Homocysteine is a predictive health indicator that is taking the functional medicine world by storm. Homocysteine is an amino acid, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins which are found naturally in the body. Homocysteine is being hailed as being better than cholesterol at health prediction.
Homocysteine is made from another amino acid known as methionine. The methylation process is extremely important to the body, it is a biochemical process involved in almost all of the functions of the human body.
I won’t get into the nitty gritty of the biochemistry here, but generally what happens is that the body gives “methyl” groups or carbon and hydrogen like molecules to help regulate the body to use what it needs to survive, and remove what it doesn’t.
What is this pathway involved in:
- The stress (fight-or-flight) response and therefore adrenaline release
- The detoxification of hormones, chemicals and heavy metals
- The inflammation response
- Genetic expression and the repair of DNA within the body
- Energy production from the foods you each and within the mitochondria
- The repair of cells damaged by free radicals
- The immune response, fighting infections and viruses and regulating the overall immune response
If you have poor methylation for genetic or environmental reasons then your health can be compromised, and recent evidence is showing that poor methylation can lead to a number of health issues. The level of homocysteine in your blood can be predictive of this. Next time you have a blood test, ask your doctor. You are looking for a score of 6 or below to indicate great methylation, between 6 and 12 for average and above 12 you may be at high risk of the below:
– Cardiovascular disease
– Heart Attack
– Chronic Fatigue/Adrenal Fatigue
– Kidney Issues
– Vitamin deficiencies
At last test my homocysteine was quite high at 11.9. I am working on bringing this down currently, but genes don’t offer me much help and I am a very poor methylater, additionally I have been under quite a lot of environmental stress which hasn’t helped. What am I doing to improve?
– B vitamins, I go for activated types because my DNA shows I can’t utilise the standard type
– Folic Acid
– Magnesium and Zinc supplements
– Increased green leafy vegetables
– Vitamin C
– Rest & Sleep
Want to read more? I recommend The Homocysteine Solution by Patrick Holford & Dr James Braly found here.