The body needs amino acids for the production of protein. Similarly, you require amino acids for the manufacturing of the body hormones, neurotransmitters, and other vitality processes. But some amino acids may be harmful if they are in high concentration. High homocysteine levels are toxic and may trigger serious ailments.
It is a byproduct of the protein synthesis process. In most cases, they are prevalent from the breakdown of meat. Then it is good to understand the causes, risks, and treatment of such conditions.
Homocysteine Level Chart
The normal range of homocysteine levels in the blood is about 15 mcmol/L or micromoles per liter. Anything higher than the normal levels then it is called as elevated homocysteine levels.
There are four ranges of homocysteine levels in the blood.
- Normal – This is any count that is under 15 micromoles per liter in the blood test
- Moderate – This ranges from 15 to 30 micromoles per liter
- Intermediate – This is between 30 and 100 micromoles per liter
- Severe – This is any figure higher than 100 micromoles per liter
What Is Considered A High Homocysteine Level?
The normal range of homocysteine levels is below 15 micromoles per liter. From 15 micromoles per liter is categorized as high homocysteine levels.
What Causes Elevated Homocysteine Levels?
The primary causes of high homocysteine levels in the blood are diverse. But the most significant ones are six.
1. Vitamin B Deficiency
The B vitamin complex reduces the levels of homocysteine in the body. Though that is essential, the reduction will be useful if the underlying cause is dealt with conclusively. Other studies also reveal that the B vitamin family has a potent effect on the reduction of several different amino acids in the body.
[Also Read – Blood tests for vitamin deficiencis ]
The thyroid gland regulates the production of hormones that breakdown the various nutrients and chemicals during metabolism. A damaged thyroid gland reduces the manufacturing of the thyroid hormones. With fewer hormones during metabolism, the body retains high homocysteine levels.
This autoimmune disease inhibits the body from the proper absorption of vital nutrients. Without the essential minerals and nutrients, the body does not metabolize the essential acids into energy and protein tissue. The deficiency of iron and folate in the body leads to high levels of blood homocysteine.
4. Kidney Disease
The body eliminates the amino acid compound homocysteine through urine. The kidney is the organ responsible for that function. Without a proper filtering service by the kidney, your body retains high homocysteine levels within the system. Thus, it damages the kidney further, resulting in chronic kidney disease.
Some drugs in the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular conditions block the body from eliminating homocysteine from the body. A recent study reveals that drugs like metformin and cholestyramine produce a negative effect of containing high homocysteine levels in the body.
Some people inherit genetic traits that have a history of malfunctioning conditions. Such people have problems absorbing certain vital minerals. Additionally, others exhibit the inability to produce and regulate certain hormones. This may lead to the retention of acidic molecules, including homocysteine.
What Food Causes High Homocysteine Levels?
Scientific observations show that non-vegans are more secure from high homocysteine levels than other people. In essence, the food can only increase the levels if the body cannot metabolize them. Foods that are highly associated with elevated homocysteine levels are
- Fried Foods
Does Homocysteine Cause Inflammation?
High homocysteine levels can damage body cells and cause certain conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. This autoimmune condition causes severe inflammation in the joints and affected areas. Other conditions of inflammation due to adverse homocysteine levels include atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, stroke, psoriasis, and osteoporosis.
How to Reduce High Homocysteine Levels
There are several ways of containing high homocysteine levels in the body. Depending on the underlying cause, the doctor may prescribe one of the following;
1. Dietary Supplements
A diet rich in vitamin B family complex lowers the effects and contains the surge of homocysteine. The compounds in the vitamin also enhance the other body organs like the liver and thyroid gland to heal and function optimally. Some additional dietary supplementation like green coffee extract can help contain and lower the high levels.
2. Lifestyle Changes
Stress and high intake of alcohol are contributors to elevated homocysteine levels. Thus, you need to figure out some relaxing activities like yoga. Meditation and casual jogging can be helpful.
3. Eliminate Drugs
Certain drugs enhance the retention of homocysteine in the body. In case you are on that kind of medication, have a discussion with your doctor in view of changing them. Colestipol, metformin, and niacin are some of the drugs.
Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy healthy life. He is the author of numerous health-related books and contributor to several medicine, health and wellbeing websites.