What is Homocysteine

You may have heard of this substance called Homocysteine and how lowering and normalizing homocysteine levels is another key way to improve the health of your brain, your mental health and general health, particularly where inflammation is present. But what exactly is homocysteine? Homocysteine is an amino acid that is produced in the body as a by-product of methylation. In healthy people, it’s properly metabolized and excreted so normal levels are maintained. But when homocysteine isn’t properly metabolized, it can build up inside the body and levels can become too high and that’s when homocysteine becomes disruptive and unhealthy.

What Are The Causes Of Elevated Homocysteine?

An inadequate intake of B vitamins, as well as genetic factors that affect the body’s absorption and use of folic acid, can lead to elevated homocysteine levels. If this is the case, your intake of folic acid has to be higher than the RDA of 400 mcg. Other contributors to elevated homocysteine levels in the body include stress and coffee consumption: the more coffee you drink, the higher your homocysteine levels are likely to be. The stress-induced neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine are metabolized in the liver via a process that uses methyl groups. This can also increase the need for folic acid. In addition, elevated homocysteine levels may be due to low levels of thyroid hormone, kidney disease, psoriasis, adrenal imbalance due to stress or other factor and some medications. Certain genetic abnormalities can also play a role in the over production of homocysteine.

How Is Elevated Homocysteine Detected?

Homocysteine levels are checked via a simple blood test

What does Homocysteine do?

High levels of homocysteine have been linked to many chronic neurodegenerative, inflammatory, immunological and neuropsychiatric diseases, including:

  • Depression
  • Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive impairment/dysfunction/decline
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Hearing loss
  • Brain atrophy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Postpartum depression
  • Postmenopausal mental decline
  • Schizophrenia and other affective disorders
  • Chronic Inflammation
  • Alcoholism
  • Brain damage and neurotoxicity
  • Obsessive–compulsive disorder
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • People with nutritional deficiencies and MTHFR gene mutation are at an increased risk of high homocysteine levels.

How to reduce Homocysteine?

Homocysteine levels naturally increase gradually as you age and men are more likely than women to have high levels of homocysteine. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to lower homocysteine using clinical nutrition and natural health care. Here are some great ways to keep your homocysteine levels in check.

  1. Trimethylglycine


Trimethylglycine, also known as betaine, is an amino acid derivative that can be found in plants such as beets and spinach. Trimethylglycine plays an important role in methylation, a process that is involved in the synthesis of melatonin, coenzyme Q10, and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.

Try the Mini Beet Cleanse for more info contact Jessica at jess@advancedthermography.com.au

  1. Folate

The best way to lower homocysteine is by making sure you consume enough B vitamins on a regular basis. Folate is one of the most important B vitamins because it helps metabolize homocysteine into methionine. When your body doesn’t have enough folate, elevated levels of homocysteine are the result. Good dietary sources of natural folate include leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, avocado, beef liver and poultry. However, folate-rich foods alone may not be enough to lower homocysteine for some. In fact, many people do not get enough folate from food because cooking and food processing destroy natural folates .

So get you blood tested, MTHFR, and supplement if needed.

  1. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is another nutrient that plays a vital role in methylation and is also a necessary cofactor in the proper metabolism of homocysteine. Research shows that Vitamin B12 deficiency can contribute to rising homocysteine levels. In those with elevated homocysteine, supplementing with 1,000 mg of B12 per day can significantly lower and normalize blood levels of homocysteine. Ordinary B12 supplements don’t always cut it though. If you decide to supplement, you should avoid the semisynthetic version of B12 (cyanocobalamin) and take the methylated form (methyl-B12) instead, which is better absorbed and more biologically active

  1. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is another homocysteine-reducing nutrient that boosts mood, deepens sleep, and supports your entire nervous system by playing a key role in the production of many neurotransmitters in your brain, including serotonin, GABA and dopamine. Vitamin B6 is also a necessary cofactor in the metabolism of homocysteine, and having a deficiency can cause homocysteine levels to increase. In fact, low blood levels of B6 are common, especially in people with higher homocysteine levels.

  1. Taurine

Taurine is an organic compound found in foods, particularly animal products and has a wide variety of health benefits. Taurine can cross the blood-brain barrier and produces anti-anxiety effects and acts as an antioxidant in the brain protecting it from various substances including lead and cadmium. It’s also been shown to lower homocysteine. Research shows that taurine supplementation significantly reduces plasma homocysteine levels.

  1. Creatine

Creatine is a molecule produced in the body and found in some foods, particularly meat, eggs, and fish. Creatine is also available in supplement form. Athletes, bodybuilders, wrestlers, sprinters often take creatine supplement to gain more muscle mass. It’s an incredibly well-researched supplement and safe to take regularly. Supplementing with creatine can also support the brain. It’s been shown to have neuroprotective effects and it rapidly produces energy to support brain cell function.

  1. Green Coffee Extract

Green coffee extract is a supplement that is derived from green coffee beans. Green coffee beans are similar to regular coffee beans, however, they contain much more chlorogenic acid in them. Chlorogenic acid is a phytochemical with cognitive health benefits. One study found that 140 mg of chlorogenic acid, which is 28% of the content of green coffee extract, can significantly lower homocysteine. Beware though as too much regular coffee and caffeine will have the opposite effect, be sure to check that you are using truly organic green coffee extract.

  1. Reduce Stress

I highly recommend you try to do something every day to manage your stress because psychological stress has been shown to significantly increase homocysteine levels. Proven and popular ways to reduce stress include neurofeedback, meditation and mindfulness, massage, acupuncture, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and meridian tapping techniques (EFT, TFT, MTT). Gentle regular exercise is also a great way.

  1. Estrogen

Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone and responsible for the development and regulation of the female reproductive system. Research shows that higher estrogen levels are associated with lower homocysteine levels.

  1. N-Acetyl-Cysteine

N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) is a modified form of the amino acid cysteine. It’s also the precursor to glutathione, your body’s master antioxidant and it turns out that it can also help lower homocysteine levels. Research shows NAC supplementation can cause a “rapid and significant decrease” in homocysteine levels. Studies have found that NAC can decrease homocysteine anywhere from 25 to 45 per cent. Researchers believe NAC displaces homocysteine from its protein carrier in the blood, which lowers homocysteine and promotes the formation of glutathione.

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega fatty acids are remarkable substances. They can promote the regeneration of myelin which is what makes up the sheaths that cover nerves, stimulate the vagus nerve, help reverse brain damage, and support the endocannabinoid system. And now it appears they can also lower homocysteine levels.

  1. Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol is a neurotoxin that wreaks havoc on the brain by raising cortisol levels, disrupting the blood-brain barrier, and increasing inflammation and oxidative stress. It also increases homocysteine. One study found that alcohol significantly reduces Vitamin B12 and folate levels and increased homocysteine levels. Another study found that alcohol consumption increased homocysteine levels regardless of Vitamin B levels. There are ways to protect your brain from alcohol, but you’re better off avoiding it completely or significantly reducing your consumption if you’re trying to heal.

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