What Is Homocysteine?
Homocysteine is an amino acid formed in the body from another amino acid called methionine. Certain B vitamins are needed to breakdown these amino acids. The vitamins include vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate. A deficiency of any one of these vitamins, most particularly folate, can lead to an elevation in blood levels of homocysteine.
Does Homocysteine Increase the Risk of Heart Attack?
Levels of homocysteine increase with age, and elevation is more common in men and postmenopausal women. Although some studies have found and association with high homocysteine levels and heart disease, whether or not homocysteine is a risk factor for heart disease remains controversial.
Very high levels of homocysteine were first found to be a problem in the 1960s, when people with an inheritable defect of an enzyme responsible for the metabolism of homocysteine were suffering from heart attacks and strokes before the age of 30. In the 1970s, researchers began to study the effects of lifestyle factors, such