What is homocysteine?
Homocysteine is a naturally produced, sulfur-containing amino acid that is metabolized to create other compounds that are essential for the body. High homocysteine levels are associated with elevated cardiovascular risk including coronary artery disease, heart attacks, blood clots, or strokes, and neurological disorders such as dementia.
Why is it under the Inflammation Axis?
One way in which homocysteine elevates cardiovascular risk is through a mechanism that activates monocytes, a type of immune cell that promotes an inflammatory response. Thus, higher homocysteine levels are linked to increased inflammation.
How can I better understand my results?
To assist in interpreting results, the American Heart Association outlined ranges that indicate normal levels of fasting plasma homocysteine in addition to moderate, intermediate, and severe hyperhomocysteinemia.
- Low: < 4 umol/L
- Optimal: 5-9 umol/L
- Normal: 5-15 umol/L
- Moderate: 16-30 umol/L
- Intermediate: 31-100 umol/L
- Severe: > 100 umol/L
High levels of homocysteine may be caused by low levels of B vitamins, thyroid or kidney diseases, medications, or genetic diseases. It is important to consult with your physician if you are concerned about any of your results.
If you have elevated homocysteine levels, you can try:
- Supplementing with B vitamins (B6, B12, folic acid)
- Limiting alcohol intake
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing stress
- Cutting back on coffee
- Regularly engaging in resistance training
Where can I learn more?
DISCLAIMER: IF YOU ARE CONCERNED WITH ANY OF YOUR RESULTS, PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN.