The amino acid Homocysteine is
normally found in the blood and is formed from the metabolism of
Methionine. Methionine is digested as part of a normal diet. The body
does not directly use Homocysteine instead it is altered into a useful
amino acid by vitamins. A genetic disorder passed on from parents is the
major cause of young children and babies having high levels of
Homocysteine. A diet with low amounts of certain vitamins is the
main reason for adults having increased levels of Homocysteine.
Organ damage is the major concern when Homocysteine levels are high.
Platelets “stickiness” is increased by high levels of Homocysteine.
Clots known as thrombi are formed by the platelets when there are
abnormally high concentrations of Homocysteine present in blood. The
clots circulate through the blood and can result in blockages at a
number of organs such as the brain, heart, lungs and kidneys. A stroke
could result from a blood clot in the brain, while a myocardial
infarction or heart attack could be caused by a clot in the heart.
Serious, long term issues can also result from a blood clot developing
in the kidneys.
Diet is the only effective way to control
levels of Homocysteine. Homocysteine levels can be lowered in two ways.
The first is to decrease the lhe amount of Methionine consumed. At
the same time, making sure there are vitamins available in the body to
process Homocysteine into a new chemical can also help lower
Homocysteine concentrations in the blood.
the consumption of red meats, certain cheeses, Fish and other seafood
can decrease intake of the Homocysteine precursor Methionine. You can
ensure that the body gets other needed amino acids by eating beans,
chicken and nuts while lowering methionine intake. This type of diet
will be temporary for adults experiencing high Homocysteine levels in
the blood as a result of poor eating habits. Once Homocysteine levels
have been decreased, the individual can gradually re-introduce red meat
to the diet while monitoring Homocysteine levels. The restrictive diet
will be permanent for babies or children that have high levels of
Homocysteine as a result of a genetic disorder as the cause of the high
Homocysteine levels will always be present. |
Homocysteine is processed into other amino acids by
using mainly vitamins B12, B6 and Folic Acid (B9). Beans, cereal, fruits
and vegetables contain good amounts of Folic Acid. Several of the same
foods contain B6 and B12; both vitamins along with Folic Acid are
included in most multivitamins making them readily available. A
multivitamin should be taken each day by those with high Homocysteine
levels as a result of the genetic disorder.