Heart Disease and Homocysteine

Lately, there have been a lot of talks about the compound called homocysteine and its connection with heart disease. Before getting into the details about this subject, let us first understand what is homocysteine all about?


It is one of the building blocks in the human body responsible for making proteins and it is stated as one among the amino acids. It is generally found in the blood and it is acquired from eating meat.

What does high homocysteine level mean?

When it is found that the homocysteine level if higher in the blood, it is considered to be an early sign of blood vessel or heart disease. Even, when this level is slightly higher in an individual, it is regarded to be a risk factor for heart disease. When this level is higher, it means that there is lesser level of vitamins B12, B6 and folate in the body. The worst thing stated by health care providers is that when the level of homocysteine is brought down with vitamin supplements, it will not bring down the risk of heart disease.

Most of the laboratories state that normal homocysteine level should be somewhere between 4 and 15 micromoles/liter. If this level is more than 15, it is considered high and when it is between 10 and 12, it will be considered optimal.

How does this level increases the risk of heart disease?

Even though, health care providers are not sure how an increase in this level leads to heart and blood vessel disease, there is a link between this higher level and damage to the arteries as it can lead to hardening of arteries, thereby creating blood clots.

Should I get this level checked?

Universally, there is no recommendation for getting this level checked and the test is also expensive. It is not widely available and it is also not covered under insurance in most of the countries.

Is it possible to prevent the increase in homocysteine level?

It is generally suggested that patients with the risk of increase in this level to take foods rich in Vitamin B content. A wide range of vegetables and greens are rich in this vitamin content and it is rich in grain products as well.

What are the symptoms of increase in this level?

• Generally, when there is an increase in this level, it will lead to ill effect on the interior lining of blood vessels. In other words, it will make the blood vessels thinner, thereby increasing the risk of atherosclerosis. This can lead to stroke and heart attack.

• Experts state that there is a relationship between the homocysteine level and the size of carotid arteries. These blood vessels are responsible for supplying blood to the brain.

• Generally, an increase in this level may show up as broken bones, particularly in elderly people.

• Also, elderly people with increase in this level may experience Alzheimer’s and related diseases.

• In general, this level will decrease during pregnancy and if there is an increase, it is a symptom of some abnormalities in the fetus.

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