Please note: The content of this post is my own, unless the technical terms is too hard to explain, then the content is copy and pasted. I am not a medical professional and thus the post is my point of view. But the content is science-based and credible. Just because it is a new science, does not necessarily make it quackery. Always consult your doctor first before trying a new treatment.
- an amino acid which occurs in the body as an intermediate in the metabolism of methionine and cysteine.
Even though making sure that your methylation cycle is working optimally, making sure your homocysteine levels is balance is more important.
Many factors are thought to raise levels of homocysteine – poor diet, poor lifestyle especially smoking and high coffee and alcohol intake, some prescription drugs, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and poor thyroid function. Raised levels are also associated with chronic inflammatory diseases in general, and some intestinal disorders such as coeliac and Crohn’s diseases. Levels increase with age and higher levels are more common in men than women. Levels of homocysteine can increase with oestrogen deficiency and with some long term medications, including corticosteroids. Strict vegetarians and vegans may also be at risk and people who suffer from stress. As with cholesterol, family history and genetic make-up can play a part in causing raised levels as can obesity and lack of exercise. Even people with an active, healthy lifestyle may still be at risk, if there is a family history of high levels of homocysteine or disease.
At high levels, it can damage the lining of arteries and encourage blood clotting, this may raise your risk for coronary artery disease, heart attacks, blood clots, and strokes.
High levels of homocysteine may be cause by low levels of:
- Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin)
- Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B-9 (folic acid, folate)
Researchers suggest that:
|Blood reference ranges for homocysteine:|
|Sex||Age||Lower limit||Upper limit||Unit||Elevated||Therapeutic target|
|Female||12–19 years||3.3||7.2||μmol/L||> 10.4 μmol/L
> 140 μg/dl
|< 6.3 μmol/L
< 85 μg/dL
|Male||12–19 years||4.3||9.9||μmol/L||> 11.4 μmol/L
> 150 μg/dL
Many people suffering from cardiovascular disease, stroke, migraines, and dementia could be suffering from the adverse effects of elevated levels of homocysteine in their blood. This condition has also been linked to other problems, including osteoporosis, birth defects, [simple_tooltip content=’Macular Degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The retina’s central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and it controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.’]macular degeneration[/simple_tooltip], and certain types of cancer.
In most cases, doctors will not consider testing for homocysteine and could therefore be treating their patients without success. Most health-conscious people know their cholesterol level but few know their equally important homocysteine number.
Homocysteine is still part of your MTHFR cycle, however the MTHFR mutations appear to be medically irrelevant, so long as an individual’s homocysteine level is normal. Therefore, it should be the homocysteine level, not the MTHFR genetic status, that is tested when looking at the conditions mentioned above.
Again we see that your B- Vitamins plays an important roll. Your CBS pathway – the liver pathway or the detox pathway starts with homocysteine.
How Often Should Homocysteine Levels Be Checked?
Once an elevated level has been found and folic acid and/or vitamin B6 and B12 therapy is initiated, it is worthwhile to recheck a level about 2 months later to make sure that it has normalized. If it has not normalized, the dose of folic acid or vitamin B6 and B12 can be increased. It is reasonable to then recheck levels another 2 months later.