I order several extra blood tests when I get my annual physical. One of them is a homocysteine level test. In the past, it had been considered by some scientists to be the gold standard of heart health. Today, the gold standard is the ratio of omega-6 fatty acid to omega-3 fatty acid. It is a bit more expensive than the homocysteine level test.
High levels of homocysteine in the blood have been associated with several diseases – heart, stroke, macular degeneration, migraine, dementia, cancer, and osteoporosis. Additionally, some prescription drugs, smoking, alcohol, and aging also cause homocysteine levels to rise.
Typically, homocysteine levels drop when there are adequate amounts of B vitamins present. Folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 have been shown to lower homocysteine levels in the body to a healthy range. I am an advocate of balanced nutrition. If your diet consists of nutritional balance, then you should not have a deficit of any vitamin or mineral.
Nearly half of Americans have a genetic variation that causes homocysteine levels to rise. It is because they cannot metabolize synthetic folic acid. Many foods are ‘fortified’ with folic acid. This synthetic version of vitamin B9 is not the same as the natural one. Hence, half of us cannot use it.
When we don’t eat the right diet with natural folic acid, we find ourselves deficient in this critical nutrient. Natural folic acid is found in citrus fruits, dark leafy green vegetable, liver, and poultry. A synthetic version that can be metabolized by the human body is called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate or 5-MTHF.
We tend to cut corners when it comes to our diet. There is a reason why balance in needed in many areas of our lives, especially our health. Just because a food has extra added this or that, doesn’t mean that it is good for you. Eat the foods that have the original vitamins and minerals needed for good health.