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Home > Health Topics > Homocysteine
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Homocysteine
Homocysteine is an intermediate by-product that occurs when the body is trying to break down the amino acid methionine that we take in when we consume large quantities of meat, milk, cheese, eggs, white flour, and other heavy protein foods that we love. The body uses methylation or re-methylation to regenerate homocysteine back to methionine. In order to perform this, the body needs adequate levels of folic acid, niacin, vitamin B6 (or the active form P5P) and vitamin B12.

Unfortunately, if our liver is compromised due to pH imbalance, toxin exposure or lack of the precursor nutrients, homocysteine is not converted one way or the other and is left to circulate through our system. This has a toxic effect on the linings of the arteries.

There is no safe level of homocysteine. It simply is not supposed to be in our system. An elevated level of homocysteine is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is implicated in non-insulin-dependent diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and neuropsychiatric disorders.
Hi levels of homocysteine are found in people with kidney disease, low levels of thyroid hormones, and psoriasis.

Some people have a genetic variant called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) that impairs their ability to process folate. This defective gene can lead to elevated levels of homocysteine in some people who inherit MTHFR variants from both parents.

Studies have suggested that restricting methionine consumption can increase lifespans in some animals. Several studies have showed that methionine restriction also inhibits aging-related processes in mice and inhibits colon carcinogenesis in rats. However, methionine is an essential amino acid and should not be entirely removed from the diet.

Most vegetables and legumes contain low levels of methionine. Vegetarian sources include Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, and cereal grains.

See our newsletter: Folate for Health Part 1 for more information and recommendations.


the heart of healthLearn more about Homocysteine in the book: The Heart of Health: Principle 5 - Cellular Nutrition
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