Health Glossary - For Everyone

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What is homocysteine?

Homocysteine is an amino acid that is produced in the body as a byproduct after meat is eaten.

Homocysteine has serious implication in heart disease and especially in causing levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol levels to rise and become oxidised. It also makes blood more sticky and clot more frequently which can increase the risk of artery or other blood vessel blockages, which can lead to stroke. In addition to this, conditions such as atherosclerosis can become worse.


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Important homocysteine facts

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Why homocysteine is important

Homocysteine is normally synthesised into other (harmless) amino acids by the body in most people who eat enough fresh vegetables and fruits, but in those people who do not consume enough B vitamins, this may not happen properly, while in yet other people they may not have enough of the right enzymes to process homocysteine properly irrespective of whether or not they eat adequate amounts of the vegetables and fruits.

The B vitamins which help the most with neutralising homocysteine and bringing it to a normal level are:

There can also be other causes of high homocysteine levels, which need to be investigated.

Homocysteine levels are shown below:

Homocysteine levels Value
Normal <12 µmol/L
Moderately high 12-15 µmol/L
High > 15 µmol/L


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Last reviewed: 14 January 2007 || Last updated: 21 August 2007


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More information

To learn more, go to the following web sites:


NOTE: Mega doses of any type of vitamin, mineral, amino acid or herbal supplement cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of complementary supplements.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.


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