Homocysteine Testing

Homocysteine Testing

The simple and effective way to discover and reduce a number of potential health risks including infertility, heart health, alzheimer’s dementia, stroke and DVT.

What is Homocysteine

Its a naturally occurring amino acid involved in essential chemical pathways in the body. Although it is a natural substance, too much of it could be harmful. Increasingly medical experts are warning that raised levels in the blood could be more concerning than high cholestrol levels.

The importance of homocysteine as a risk factor is becoming much more familiar to us. A constantly increasing number of studies have been published that show homocysteine to be a predictor of potential health problems. It is clear now that raised plasma homocysteine concentrations both predict and precede the development of cardiovascular disease including stroke. A study published this year in the British Medical Journal showed clearly that homocysteine levels in blood plasma predicts risk of death from cardiovascular disease in older people even better than any conventional measure of risk including cholesterol, blood pressure or smoking. Homocysteine levels can be easily checked with an easy blood homocysteine testing system.

Raised levels of homocysteine are also linked to Alzheimer’s, dementia, declining memory, poor concentration and judgment and lowered mood. It is clear that women with high homocysteine levels find it harder to conceive and are at risk from repeated early miscarriage. High homocysteine has also been linked to migraines, and those with conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis are at increased risk of raised homocysteine levels. Homocysteine has therefore been shown to play a crucial role as a key marker for disease development determining longevity and health throughout a person’s life.

Are You At Risk?

Many factors are thought to raise levels of homocysteine; among them are poor diet, poor lifestyle especially smoking and high coffee and alcohol intake, some prescription drugs, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and poor thyroid function. Raised levels are also associated with chronic inflammatory diseases in general, and some intestinal disorders such as coeliac and Crohn’s diseases. Levels increase with age and higher levels are more common in men than women.

Levels of homocysteine can increase with oestrogen deficiency and with some long term medications, including corticosteroids. Strict vegetarians and vegans may also be at risk and people who suffer from stress. As with cholesterol, family history and genetic make up can play a part in causing raised levels as can obesity and lack of exercise. Even people with an active, healthy lifestyle may still be at risk, if there is a family history of high levels of homocysteine or disease.

To Contact the clinic for more information phone 085-215 7479

The Homocysteine Test.

The good news is raised homocysteine levels can usually be brought back to normal levels by simple dietary changes and / or supplementation with vital vitamins & minerals that maybe lacking in their diet. However, everyone is unique and different factors, including genetics, make it virtually impossible to determine an individuals’ nutritional requirements without assessing levels of homocysteine first, and then monitoring dietary changes to ensure that acceptable homocysteine levels are reached.

The Lorisian Homocysteine Test is a quick and easy blood test that delivers reliable laboratory test results within just 10 days. Once your test results are in you will be called back to the clinic to discuss your results and implement any necessary dietary & lifestyle changes that maybe required.

We recommend that you take this test on a Monday morning, as it is a fasting blood sample.

Why is homocysteine harmful?

Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid produced as part of the methylation process. It has the formula C4H9NO2S and is a derivative of protein that is found in blood plasma when body chemistry is out of balance. It is a homologue of the amino acid cysteine, differing by an additional methylene (-CH2-) group. Homocysteine is not obtained from the diet, instead, it is biosynthesized from methionine via a multi-step process that probably occurs in every cell of the body.

Methionine is an amino acid, ingested as a component of food protein, and is found primarily in meats, eggs, dairy products, fish, chicken, seeds, nuts and some vegetables. Methionine is activated to S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) by the enzyme methionine adenosyltransferase. Circulating levels of homocysteine are usually low due to its rapid metabolism via one of two pathways: a cobalamin (vitamin B12) and folate dependent re-methylation pathway that regenerates methionine, or a pyridoxal 5’ phosphate (PLP, vitamin B6) dependent trans-sulphuration pathway that converts homocysteine into cysteine.

The complex metabolism of homocysteine within the body is highly dependent on vitamin derived cofactors, and deficiencies in vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6 are associated with hyperhomocysteinaemia. The reason homocysteine accumulates in the body causing cell damage and the onset of major disease, is because the biochemical transformation process is not working properly, usually due to lack of these needed vitamins. If these pathways are lacking the required vitamins and minerals, dangerous homocysteine levels and potential ill health can result.
The proposed mechanisms by which hyperhomocysteinaemia can cause harm such as vascular damage, cognitive impairment, neurological complications, congenital defects and pregnancy complications are common to all these conditions.

Raised homocysteine is associated with damage to the arteriesand one mechanism by which homocysteine is thought to cause this damage is by interfering with the way cells use oxygen, resulting in a build-up of damaging free radicals. Oxidation triggers many diseases including heart disease, strokes, cancers and autoimmune diseases.

Reactive chemical forms such as free radicals can oxidize low-density lipoproteins producing oxy-cholesterols and oxidized fats and proteins within developing arterial plaques. This oxidation injury, along with changes in nitric oxide metabolism, an important regulator and mediator of numerous processes in the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems, and decreased methylation, appears to contribute to the damage caused. Indeed, methylation defects and impaired DNA repair caused by disturbed folate metabolism are suggested to contribute to carcinogenesis.

Homocysteine also stimulates the growth of smooth muscle cells, causing deposition of extracellular matrix and collagen, which causes a thickening and hardening of artery walls. Overall though, the exact mechanisms involved in the increased risk of ill health with raised homocysteine still remain a mystery in many respects, and more studies are needed to elucidate the exact associations.

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If you would like to know more about the Homocysteine Test then contact the clinic on 085-2157479