The relationship between increased homocysteine levels and heart disease is well established in the medical community. Yet unlike the other three predictors of heart disease, i.e. cholesterol, triglycerides and C Reactive Protein (CRP), homocysteine levels are influenced by what you DON’T eat rather than what you do eat.
Approximately 10% of coronary deaths can be attributed to high levels of homocysteine in the blood.
What is homocysteine?
Homocysteine is an abnormal protein that is created when a specific amino acid called methionine is metabolized in the body. In most people it is quickly cleared out of the arteries and therefore does not create a problem. However, for some people homocysteine is not efficiently cleared out and can pose significant health risks, including damaging the lining of the arteries and thickening the blood.
What causes elevated homocysteine levels in the blood?
Studies have shown that high levels of homocysteine are caused by a lack of nutrients in the diet, particularly the B group of vitamins. Without these essential vitamins your body is unable to produce the enzymes necessary to remove homocysteine efficiently from your blood. Homocysteine will cause damage to your arteries when present in very high concentrations.
Other causes may include aging, drug and alcohol use, impaired kidney function, problems with B12 absorption, smoking and obesity.
How can you treat homocysteine and lower your risk?
A lack of B Vitamins leads to elevated homocysteine levels which is why vegetarians are particularly at risk due to the lack of meat in their diets. Fortunately the situation is easily treatable. In the late 60’s Dr. Kilmer McCully determined through extensive research that taking adequate amounts of folic acid (vitamin B9), along with vitamins B6 and B12 will help homocysteine levels normalize.
What are the ideal levels?
The normal level of homocysteine in your blood should be up to 15 micro mol/L. This is level in the average healthy person.
The optimal level of homocysteine in your blood would be under 7 micro mol/L.
Make sure you get a homocysteine test as part of your next visit to the doctor, or on your own at a licensed medical facility. A homocysteine test along with the three other blood tests we discuss on this site, will indicate whether or not you are at risk of developing heart disease.
A High Quality B Vitamin Supplement May Help Lower Homocysteine
We have been taking a specially formulated product called Total Balance as our core nutritional supplement. It has replaced the poor quality multivitamin we had been taking for years. Through our extensive research, we discovered that not only do the ingredients in a supplement need to be of the highest quality, they also need to be perfectly blended in order to offer the most therapeutic benefits.
We have learned that minerals, herbal extracts, amino acids and other nutrients can enhance the health benefits of vitamins, offering more therapeutic value than vitamins on their own. See for yourself how Total Balance with the entire family of B Vitamins may help lower homocysteine levels and improve your heart health today.
Nutrients to Lower Homocysteine Levels Naturally
Increased homocysteine and heart disease are strongly linked. Following are some of the important dietary supplements for lowering homocysteine levels:
Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) – more readily available in supplement form than from food, folic acid can decrease homocysteine levels among other health benefits.
Vitamin B6 – also known as pyridoxine, B6 is essential for the metabolism homocysteine, as well as carbohydrates and lipids.
Vitamin B12 – an essential vitamin for the body’s ability to use folic acid, B12 also helps with red blood cell production and cell growth.
Vitamin B2 – another member of the B family, B2 is involved in breaking down homocysteine into its more beneficial components, SAMe and glutathione.
Vitamin C – this was shown in a study of Italian smokers to help reduce homocysteine levels significantly.
Zinc, Magnesium, TMG – important minerals/nutrients that help lower homocysteine levels
You can find out about some of the other health applications of these nutrients as well as other important heart health nutrients throughout this site.