If you've never heard of homocysteine, don't worry - you're not alone. Even though homocysteine is a common amino acid found in the blood, most people don't know much about it. But understanding homocysteine is important for maintaining good health. Here's what you need to know about homocysteine and how to lower it naturally.
Homocysteine is an essential amino acid produced in the body during the metabolism of dietary proteins. As its levels exceed the recommended level of 15 µmol/L, it can heavily contribute to diseases like anti-aging, heart attack risk, and stroke risk, as well as reductions in general health and wellness. It is extremely important for optimal health and longevity to naturally lower homocysteine levels through a balanced diet rich in vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid. Studies have shown that appropriate dosages of these vitamins significantly reduce all-cause mortality from cardiovascular disease by reducing homocysteine levels1. In addition to this, regular exercise can help maintain your homocysteine levels within the suggested range2.
Foods that are high in homocysteine
Eating certain foods can significantly increase homocysteine levels in the body and shorten telomeres, potentially leading to chronic diseases. Examples of these foods include high-fat processed meats such as bacon, salami, and hot dogs; red meat with a high-fat content; high levels of trans fats, found in many processed snacks like cookies and donuts; and high-fat milk products like cheese and butter. Although some of these items may seem innocuous, regular intake of them can lead to health problems down the road if not closely monitored. As such, it is wise for everyone to limit their consumption of foods that are high in homocysteine.
How can I lower a high homocysteine level?
Eating more fruits and vegetables can help lower your homocysteine level. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach are good sources of folate. Other good sources of folate include:
- Most beans
You may need to increase the amount of vitamin B-6 in your diet. Foods that are rich in vitamin B-6 include:
- Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
You also may need to increase the amount of vitamin B-12 you eat. Good sources of vitamin B-12 include:
- Raw dairy products
- Organ meats (such as liver)
- Some types of fish
Adjusting your diet may not be enough to lower your homocysteine level. If it’s not, your doctor may suggest that you take a folate supplement. You may also need to take a vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12 supplement.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What is causing my homocysteine level to be high?
- Could a high level be the sign of another condition?
- Can I lower my homocysteine level through diet alone?
- Should I take a supplement?
- Can I ask my doctor to check my homocysteine level even if I have no symptoms?
Supplements that can help lower homocysteine levels
For those looking to lower their homocysteine levels, methylated B vitamins are an excellent supplement choice. They assist in the conversion of homocysteine into methionine, allowing the body to use its methyl groups more efficiently and lessening the amount of homocysteine present in the body. Not only do methylated B vitamins aid in reducing homocysteine levels, studies have also found a correlation between their regular usage and improved cardiovascular health. For optimal results, I recommend taking along with a balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.
Lifestyle changes that can help reduce homocysteine levels
As a doctor, it is always important to remind my patients about lifestyle changes that can make a positive impact on homocysteine levels. Exercise, in particular strength training and cardiovascular fitness, are essential components toward reducing this risk factor. High-intensity interval workouts (HIIT) can be especially helpful for losing weight and subsequently lowering those homocysteine levels. Eating a well-balanced diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, is also key to decreasing these levels in the body. Taking small steps towards leading an overall healthier lifestyle can make all the difference!
Other Natural ways to lower homocysteine levels
As your doctor, I need to remind you about the importance of exercise, nutrition, and weight loss in maintaining good cardiovascular health. In particular, exercise and proper nutrition are two ways to help lower homocysteine levels naturally and ultimately promote a healthy heart. Both exercise and a balanced diet can help to reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar regulation – both of which are beneficial in keeping homocysteine levels under control. Try increasing physical activity as part of your daily habits and focus on adding nutrient-rich foods to your diet. Furthermore, if you have any other questions related to reducing high homocysteine levels be sure to consult with me to find the best approach for you.
If you have high homocysteine levels, it's important to take steps to lower them naturally. Many foods are high in homocysteine, as well as supplements and lifestyle changes that can help. By incorporating these into your life, you can reduce your homocysteine levels and improve your overall health.
Be sure to check out our Homocysteine Resist supplement to learn more about methylated B vitamins role in supporting Homocysteine metabolism.