How high is your Homocysteine?

What is Homocysteine? Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid that the body, under normal circumstances, converts to methionine (a powerful antioxidant). However, when the body’s chemistry is out of balance, homocysteine levels increase and it becomes toxic.
What does high homocysteine do? High homocysteine is linked to more than 100 serious medical conditions including heart attack and coronary heart disease (homocysteine is more predictive than cholesterol in assessing cardiovascular disease risk) as well as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, weight loss, thyroid disease, depression, problem pregnancies, miscarriage and birth defects.
Am I at risk? People at high risk include those with a poor diet (low fruit and veg, high sugar, fat and alcohol), do little exercise, are overweight, suffer from diabetes, smoke, drink too much alcohol and coffee. Levels may also increase with age, stress, low oestrogen levels, some medications such as corticosteroids and strict vegetarian and vegan diets.
How do I know what my Homocysteine level is? The only way to find out is with a simple blood test. Unfortunately this test is not available from the NHS but I can arrange one for you at our local Nuffield hospital.
How do I reduce my risk? Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and less sugar and saturated fat, exercise regularly, control your weight, don’t smoke, drink alcohol and coffee in moderation. BUT if your homocysteine is high, changing your diet will not be enough. Supplementing with folic acid, B6 and B12 will help reduce the level (usually within 3 months) and once normal can be maintained by diet and exercise.
If you would like to find out more or arrange a Homocysteine test, please contact me.  

Written by

Claudia Williamson Registered Nutritional Therapist DipION, FdSc, mBANT, mCHNC Tunbridge Wells, Kent