Homocysteine And Its Function

Imagine living the same unhealthy life, and one day, death comes knocking on your door disguised as a heart attack or stroke. Yes. It can happen to anyone if you keep living the opposite of a healthy life. Ever thought about it? It’s time you better give it a good ponder.

If we look into the world today, more and more people are getting familiar with the importance of homocysteine as a potential health risk problem.

With each passing year, there have been more and more complaints about homocysteine, mainly due to the poor diet and lifestyle of the people. But many are still there who are unaware of this risk factor deadly disease.

So What Is Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is simply a common type of amino acid in your blood. It is a product of methionine metabolism, which your body produces naturally. The metabolism process of the homocysteine requires B-vitamins, including folate or folic acids, B12, Vitamin B6 and riboflavin. Homocysteine levels increase in the blood whenever a problem occurs during the metabolism process.

Furthermore, this elevation leads to hyperhomocysteine. Homocysteine at higher levels is dangerous as it may lead to many life-threatening issues like heart diseases, blood clotting, strokes, coronary artery disease, dementia, pregnancy problems, etc.

Homocysteine And Its Function

The Functions Of Homocysteine In A Nutshell:

It should be made clear that foods containing methionine are transformed or shaped into homocysteine which further gets converted into Cysteine in the bloodstream. And as you know, Cysteine is a necessary protein in the body with many roles.

It is highly responsible for the way proteins within the cells folds, maintaining their shape and linking them to each other. Metabolism of different metals like iron, zinc and copper is impossible without Cysteine. Furthermore, Cysteine also acts as an essential antioxidant.

How Do You Know Whether You Have A High Homocysteine Level?  And What Are The Symptoms?

You will have an elevated blood level of homocysteine if you have the symptoms of vitamin B or folic acid deficiency.

Symptoms of folate or folic acid deficiency include:

  • Fatigue
  • Mouth sores
  • Tongue swelling
  • Growth problems

Symptoms of Vitamin B deficiency include:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Sore tongue and mouth
  • Tingling sensations (on hands, arms, legs, feet)
  • Mood changes

Note to remember: Symptoms may vary from one person to the next and be subtle.

These may sound like normal, mild or minor complications of a typical body. But be alarmed; these symptoms may end up putting your life in danger if not taken good care of.

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So How Do I Lower My Homocysteine Levels?

They were not lying when they said, ‘eat your fruits and veggies.’ And it is true because eating fruits and leafy vegetables have always proved to be health beneficial.

Besides, people with higher fruit intake are more likely to have normal homocysteine and overall good health. Go for a plant-based diet. Foods with folic acid, vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 help reduce homocysteine levels. Without further a due, here are some vegetables that are good sources of folate:

  • Most beans
  • Whole grains
  • Asparagus
  • Lentils
  • Beets
  • Spinach

A healthy diet and lifestyle can help prevent the rise of homocysteine levels. Omega-3 fatty acid reduces the health risks related to hyperhomocysteine. You can also consume dairy products, meats, nuts, seeds, egg yolks which have essential nutrients needed in lowering and keeping the homocysteine level at normal.

What You Need To Know About Homocysteine

It goes out to all the red meat and dairy lovers. Consumption of red meat and dairy products in unhealthy quantities raises the homocysteine levels in the blink of an eye. Isn’t it something to ponder about?

You also might want to rethink your smoking habits, coffee intake, drug use and alcohol consumption, as these are heavy contributions to elevated homocysteine levels. Decrease or better eliminate all these toxic habits.  Your little moments of enjoyment will cost a lot for you in the future. Live wisely.

When it comes to homocysteine, it is better to live low-key.

Coming to the frequently asked question, Does B12 lower homocysteine levels?

Vitamin B12 does lower the homocysteine levels in the body. Treatment with folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 has been partly successful at reducing the homocysteine level and has appeared to be safe (not in all cases). However, the treatment and effects of the vitamin should be monitored timely to be on the safer side. But in some issues, medications with Vitamins B did not lower the risk of recurrent cardiovascular disease.

Vitamins such as folic acids, Vitamin B6 and B12 are all involved in breaking down homocysteine in the blood. Therefore, consuming foods that contain these vitamins may lower your homocysteine levels. And if you are a person with Vitamin deficiency, you can start your intake of Vitamin-B and folic acids after consultation with the doctor.

Yes, there is no cure for a person with a high homocysteine level. However, one can lower the elevation by taking good care of their health through healthy food, supplements and lifestyle.

Know your body! Nobody in the world knows you better than yourself. Do a favor and take a homocysteine test if you have these symptoms. Find out if you have a deficiency in Vitamin B6, B12 or folic acid and get treated at the earliest.

And if you happen to have a high homocysteine level, it means you are not getting enough vitamins or folic acid in your diet. In simple words, you are not living right. Know that you are walking on thin ice, and anything can happen if you don’t change your ways of living.

But do not panic. It just means that your eating habits and living lifestyle are unhealthy, and you need to change them. Consult your doctor. It’s high time you make a change in your life.

A famous person once said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their mindsets cannot change anything.” Remember, when the diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. When diet is correct, treatment is of no use.

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I've been a bodybuilder and fitness enthusiast for over 15 years. I'm also a Karate black belt and personal trainer with a PHD in sports nutrition.