MD Wellness Articles
Homocysteine is a toxic amino acid that builds up in the body when there is impaired B vitamin metabolism. B vitamins (specifically pyridoxine (B-6), cobalamine (B-12), folic acid and trimethylglycine are required for the production of methyl groups (CH3). These methyl groups have many important functions in the body. They are important in neurotransmitter production, in the transformation and excretion of hormones, in detoxification pathways, in allowing the expression and repression of genetic material, and countless other functions.
Methyl groups are synthesized via the B vitamins and processed into S-Adenylmethionine (also known as SAM-E). When B vitamins are unavailable, SAM-E levels will drop and homocysteine levels will rise.
Elevated homocysteine levels have been associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, birth defects, diabetes and other chronic degenerative diseases.
Therefore, optimal health is dependent on proper SAM-E and homcysteine levels.
You should make sure your doctor checks your homocysteine level. If your level is more than 9, than you are at risk for adverse effects. Which B vitamins you would need to safely reduce your levels is best determined by a metabolically directed functional testing. Some patients will require higher doses of B-12, and B-6, while others may be better off adding folic acid or trimethylglycine.
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