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Homocysteine (cont.)


What Are Normal and Elevated Homocysteine Levels?

Most laboratories report normal homocysteine levels in the blood between 4 and 15 micromoles/liter (µmol/L). Any measurement above 15 is considered high. Optimal homocysteine levels are below 10 to 12.

Hyperhomocysteinemia has been classified into moderate, intermediate, and severe types based on the level of homocysteine and are:

  • Moderate (15 to 30 µmol/L)
  • Intermediate (30 to 100 µmol/L)
  • Severe (greater than 100 µmol/L)

Does Alcohol Elevate Homocysteine?

While alcoholics tend to be malnourished and lacking in B vitamins, alcohol itself may independently cause homocysteine levels in the blood to rise.

Why Did My Doctor Order a Homocysteine Test?

Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. If a person develops any of these diseases and does not have increased risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, then the physician often looks for more unusual causes and risks, including checking homocysteine levels in the blood.

How to Lower Homocysteine Levels with Vitamin Supplement Treatment

The treatment for homocystinuria is vitamin supplementation with pyridoxine (vitamin B6), vitamin B12, and folic acid. The effects of vitamin treatment may be monitored by routine, scheduled blood tests. However, evidence to support the value of treating elevated blood levels of homocysteine (except in cases of severely high levels) in the general population is lacking. Therefore, it is not recommended that people be treated with vitamins to lower homocysteine levels as a way to prevent vascular disease.

Some patients do not respond to the vitamin supplementation and are considered pyridoxine-resistant. A diet low in methionine is recommended in addition to the B vitamins.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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Homocysteine - Homocystinuria

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Homocysteine - Prevention of Heart Disease

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