Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is a breakdown product of the essential amino acid methionine. If your levels are high you may be at risk for coronary problems, cancer, deep vein thrombosis, stroke, kidney disease, hypothyroidism and reduced physical performance in older women. High levels also have been linked to aging eye disease such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
Normally homocysteine is converted into a harmless amino, cysteine or back into methionine but gluten sensitivity may increase the buildup and thwart its normal conversion. The usual problem is low B vitamins and low folate (B9)* which helps homocysteine normalize as well low levels of B6 and B12. Since stomach acid is required to produce B12 and adequate folic acid absorption, the aging body may suffer because they have reduced stomach acid. Also if you use acid-blocking heartburn drugs to reduce stomach acid that will affect your ability to process the B vitamins.
Routine blood tests can confirm B vitamin deficiencies but you should also ask to have your homocysteine levels checked. If low and if you have stomach acid problems you may want to supplement.
*folic acid is the synthetic version of folate… not as good.
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Posted in Diseases of aging, Uncategorized
Tagged antiaging, disease of aging, glaucoma, heart attacks, high homosteine and heart, homocysteine, homocysteine levels, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, macular degeneration, stroke
So I went for my physical and lo and behold I had plaque in my artery – and me a vegetarian and organic food person! In my quest to find out why this had happened I discovered my homocysteine levels were elevated. What this meant is that high levels can raise heart disease risk independent of other known risk factors. High levels are also associated with depression, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease, age-related macular degeneration and more!
I was allergic to sulfur and so was put on a sulfur-free diet and my homocysteine levels came down. My nutritionist instructed me to then take methyl B12 and methyl Folate to help keep the homocysteine levels down and thus hope to reduce the plaque building in my artery. Another tested supplement to reduce homocysteine levels as shown in clinical studies is TMG (trimethylglycine). In clinical studies a daily dose of 6g reduced homocysteine by 15 percent (or a 6-9% reduction in cardiovascular disease). Folic acid reduced levels by 13-25 % with daily doses of 200-800 mcg and adding B12 at 500 mcg/day offered an additional 7% reduction as per clinical studies. These studies also revealed that folate may have a potential role as a supplement to help treat depression.
Studies also found that Alzheimer’s patients had higher homocysteine levels than controls, but more research is needed to confirm this. A study on 12 women who had both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome were found to have increased homocysteine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid. And other studies found that patients with elevated serum homocysteine and deficiencies in B12 and folate were found to be associated with an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration.
-excerpted from “High Homocysteine Levels and Nutraceutical Treatment” by Gene Bruno, MS, MHS; Vitamin Retailer, Sept. 2014