What Is Homocysteine And What To Do If You Have Too Much?

what is homocystein

What is homocysteine? This is a fairly new question that is becoming more common thanks to advances in heart health research.

Homocysteine is an amino acid that is found in your blood and elevated amounts have been linked to higher risk of heart attack, stroke and other related cardiovascular conditions.

This article shares the causes, how much is too much, what could happen if your level gets too high, and most importantly what you can do to lower your level.

What is homocysteine and what causes too much in your blood?

The amino acid homocysteine is produced by your body as a natural byproduct of eating meat. It is only when there is a problem with the normal breakdown of this amino acid that concerns are raised.

Homocysteine is chemically transformed in a healthy body into two similar amino acids (i.e. methionine and cysteine). This transformation is aided by folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 as well as some helpful enzymes.

If these vitamins or enzymes are not available in sufficient amounts the breakdown of homocysteine is impaired and it accumulates in your blood.

How much is too much?

To test your level of homocysteine your doctor will conduct a blood test. “Normal levels are in the range between 5 to 15 micromoles (measurement unit of small amount of a molecule) per liter. Elevated levels are classified as follows:

  • 15-30 micromoles per liter as moderate
  • 30-100 micromoles per liter as intermediate
  • Greater than 100 micromoles per liter as severe”

    (1)

    What is homocysteine and what happens if your level is too high?

    If your blood test reveals you have too much homocysteine in your blood, doctors and researchers believe this could be associated with atherosclerosis, which is the medical term for “hardening of the arteries”.

    In this condition the inner walls of your arteries accumulate plaque and over time narrow, leaving less room for blood to flow. This can lead to heart attack or stroke.

    There is also research supporting a connection between elevated levels of homocysteine and Alzheimer’s disease.

    What is homocysteine and how to lower your levels?

    Key vitamins help the breakdown of homocysteine in your body and it is important to eat foods and consume supplements high in these vitamins.

    Folic acid found in supplements or fortified cereals should be consumed regularly as well as vitamins B12 and B6.

    Also, regular visits to your doctor will help you stay on top of this condition and reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.

    (1) Medicine Net (2010). What is considered a high level of homocysteine. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/homocysteine/page2.htm

    What Is Homocysteine And What To Do If You Have Too Much? What is homocysteine? This is a fairly new question that is becoming more common thanks to advances in heart health research.

    Homocysteine is an amino acid that is found in your blood and elevated amounts have been linked to higher risk of heart attack, stroke and other related cardiovascular conditions.

    This article shares the causes, how much is too much, what could happen if your level gets too high, and most importantly what you can do to lower your level.

    What is homocysteine and what causes too much in your blood?

    The amino acid homocysteine is produced by your body as a natural byproduct of eating meat. It is only when there is a problem with the normal breakdown of this amino acid that concerns are raised.

    Homocysteine is chemically transformed in a healthy body into two similar amino acids (i.e. methionine and cysteine). This transformation is aided by folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 as well as some helpful enzymes.

    If these vitamins or enzymes are not available in sufficient amounts the breakdown of homocysteine is impaired and it accumulates in your blood.

    How much is too much?

    To test your level of homocysteine your doctor will conduct a blood test. “Normal levels are in the range between 5 to 15 micromoles (measurement unit of small amount of a molecule) per liter. Elevated levels are classified as follows:

    • 15-30 micromoles per liter as moderate
    • 30-100 micromoles per liter as intermediate
    • Greater than 100 micromoles per liter as severe” (1)
    What is homocysteine and what happens if your level is too high?

    If your blood test reveals you have too much homocysteine in your blood, doctors and researchers believe this could be associated with atherosclerosis, which is the medical term for “hardening of the arteries”.

    In this condition the inner walls of your arteries accumulate plaque and over time narrow, leaving less room for blood to flow. This can lead to heart attack or stroke.

    There is also research supporting a connection between elevated levels of homocysteine and Alzheimer’s disease.


    What is homocysteine and how to lower your levels?


    Key vitamins help the breakdown of homocysteine in your body and it is important to eat foods and consume supplements high in these vitamins.

    Folic acid found in supplements or fortified cereals should be consumed regularly as well as vitamins B12 and B6.

    Also, regular visits to your doctor will help you stay on top of this condition and reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke.

    (1) Medicine Net (2010). What is considered a high level of homocysteine. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/homocysteine/page2.htm



    Return to All-About-Lowering-Cholesterol.com Home.


    Explore More...



    New! Comments

    Ask A question Or Leave a comment in the box below.