High Homocysteine Levels

1 of the 12 leading causes of
high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes

Why is lowering homocysteine levels so important?

Homocysteine is an amino acid that is produced in the body as a byproduct of protein metabolism. Elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood (hyperhomocysteinemia) have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and certain neurodegenerative disorders.

One of the main reasons homocysteine is important is because it has been shown to damage blood vessels and promote the formation of blood clots. Elevated homocysteine levels can also lead to the hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Another reason homocysteine is important is because it may play a role in the development of certain neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. 

Studies have suggested that high homocysteine levels may contribute to the formation of plaques and tangles in the brain, which are hallmarks of these disorders.

Prevention

High homocysteine levels typically do not present any symptoms, so targeting high homocysteine levels is something that you want to prevent before you see the conditions that it causes.

There are several supplements that have been studied for their potential to help regulate homocysteine levels. These include:

Tikva has 6 nutrients that target 

high homocysteine levels

Below are clinical trials and research on these nutrients.

1&2. Vitamin B6 & Vitamin B12 

Supplementation with Vitamin B6, B12 and folate can help to lower homocysteine levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. In a systematic review and meta-analysis, it was found that B-vitamin supplementation decreases homocysteine levels by 25% to 30% and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 10% to 25% (1).

3. Zinc 

Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a role in many bodily functions, including immune function, wound healing, and protein synthesis.

Studies have shown that zinc supplementation may help to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood. One study, published in the journal “Biological Trace Element Research”, found that zinc supplementation led to significant reductions in homocysteine levels in participants with high homocysteine levels. (2)

Additionally, zinc supplementation is found to improve the activity of enzymes related to homocysteine metabolism which lead to decrease in homocysteine levels.

4. Betaine (Trimethylglycine)

Betaine, also known as trimethylglycine, is a compound found in certain foods such as beets, wheat bran, and spinach. Studies have shown that betaine supplementation may help to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2002 found that betaine supplementation led to significant reductions in homocysteine levels in participants with high homocysteine levels. (3)

Betaine supplementation may work by providing a methyl group, which is needed for the remethylation of homocysteine to methionine. This process is important for maintaining healthy homocysteine levels. It is also found that Betaine may help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which may also contribute to its ability to lower homocysteine levels.

5. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 

Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in many bodily functions, including energy metabolism and the metabolism of amino acids. Studies have shown that riboflavin supplementation may help to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood. One study published in the journal “Clinical Chemistry” in 2002 found that riboflavin supplementation led to significant reductions in homocysteine levels in participants with high homocysteine levels. (4)

Riboflavin is a cofactor of the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), which plays a role in homocysteine metabolism. Low levels of riboflavin can inhibit this enzyme function, leading to a build-up of homocysteine. Supplementation with riboflavin can help to correct this enzyme deficiency and reduce homocysteine levels.

6. Magnesium

Magnesium plays a role in the metabolism of homocysteine, an amino acid that has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that low levels of magnesium intake are associated with higher homocysteine levels. Supplementation with magnesium has been shown to reduce homocysteine levels, which may in turn reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. (5)

References:

  1. “Homocysteine-lowering by B-vitamins slows the rate of accelerated brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial” by Smith AD, Smith SM, de Jager CA, Whitbread P, Johnston C, Agacinski G, Oulhaj A, Bradley KM, Jacoby R, Refsum H. PloS one. 2010;5(9):e12244.
  2. “Zinc supplement decreases plasma homocysteine levels in healthy males.” Biological Trace Element Research, 2010, vol. 135(1-3), p.189-195.
  3. “Betaine, a promising new agent for patients with coronary artery disease.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2002, vol.76(5), p.961-967.
  4. “Effect of riboflavin on plasma total homocysteine concentrations: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Clinical Chemistry, 2002, vol.48(9), p.1602-1606.
  5. “The effect of oral magnesium supplementation on serum homocysteine concentrations in healthy human volunteers” in Magnesium Research, Volume 16, Number 3, September 2003 , pp. 329-334