High homocysteine levels. It is one of the key cardiovascular markers to determine risk of atherosclerosis, clotting, and stroke. When elevated, it has also been associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and cancer. Yet for all its destructive tendencies, many still don’t know what it is or how it affects the body.

Homocysteine is an amino acid which is critical to many biochemical reactions, including the formation of other healthful amino acids, such as SAMe and glutathione. In excess, however, homocysteine can have damaging effects directly on blood vessels, causing plaque to build or promote clotting.

Smoking as well as coffee and alcohol consumption are implicated in raising homocysteine levels. Homocysteine depends on folic acid and vitamins B12 and B6 for its metabolism and to complete the biochemical reactions for which it is required. So when there is a deficiency of these nutrients, homocysteine does not get metabolized effectively, and levels rise, causing an increased chance of developing associated diseases.

A recent study, published in the Journal of Urology, involved 36 renal transplant recipients with high homocysteine levels, who were treated with the following nutrients: 5 mg of folic acid, 50 mg of B6, and 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 daily; or a placebo. The vitamin group had a significant decrease in homocysteine levels after six months, and significantly better vasodilation response (which can help lower blood pressure) compared to those taking placebo.

Folixor, from Intensive Nutrition, provides the perfect combination of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 in a sublingual tablet, and the NEEDS Wellness Team recommends it for maintaining healthy levels of homocysteine.

 

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