Homocysteine: One of the Best Objective Markers of How
Healthy You Are
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim on Sep 06, 2017
Natural Health Care
As a general marker of overall health status, few tests carry greater predictive weight than homocysteine.
The amount of homocysteine in your blood is one of the best objective indicators of how healthy you are and how long you are going to live.
A high blood level of homocysteine is a reliable risk factor for each of the following:
Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
Cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
Thyroid-related health challenges
Neurological conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
What exactly is homocysteine?
Homocysteine is an amino acid that your body makes from another amino acid called methionine. You obtain methionine from many of the protein-dense foods that you eat on a regular basis, such as sunflower seeds, eggs, and fish.
Normally, homocysteine found in your blood gets converted into two substances called SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine) and glutathione. Both SAMe and glutathione have health-promoting effects. Specifically, SAMe helps to prevent depression, arthritis, and liver damage. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant and detoxifying agent that helps to slow down aging.
Put another way, you want your body to efficiently convert homocysteine into SAMe and glutathione.
Conversion of homocysteine to SAMe requires the following nutrients:
TMG (trimethylglycine - from choline)
And conversion of homocysteine to glutathione requires the following nutrients:
When your body does not efficiently convert homocysteine into SAMe and glutathione, the amount of homocysteine in your blood rises.
A high blood level of homocysteine hurts your health in the following ways:
High Homocysteine Speeds Up Oxidation and Aging
Normal metabolic processes that occur in your body are constantly producing free radicals, which are unstable forms of oxygen, also called oxidants. The pace at which you age depends in large part on your body¡¯s ability to protect its tissues against these free radicals. High homocysteine significantly increases free-radical oxidation in your body and the damage that comes with it.
High Homocysteine Causes Damage to Your Arteries
High blood levels of homocysteine can damage cholesterol that is found in your blood, which can lead to direct damage of the walls of your arteries. This can lead to a series of reactions that results in thickening of the walls of your arteries, leaving less room for proper circulation. This whole process is commonly referred to as atherosclerosis.
High homocysteine can also cause your blood to have a higher than normal tendency to clot, which increases your risk of developing a dangerous clot that could lead to a stroke.
Finally, high homocysteine is known to significantly lower nitric oxide in your blood. Nitric oxide is a gas that is critical to maintaining healthy and flexible arterial walls.
High Homocysteine Causes Your Immune System to Weaken
When a high blood level of homocysteine is the result of inefficient conversion of homocysteine to glutathione, your body has less glutathione and the antioxidant activity that it provides. With less glutathione and antioxidant activity in your blood, your cells are more susceptible to damage by free radicals, which accelerates overall aging.
High Homocysteine Increases Pain and Inflammation
A high blood level of homocysteine promotes higher blood levels of arachidonic acid and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which are chemicals that your body uses to promote inflammation. While inflammation is necessary for healing in the short term, chronic inflammation can cause lasting structural damage to various tissues like your arteries, joints, and nerves.
Ultimately, because a high blood level of homocysteine accelerates aging and decreases the strength of your immune system, it is not a stretch to say that having high homocysteine over the long term significantly increases your risk of every chronic health condition that we know of, including many varieties of cancer.
Homocysteine: One of the Best Objective Markers of How Healthy You Are