Your body makes a toxic compound called homocysteine from the harmless amino acid methionine. With the right B vitamins, your body will recycle it back into methionine. If you run short on these B vitamins, you may end up with high homocysteine.
Harm To Your Body
Homocysteine is thought to damage arteries, leading to blood clots as well as to atherosclerosis, the hardening of arteries. There is also evidence tying homocysteine to nerve and brain toxicity.
Elevated homocysteine has been linked to significantly increased risk of stroke as well as to Alzheimer’s disease. Alarmingly, those with the highest levels of homocysteine had nearly double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
In type II diabetes, higher homocysteine significantly increases the risk for neuropathy, a dangerous nerve condition frequently affecting the extremities of diabetics.
Homocysteine can impact young people, too. In teenagers, scientists linked elevated homocysteine to worse performance in school. Higher folate, a B vitamin that helps recycle homocysteine, was linked to better school performance.
Three vitamins are essential for recycling homocysteine back to methionine: B6, B12, and folic acid. Several studies have linked taking these supplements to a lower risk of stroke, confirming the connection between homocysteine and stroke events.
B Vitamins and Bad Genes
A substantial number of people with elevated homocysteine have a defect in one of the enzymes that takes the B vitamins from supplements or food and turns them into the active form your body actually uses. You won’t know if you have a defect without genetic testing. If a regular old blood test at the doctor shows high homocysteine, it is smart to assume you may have a genetic issue. You can choose to take B vitamins in their active forms, also called the co-enzyme forms, and bypass any defective genes you may have. Our preferred formula is Xymogen’s Methyl Protect. It provides all the factors shown to reduce homocysteine in their active co-enzyme forms.
Diabetes Care 2010. Stroke 2009. New Eng J Med 2002. Pediatrics 2011.