I've always said that the different parts of the body are interrelated. What affects one part of your body will usually affect another part.

Scientists recently showed this is true of a chemical that's connected to heart disease. Not only does this chemical cause heart problems, but it can also cause your vision to fail.

The chemical is called homocysteine. Your body produces it normally. However, if you have deficient levels of certain B vitamins, homocysteine will build up and cause problems. High levels may result in atherosclerosis, which can lead to a heart attack. And now, research is connecting high levels with macular degeneration.

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In a new study, scientists measured the fasting homocysteine levels of 934 subjects in an ongoing eye study. Of that group, 547 people had macular degeneration and 387 controls did not have any sign of disease. The researchers also controlled for age and other factors. They found that homocysteine levels above 12 mmol were associated with a higher risk of macular degeneration.

Action to take: Here's another reason to monitor your homocysteine, a test I routinely perform. If you have macular degeneration, it's especially important that you ask your doctor to test you.

You can bring homocysteine levels down with a cocktail of vitamins B6 (100 mg), B12 (by injection), folic acid (800 mcg), and DMG (100 mg) or TMG (500 mg) taken daily.

I've found that supplemental vitamin B12 is the most beneficial of the group. This is one condition where I routinely resort to B12 injections. There are new and effective oral B12 supplements. But when it comes to lowering homocysteine, I never hesitate to use the injection.

Ref: American Journal of Ophthalmology, January 2006.

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