Call Toll Free – Australia 1 800 719 673 / USA & Canada 1 800 810 4796

Why Is It Important To Know Your Homocysteine Level?

Written by

Deborah Freudenmann BHSc

Measuring your homocysteine levels is recommended for the early diagnosis of several disorders. The abnormal levels of homocysteine in the blood could provide insights into the potential risks of developing certain diseases.

In healthy circumstances homocysteine is broken down, however factors such as nutritional deficiencies, certain medications or conditions can lead to excess homocysteine levels. High homocysteine has been linked to various health issues such as atherosclerosis, stroke, diabetes complications, neurological diseases, osteoporosis, depression, erectile dysfunction and pregnancy complications.

Here is a brief discussion about what homocysteine is and why it is important to know your homocysteine levels.

What is homocysteine?

Homocysteine is one of the amino acids that play a role in the metabolism of proteins. An increased homocysteine level can lead to a state called hyperhomocysteinemia that is known to contribute to the formation of abnormal clots in the blood vessels as well as arterial damage.

Homocysteine is the beginning of the methylation cycle but also the end. If your body is healthy and the methylation cycle is working properly, homocysteine gets scooped up, methylated and eventually turned into S-adenosylmethionine – and the process starts again.

Once the cycle has ended and S-adenosylmethionine has handed off all the methyl groups, what happens to homocysteine?

Homocysteine, is the left-over by-product of methylation. It can either be methylated and going back into the cycle or it is used to make glutathione a key antioxidant/detox biochemical.

The circulating level of homocysteine usually tends to be lower due to its rapid metabolism through certain pathways including the folate and cobalamin (vitamin B12) dependent re-methylation pathways that regenerate methionine, as well as the PLP (pyridoxal 5’ phosphate) dependent trans-sulphuration pathway, which involves the conversion of homocysteine to cysteine.

An abnormal level of homocysteine could indicate an abnormality related to these pathways thus pointing to the possible diagnosis of diseases linked to abnormal methylation.

What is the optimal level of homocysteine?

In functional medicine we strive for optimal values of homocysteine between 6-8 umol/L for males and females.

However, the level of homocysteine lower than 15 mcmol/L (micromoles per liter) of blood is considered normal in conventional practices. In some clinics they start questioning anything above 11 umol/L as the upper end of what is considered acceptable.

If you have low homocysteine, you won’t have enough homocysteine for both methylation and glutathione. If your homocysteine is too high, this blocks methylation which affects numerous pathways and thus is correlated to many disease states.

Studies have revealed that men are more likely to have an increased level of homocysteine than women. Research studies have also revealed that homocysteine levels may also rise due to aging.  This is a critical factor that links the increased homocysteine levels to the higher risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s through the abnormalities in the methylation processes.

These findings suggest that it is important to avoid and correct the disturbances in the methylation processes in order to maintain normal levels of homocysteine in the blood.

What can cause a disrupted homocysteine metabolism?

The deficiencies of vitamin B6, B12, and folate are the common cause of increased homocysteine levels.

  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Medications
  • Heavy metals and toxins
  • Folic acid (this synthetic form blocks your folate receptors)
  • Yeast overgrowth
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as SIBO
  • Infection
  • Lack of needed nutrients
  • Psychological stress
  • Diet
  • Alcohol
  • Other diseases/conditions (diabetes, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid function)
  • MTHFR impairement

Consequences of high homocysteine

The increased homocysteine level is associated with a higher risk of mortality. It is estimated that every 5 µmol rise in the homocysteine levels per liter of blood can lead to a 33.6% increase in the mortality risk.

Increased homocysteine levels, if not detected and treated early, may lead to serious complications such as:

  • Heart attacks
  • Aortic aneurysm that occurs due to the development of an abnormal bulge in the aorta
  • Inhibiting antioxidant enzyme activity
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Increased oxidative stress
  • Inflammation
  • End-stage renal disease
  • Osteoporosis that occurs due to the weakness of the bones with loss of bone density
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease, a disorder affecting the central nervous system
  • Multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the brain and spinal cord
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Cerebrovascular stroke
  • Damage to the structure and function of proteins
  • Epilepsy
  • Eclampsia characterized by the onset of seizures in pregnant women due to high blood pressure

 

The elevated homocysteine level may also enhance the complications linked to hypertension, smoking, and chronic inflammation thereby contributing to the risk of mortality.

Functional medicine approach to the management of high homocysteine

Nutrients

B vitamins are the main therapeutic agents used to treat elevated or high levels of homocysteine. In general, the combined use of vitamin B12, folate and B6 is effective in lowering homocysteine levels. It is important to note that B vitamins should be taken in the methylated form and not synthetic.

In addition to a methylated vitamin B complex, other nutrients which have been shown to be effective include choline, betaine, omega-3 fatty acids, N-acetylcysteine and magnesium.

The role of diet

Poor dietary nutrition and unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption are closely linked to the increased homocysteine levels in the blood. The homocysteine levels have been found to be higher in patients who have suffered a heart attack and stroke indicating the importance of measuring homocysteine levels to predict the risks of these diseases.

The lack of nutrients in the diet and unhealthy lifestyle habits may also play a role in triggering abnormal homocysteine metabolism in patients with Turner syndrome.

The results of these studies have suggested that improving dietary and lifestyle habits and ensuring that your body is not deprived of essential nutrients could help to avoid the rise in homocysteine levels. This would protect you against the disorders linked to the increased homocysteine level and reduce the risk of complications including mortality.

Exercise

Regular exercise, especially resistance exercises has been found to be beneficial for maintaining normal homocysteine levels in the blood. Resistance exercises may reduce plasma homocysteine levels and inhibit the development of diseases caused due to abnormal homocysteine metabolism.

Stress

Chronic stress results in methyl group depletion which can interfere with optimal methylation and thus contribute to elevated homocysteine levels. Therefore, it is important to address stress through lifestyle means and often with some supportive supplementation.

Conclusion

Measuring your homocysteine levels at regular intervals is recommended for assessing the body’s nutritional status and predicting the risk of diseases linked to abnormal homocysteine levels and methylation issues.

  • Become A TRULY HEAL Functional Medicine Health Coach

    Start an exciting career as a functional medicine health coach and help your clients live a healthier and more fulfilled life.

  • The FREE Functional Medicine Training will give you insights into the workings of a TRULYHEAL Health Coach. You will learn that treating the patient and not the disease makes the real difference.

  • Learn how to save thousands of $$ for treatments you can easily do at home. 

  • Watch “TRULY HEAL from CANCER” now completely Free! You have also access to the original version “CANCER is curable NOW”

  • Learn more about PEMF Therapy at the PEMF Expert academy

  • At the O3 academy we will show you how to set up a little home clinic to treat many different maladies like open wounds, infections, cancer or even leaky gut. 

  • At the HYPERTHERMIA academy you can learn how every German clinic uses fever therapy once a week to boost the immune system, increase white blood cell count and detoxifies the body like little else. 

  • Providing You Truly Unique & Effective Vitamin Supplements

  • 6 Responses

    1. Great information . I have been aware of our homocysteine levels playing a big role in our heart health, I enjoyed seeing this explanation. Thank You

      1. Hello Randy, you can test your homocysteine levels via a blood test. This can be requested at every GP! It is good to be tested as it can give you insights in your methylation. Warmest regards, Deborah

      1. Hello Skye,

        Excellent question. If you have low homocysteine, this means you may not have enough homocysteine for both methylation and making glutathione.

        It’s important to look at why your body has low homocysteine in the first place?

        – High demand for glutathione is a factor to consider. Are you struggling with high amounts of inflammation, chronic stress or free radical exposure?
        If yes, it’s important to balance this overuse of glutathione. Minimising stress levels, supporting your adrenals, improving sleep and reducing inflammation.
        Of course, you can consider taking liposomal glutathione complex (quicksilver scientific has a great one with all the appropriate co-factors) if this is a major culprit but again, remember the ask “WHY”

        – Do you consume a limited or low amount of protein? Protein is really important to ensure you are getting enough building blocks. Then it’s important not only to consume quality protein but also be able to digest, breakdown and absorb these nutrients. Stress, and eating while on the go are two common culprits. However, digestive function should be analysed properly, how is your microbiome functioning, do we have pathogenic overgrowth? You can support through digestive enzymes and herbs to help with digestion and nutrient uptake.

        – Cysteine, cysteine, cysteine! Cysteine is very important for many reactions. If cysteine levels are low, the body will break down glutathione in order to provide it! So not only does one become low in homocysteine, but also glutathione. Therefore it is important to consume sulfur rich foods.

        – Are you over methylating??? Sometimes individuals can be taking too much or doing too much which results in over-methylation and can lower your homocysteine levels too much.

        I hope this has provided you with a little further clarification on how to address or look at why your homocysteine is low and also how to start raising it.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Related Articles

    Education

    Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer ~ A Therapy Which Does Wonders​

    DI assume you’ve already heard about nasal application of Red Light or Near Infrared light. The 655 nanometer Red Laser makes your nose glow red at night. Hence the name. The 810 nanometer Near Infrared Light does not have a visible light but therefore penetrates deep into your brain. We will discuss the differences below.
    Both treatments improve your immune function, energy, sleep, mental function, relieve depression and reduce headaches.
    You can use these non-invasive therapies whether you’re relaxing at home, cooking in the kitchen or literally on the go.

    Read More »
    Education

    How Does Your Body Work?

    Did you know that no organ in your body exists in isolation? Everything is connected. Your thyroid, your bones, your gums, your gut…every part of you makes up the bigger picture.
    If you want to heal from the root, you have to understand how your body really works. That’s why everything we teach at Truly Heal is based on how the body’s many systems work together.
    When you understand how every organ has its role, and how each part of the body impacts the others, you can finally understand what causes imbalances and illness. You can remove the root causes of disease, regain balance, and live a truly healthy life!

    Read More »
    Education

    Do You Suffer From Candida?

    The overgrowth of Candida in the gut can lead to serious consequences as these fungi have the ability to burrow holes in the walls of the intestine and enter the bloodstream causing widespread damage. This can allow the yeast to grow, proliferate, and dominate some parts of the body.
    Thus, appropriate lifestyle measures must be adopted to heal Candida infection and restore balance in the body’s internal ecosystem…

    Read More »
    Education

    What Are The Causes Of Infertility In Men And Women?

    Many couples eagerly look forward to the day when they can welcome a new baby to their family. Unfortunately, putting a “bun in the oven” is becoming more and more difficult for couples around the world.
    Over the past several decades, infertility rates have risen as reproductive health issues become more common. In fact, it is estimated that at least 10% of women struggle to get or stay pregnant.
    Why are modern couples struggling to grow their families?

    Read More »
    Education

    Surgery, Wound Healing & Nutrition

    Nutrition is one of the most critical factors that play a role in the recovery of patients following surgeries, especially those performed for the management of cancer. The process of wound healing after surgery and the faster recovery from cancer is dependent on the amount of vital nutrients that the body receives.

    Read More »
    Education

    Dr. Rau – MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome

    Unclear and Non-Definable Diseases (often called « NDD ») tremendously increase in frequency, nearly worldwide. Many ailments are non-definable, therefore these health problems are not recognized by orthodox medicine. But still, they are serious diseases, examples are:

    “Irritable bowel syndrome”
    “autonomic dysfunction syndrome”
    “Infection susceptibility syndrome”
    Chronic fatigue syndrome
    MCS (= Multiple Chemical Sensitivity syndrome”)
    “Leaky gut syndrome”
    Fibromyalgia syndrome – and many others.
    Mast cell activation syndrome / Histamin sensitivity
    EMF sensitivity syndrome (oversensitivity to electromagnetic exposures – very often in combination with MCS!

    Read More »

    UNLOCK ALL HIDDEN content

    Trulyheal Course DVD

    Create your FREE account now to access all locked content and receive our weekly newsletter

    You will get instant access to the documentary “TRULY HEAL from CANCER” and our Functional Medicine Training Videos

    You can unsubscribe at any time.

    By signing up to the TRULY HEAL academy you confirm to have read and accepted the disclaimer

    Already have an Account?

    Lost your password?

    Sign in with Social Media

    Register your FREE account

    • Type your password.

    contact us

    Contact us with your preferred method. Calls are redirected to Qld Australia.  
    If we are not answering leave a message so we can call you back.

    TRULY HEAL Pty. Ltd.

    Sunshine Coast Noosaville Qld 4566 Australia

    INTERNET:  www.trulyheal.com       
    EMAIL:   contact@trulyheal.com 
       
    TOOL FREE CALL

    Australia   1 800 719 673
    USA & Canada    1 800 810 4796
     
    Calls are redirected to Australia. Please leave a message so we can call you back.   

    SKYPE:  deborah-freudenmann
    WHATSAPP    +61 499651419
     

    ABN:   32 621 367 557
    ACN:   621 367 557

    Due to new regulations a lot of our content is hidden and can only be accessed by logged in members. Membership is FREE.

    Already have an Account?

    Register your FREE account

    • Type your password.