in meat. Some people's bodies are more effective than other's in breaking down homocystine. When homocystine accumulates, it causes arteriosclerosis, even when cholesterol levels are normal.

A few decades ago homocystine testing was very expensive and could only be performed in a few dozen research labs. Now it is a routine test but most physicians haven't added it to annual checkups. As the research on homocystine damage accumulates, physicians have lowered recommended levels from less than 11 to less than 7umol/L. When compared with <7, the risk of stoke increases 26% at 7-9, 31% 9-11, and 74% above 11. Homocystine also appears to contribute to developing Alzheimer's disease. Fortunately, homocystine levels usually abate with reduced meat consumption and/or with a combination of Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, folic acid, and trimethylglycine (TMG or betaine).

Increasingly researchers are finding the two processes that contribute the most to cardiovascular problems are inflammation and erratic blood sugar levels. The C-reactive protein test is emerging as an effective marker for early stage cardiovascular problems in people who have not shown symptoms. A fasting blood sugar level gives a snapshot of blood sugar levels on a given day. The A1C test, however, is the best measure of blood sugar level stability over a several week time period. Thus it is an excellent test for early stages of diabetes.

Testing fibrinogen, homocystine, Hemoglobin A1C, and possibly C-reactive protein levels in an annual physical may catch a problem early and help prevent serious disability.


The best doctors in the world are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet, and Dr. Merryman.



After talking with the intern, the woman started screaming hysterically and ran down the hall. An older doctor stopped and asked her what the problem was. She explained and he marched down the hall and grilled the young doctor, "What's the matter with you? Mrs. Terry is 63 years old and you told her she's pregnant?" The new doctor smiled smugly and said, "Cured her hiccups though, didn't it?"

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"Dr. Michael Brickey, The Anti-Aging Psychologist, teaches people to think, feel, look and be more youthful. He is an inspiring keynote speaker and Oprah-featured author. His works include:  Defy Aging, 52 baby steps to Grow Young, and Reverse Aging (anti-aging hypnosis CDs). Visit for a free report on anti-aging secrets and a free newsletter with practical anti-aging tips."

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