I bet you probably have never heard of homocysteine. Our body creates it as a normal part of certain metabolic pathways in particular, methylation and sulfuration. Homocysteine is an amino acid created during these body processes and has been linked to an increased risk of several adverse health conditions when your levels of homocysteine are elevated.
Under normal healthy conditions when homocysteine is created your body converts it to other healthy compounds called S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and glutathione. Both are powerful promoters of health in our bodies. However, to convert homocysteine to both SAM and glutathione your body needs adequate amounts of B6, B12 and Folate. If you don’t have adequate amounts consistently your homocysteine levels will continue to rise.
Individuals with the MTFHR gene mutation may have trouble converting synthetic B vitamins that have not be methylated or absorbing some B vitamins. Taking pre-methylated vitamins such as L-methylfolate (folate) or methylcobalamin (B12) are necessary in those cases.
High blood levels of homocysteine are a reliable risk factor for and may be associated with the following:
- Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
- Blood clots
- Thyroid-related health challenges
- Neurological conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
- Chronic Pain
- Digestive Disorders
Researchers conclude that elevated homocysteine levels are 40 times more of a predictor of heart disease than elevated cholesterol levels.
Homocysteine and B Vitamins
B Vitamins are very important for many functions in our bodies. In particular, B Vitamins are needed to create energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins. And new studies show they may also protect against dementia conditions like Alzheimer’s.
Another very important use is the control of homocysteine.
It shouldn’t surprise you that most Americans are not getting enough B6, B12 and Folate for overall health much less to keep homocysteine from causing major health issues like cancer, cardiovascular and heart disease.
To make sure homocysteine is not a problem you may want to ask your doctor for a blood test to measure your levels of homocysteine. You can also make sure you get plenty of B Vitamins everyday to keep you body’s level of B Vitamins high to support all the functions they are needed for.
A meal of salmon accompanied by lightly steamed broccoli or asparagus and a tossed salad that includes romaine lettuce, spinach, sweet red peppers, crimini mushrooms and parsley will do a lot more than taste great. It will provide B vitamins that are associated with the prevention of Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.
Best Sources of B Vitamins
With the exception of Nutritional Yeast and Algae’s, whole plant foods do not contain enough B12 to lower homocysteine. Nutritional Yeast has a bounty of B Vitamins including B12. Algae’s also contain a complete spectrum of B Vitamins.
- Leafy Greens
- Legumes (Beans, Peas, Lentils)
- Nutritional Yeast
- Organ Meats
- Fortified foods may contain certain B vitamins
Keeping Homocysteine at a healthy level is just one piece of our health puzzle. Getting our nutrition from real foods and not synthetic vitamins is also vitally important. Man can not create in a lab what God does naturally.
Eat real food!!
Wally Bishop I.N.H.C., C.N.C., C.I.C.P.
Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner
The contents of this blog is not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.