Thursday, April 18, 2013

What is Homocysteine and Why You Should Know About It?

What is homocysteine and why you should know about it?

I think knowing your homocysteine level is paramount to preventing and treating cardiac, neurological, psychiatric conditions as well as cancer. 

Why take a Homocysteine Test? - watch this

In summary, a homocysteine (H) test is suitable for anyone that is concerned about their heart health,strokes or abnormal clotting. A recent review of the research on H suggested that each 3 umol/L point decrease in the H levels might, on average reduce the risk of:

-heart attacks by 16%
-strokes by 24%
-DVT (deep vein thrombosis) by 25%

Here you can read what Dr. McIntyre says about taking supplements to normalize the metabolism of homocysteine, if you should find it above 8. They are safe, effective and without side effects. What more can you want, to easily add years of healthy life.

I've highlighted some areas and added the bold.


This week’s blog will focus on the subject of homocysteine. You can see from below that I have included the same methylation diagram from last week. In the middle of this diagram you can see homocysteine. So what is it and why is it important?

Homocysteine is an amino acid formed by the removal of a methyl group from methionine. Unfortunately, it has been shown that homocysteine is toxic at high levels. It has been implicated in a number of inflammatory processes in the body including increasing risk of cardiovascular, diabetes, bone and neurocognitive diseases. A physician’s health study revealed that men with higher homocysteine levels had a threefold higher risk of coronary events.

Levels of homocysteine can be measured via blood test. Optimal ranges do vary depending on age and gender but a goal of having a level of 6 ┬Ámol/L or less is considered optimal. If you are at all concerned about preventative medicine and an anti-aging approach, knowing your homocysteine level is a must in my opinion.
Homocysteine can be methylated back into methionine via trimethylglycine (betaine) and an enzyme called BHMT. In addition, homocysteine can also be re-methylated via the enzyme MS (methionine synthase), which is very dependent on methyl B12 for its reaction. For homocysteine to be converted downstream to cysteine, vitamin B6 is a required cofactor.

You can see the importance of all of these vitamin cofactors to make sure that homocysteine is dealt with in an efficient and effective manner. I want to again feature the AOR product MaxMethyl as a product to help you achieve healthy homocysteine levels. With therapeutic levels of TMG (Betaine) ,B6, folate and B12,it has been formulated to include the necessary ingredients for the proper methlyation of homocysteine.

One study using the combination of ingredients in MaxMethyl was shown to significantly reduce levels of homocysteine after just 6 weeks of supplementation. Happy methylating!


Galway, J.G. Metabolism at a Glance. 2nd Ed. 1999. P.54.

Thanks to the folks at AOR for the use of this blog entry.

To your health.
Dr. Barbara


  1. After reading another one of your posts about the importance of homocysteine, I had my levels checked. I'm at 7. Thanks again for the informative posts!

  2. Dear Brockway,
    I'm very glad to get your feedback. You don't have to worry about silent preventable illnesses caused or aggravated by the metabolic marker homocysteine.

    I never mentioned what to do next if it is below 8:If and when you have a change in your health, have to take medications or change your diet, you would want to do another Homocysteine reading. Or every three or so years.

    I have seen homocysteine rise significantly from new gum or dental disease.In one case no other cause could be found except a new root canal treatment. As the homocysteine kept going higher, the affected tooth started to pain ever so slightly.

    The trouble with elevated homocysteine levels is that you can't feel it. Only a blood test measurement gives you the information you need.

    All the best.
    Dr. Barbara