What is Homocysteine? Must Read for Heart and Diabetic Patient
In this article, we will try to understand one important element which can tell you about your heart health. The element, which I am talking about is known as Homocysteine.
So, What is Homocysteine?
What can it indicate about the heart health?
Well, Homocysteine is a form of amino-acid which is naturally formed in the body during metabolism. It does not cause any harm as such, but if the levels rise above the normal threshold it can create havoc in the body.
High Homocysteine level is an indicator of heart disease and a precursor to heart failure in the future. Apart from heart problems, it also causes other issues like bone weakening, memory loss etc.
Now as we have understood what is homocysteine, we will try to find out how it can affect the body.
What is the normal level of Homocysteine?
There is a difference of opinion regarding the safe level of homocysteine, but generally level below 7 unit is considered as safe.
Still, I will mention the reference range adopted by medical laboratories in India:
a. Moderate Level: 15-30 mcmol/l
b. Risk: 30-100 mcmol/l
c. Severe: above 100 mcmol/l
Let me mention here again if you have homocysteine level above 7 units, consider yourself in the risk zone and start taking sincere steps to control the numbers.
Homocysteine level test
You can go to your nearest medical lab and give your blood for homocysteine test.
Make sure that you are in fasting mode before giving the blood otherwise the report will give elevated numbers.
It will cost around 1200 Indian Rupees for this test.
Also, if you living in small town, there are chances that the local laboratories may not have the machinery to perform this test. They may send your sample to the nearest city, which may take a week to get the final report.
Cause of High Homocysteine Level
High Homocysteine level is mostly a byproduct of improper diet, which to our respite can be easily controlled.
But there are cases whose homocysteine level rise due to genetic factors, these people have to consult their doctors for controlling the levels as no diet can move back the levels to normal.
Some of the cause for high homocysteine levels are:
1. Deficiency of Vitamin B6, B12 and Folic Acid
This is the most common reason for high homocysteine level.
The above Vitamins are responsible to metabolize homocysteine and control its level in the body.
3. Coffee Consumption
The more coffee you drink, higher the chances of rising homocysteine levels.
4. Oral Medicines
Some of the medicine can take your homocysteine to high levels.
a. Metformin (for diabetes)
b. Methotrexate (for arthritis)
c. Niacin (for cholesterol control)
6. Kidney Problem
A person suffering from Improper Kidney Function can have high homocysteine levels.
Kidney is responsible to remove homocysteine, so if the kidney is not well functioning the chances of getting high homocysteine numbers increases
How homocysteine harms the body?
Homocysteine causes various dreaded complication which has a potential to hamper the quality of life, some of the complications are
a. Heart Problems
b. Osteoporosis (Bone thinning)
How to reduce homocysteine?
The best way to control homocysteine levels is to eat foods that are rich in Vitamin B6, B12, and Folic acid. The other thing you can do is to have oral supplements, but ask your doctor before taking any of them.
Regarding folic acid, one thing i have worth mentioning that there is an active form of folic acid which is named as 5-Methyl-Tetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) which is more powerful than the ordinary folic acid supplement.
In fact, various studies have proven its significance in lowering the homocysteine levels, but the problem is that the product is expensive and very few people in India can afford it.
There is a good chance that you have learned new things from this article.
So if you liked the article, share it with your diabetic community and help them controlling diabetes effectively.