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What is Homocysteine?

This week’s blog will focus on the subject of homocysteine.

So what is it exactly and why is it important?

Homocysteine is an amino acid formed by the removal of a methyl group from methionine.  Unfortunately, it has been shown that homocysteine is toxic at high levels.  It has been implicated in a number of inflammatory processes in the body including increasing risk of cardiovascular, diabetes, bone and neurocognitive diseases.  A physician’s health study revealed that men with higher homocysteine levels had a threefold higher risk of coronary events.

Levels of homocysteine can be measured via blood test.  Optimal ranges do vary depending on age and gender but a goal of having a level of 6 µmol/L or less is considered optimal.  If you are at all concerned about preventative medicine and an anti-aging approach, knowing your homocysteine level is a must in my opinion.

Homocysteine can be methylated back into methionine via trimethylglycine and an enzyme called BHMT.   In addition, homocysteine can also be re-methylated via the enzyme MS (methionine synthase), which is very dependent on methyl B12 for its reaction.  For homocysteine to be converted downstream to cysteine, vitamin B6 is a required cofactor.

You can see the importance of all of these vitamin cofactors to make sure that homocysteine is dealt with in an efficient and effective manner.  I want to again feature the AOR product MaxMethyl as a product to help you achieve healthy homocysteine levels.  With therapeutic levels of TMG,B6, folate and B12,it has been formulated to include the necessary ingredients for the proper methlyation of homocysteine. 

One study using the combination of ingredients in MaxMethyl was shown to significantly reduce levels of homocysteine after just 6 weeks of supplementation.  Happy methylating!



Galway, J.G. Metabolism at a Glance. 2nd Ed. 1999. P.54.



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