Homocysteine is an amino acid that is commonly associated with higher cardiovascular disease risk. It also affects your brain as well as your heart. It has been linked to:
● Reduced blood flow to the brain
● Memory impairment
● Poorer cognitive function
● Smaller brain volume
● Increased silent brain infarcts (think of a mini-stroke in a blood vessel)
Homocysteine levels have been documented to fade when you have balanced B vitamins (B6, B9, and B12). Subsequent testing of patients given normal levels of B vitamins showed a direct link between homocysteine and cerebrovascular health in randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Vitamin therapy reduced brain atrophy over 50 percent within six months. The lower the homocysteine levels, the higher the scores on the cognitive tests.
I order several extra blood tests at my annual physicals. C-reactive protein (CRP) is one of them. I want to know if I have high levels of inflammation in my body. It won’t tell you where, but it will tell you if you have measurable levels of inflammation or not. The same is true with homocysteine. I order this blood test as well. It used to be the gold stand for heart health. Now-a-days, the ratio of omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3 fatty acids is a better predictor of heart health. Excessive amounts of omega 6 fatty acids (anything in excess of a ratio of 4:1 omega 6 to omega 3 is considered unhealthy – strive for a 1:1 ratio).