Health & Beauty Homocysteine Methylation Problems MTHFR

Homocysteine – normal ranges in blood tests. What does high level of homocysteine mean?

Homocysteine is an amino acid, which – similarly to high level of cholesterol – may be the cause of atherosclerosis. Due to excessively high level of homocysteine (hyperhomocysteinemia) the whole organism suffers. It is the enemy number 1 for our heart and blood vessels. However, it may be humbled! Check out what are the normal ranges of homocysteine in blood tests.

MTHFR gene mutation – it may increase the level of homocysteine and cause atherosclerotic changes.

In normal conditions, this gene is responsible for maintaining proper concentration of homocysteine in blood plasma. Its damage, however, causes the reverse effect.

Excessive level of homocysteine damages veins, due to which they are more prone to the development of atherosclerosis or thromboembolism.

It also causes that folic acid is badly absorbed by the organism and homocysteine cannot be converted to methionine. Folic acid deficiency is one of the main causes of hyperhomocysteinemia.

Excessive level of homocysteine damages veins, due to which they are more prone to the development of atherosclerosis or thromboembolism. Its high concentration may be decreased by providing the organism with a proper dose of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Their presence allows to maintain homocysteine level on a proper level.

Homocysteine – normal ranges

The amount of homocysteine in the blood plasma should not exceed 7 – 10 mol/l. It is a safe concentration for our organism. 15 mol/l is also treated as a normal range. However, increased level of homocysteine, between 11 – 13 mol/l, may already damage endothelial cells covering blood vessels. Hyperhomocysteinemia is diagnosed when its value reaches 20-30 mol/l.

Appropriate folic acid decreases homocysteine level

Applying large doses of folic acid to people with MTHFR gene mutation will not treat hyperhomocysteinemia. Quite the contrary, it may do more harm than good. Due to the fact that the organism of a patient is not able to process and absorb folic acid by itself, it needs to be provided in a methylated form. However, in order for a physician to prescribe such a “special” kind of folic acid, they first need to know if we really have a damaged gene. This question may only be answered by genetic tests.

What is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a diseases, which entails complete or partial obstruction of the lumen of blood vessels by atherosclerotic plaque made of cholesterol. Cholesterol, produced in the liver, is responsible for many functions in the organism, including the production of hormones and digestion. We may distinguish two basic kinds: high-density lipoproteins (HDL), the so-called “good” cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins, colloquially called “bad” cholesterol. There is also the so-called total cholesterol which constitute the sum of all types (fractions) of cholesterol. It is also worth knowing that we provide cholesterol with food. This is why, excessively high level of “bad” cholesterol is often the effect of improper, fat diet. Blood has no possibility to flow freely through an obstructed vessel. Blood provides cells of the human organism in oxygen and nutritious substances, therefore its proper circulation in blood is essential for life. Blood ensures our internal organs proper oxygenation and nourishment. Due to this, advanced atherosclerosis may lead to heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease or lower limb disorders.

We may counteract atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis prophylaxis is based primarily on proper diet. We should eliminate the main sources of cholesterol from our menu, such as fat cheese, red meat and sweets. Instead, we should provide the organism with proper doses of folic acid. We will find it in cabbage, lettuce, Brussels sprout, broccoli, bean, pea, oranges and bananas. Folic acid decreases homocysteine level in blood, thanks to which it will not damage blood vessels any more.

B-group Vitamins Folic Acids Methylation Problems MTHFR

Folic acid (vitamin B9): properties. What is the role of folic acid?

Folic acid, also called vitamin B9, vitamin B11 or folacin, is essential for each human being and all cells of the organism. Unfortunately almost all people suffer from deficiencies of this vitamin. Lack of folic acid is especially dangerous to pregnant women, as it may cause serious fetus defects.


Folic acid (vitamin B9, vitamin B11, vitamin M, folacin or folate) is essential for all cells of our organism, from conception to old age. It is not a chemical compound, but the whole group of compounds encompassing ca. 20 pterin derivatives – a substance, which i.a. stains the color of wings of butterflies.

Folic acid: its role in the organism

Folic acid takes part in the synthesis of nucleic acids, from which DNA is produced, i.e. our genetic matrix. By the same token, it regulates the growth and functioning of all cells. Folic acid with vitamin B12 also takes part in the creation and maturation of red cells, therefore it has a blood-forming effect. We are in danger of anemia without folic acid. Scientists also claim that vitamin B9 most probably protects the organism from the development of cancer, decreases i.a. the risk of cervical cancer.


Folic acid and homocysteine level

Folic acid along with other B-group vitamins also influences the level of homocysteine – an amino acid our state of health is dependent on. Although average and low concentrations of this amino acid are not dangerous to us, its high concentration may disturb physiological processes of cells. It is especially related to tissues that intensively develop.


The level of folic acid in the organism drops when we live in stress, drink coffee and alcohol, smoke cigarettes, take acetylsalicylic acid and some kinds of contraception. Its supplies are depleted by bad diet and constant weight loss.

Recent studies prove that increased concentration of homocysteine also accompanies heart diseases, heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. This amino acid may facilitate the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol, which in such a form has larger influence on the creation of atherosclerotic changes. Moreover, homocysteine accelerates the development of atherosclerosis, damaging blood vessels and decreasing the level of nitric oxide – a compound which widens them.


The organism has two mechanisms of maintaining proper homocysteine level. It may transform it in cysteine appearing in almost all proteins, especially in hair creatine or in methionine. In the course of transformations, soothing serotonin is produced from methionine, thanks to which we fall in a deep and relaxing sleep and noradrenaline that influences our daily activity. Both these compounds are classified to the so-called happiness hormones, play an important role in the nervous system and take care of well-being. It was proven that e.g. deficiency of folic acid often appears in people with depression.

Folic acid – symptoms and effects of deficiency

Deficiency of lactic acid in the organism may lead to anemia, degenerative disorders, circulatory system diseases, osteoporosis or even cancer. Among women in the early stage of pregnancy, deficiency of this vitamin increase the risk of neural tube defects in the fetus.

Take folic acid before you get pregnant!

For the health of your child you need to take folic acid. As early as between 17th and 30th day after conception, the fetus starts to develop the nervous system, called neural tube. It is later transformed into spinal cord and brain.

Neural tube defects (NTDs) are the result of disturbing the process of “closing” it. In such a situation, amniotic fluid reaches the brain and spinal cord. The development of these organs is stopped. It leads to the development of cleft spine, anencephaly and myelomeningocele. A child born with anencephaly may survive only for a few hours. Cleft spine, on the other hand, often causes paralysis of the lower body part, often in connection with mental impairment.

In Poland these defects appear quite often, on average 1-2 cases per 1000 childbirths. In order to prevent them, all women before planned pregnancy should take 0.4 mg of folic acid per day. Thanks to this, they may decrease the risk of neural tube defects by 75%.

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Genes in sport – how important they are?

A few facts:

– Genetic research is another extremely important step in the process of creating more effective training plans and better supplementation.

– By discovering your genetic profile, you are able to better match training and supplementation to your body, which translates into achieving the best results.

– Genetic testing is currently cheaper and faster to do than ever before.

– Below you will find information on how to improve the quality and speed of your muscle increments and sports results with the help of novelties in the genetics child.

The future of training and nutrition for athletes is hidden in the genes!

The science of exercise and sport has come a long way since the days of Hippocrates and Galen – the first doctors from ancient Greece, who rightly noticed that not only diet, but also physical activity is needed to maintain health. For over 2000 years, we have been developing science about the human body and its health. Here are some of the leading trends:


All of these areas are constantly, thoroughly explored in terms of exercises and their efficiency, to maximize our sports performance. Is it by fixing the assimilation of the protein, or understanding why some jumpers are breaking records in terms of high jump or finding out which golf ball dimples will help them soar as far as possible. That’s all, and many more, we know thanks to science. It allows us to beat, once unimaginable, records and shoot more and more spectacular goals. So the question arises – what will be the next step in learning about exercise and sport?

Genetic and fitness tests

Research into physical structure, movements and nutrition is extremely important and provided us with a wealth of information. However, most of these studies have focused on the population as such, the recommendations are therefore quite generalized. Of course, many of these recommendations are factual and sensible, but the next step that we must do is the possibility of individual adjustment of the training and diet plan, in the o parce about own unique genetic traits.

A short lesson about genes and DNA

Before we delve into this extremely interesting subject, we will present some key concepts and facts:

DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid – this is you. It contains coded all information that determines how the body functions, what it will look like and all the other parameters it will characterize.

The DNA code contains smaller sequences called genes. These sequences contain code that determines how proteins are combined to achieve physical characteristics such as eye color or hair color.

Each of us has some gene variants called alleles. For example, a gene coding for eye color will have slight differences in its code depending on whether it is a gene coding for blue or brown eyes.

These are the differences that can affect how different people react to drugs, food and exercise.

How is genetic testing properly performed?

Genetic tests aimed at determining what training and nutrition will be adequate for our needs are quite simple and easily available today. Depending on the company, pre-consultation may precede them, but at the same time, you can independently do such research in the laboratory or ask you to send a DNA collection kit to you. These kits usually require a swab from the mouth or a saliva sample. The goal is to collect cells from the buccal mucosa. These cells will be broken down to extract the DNA and then to test it lengthwise and breadth for different genetic variants and isolate the links to physical performance and the specificity of nutrition.

Which genes are tested? For what?

Different laboratories will test different sets of genes. At the moment, more than 40 genes are identified that can have a significant impact on how our body responds to food and exercise. Some of them are:

The ACTN3 gene – also known as the “speed” gene, encodes a protein that is often associated with endurance fibers and rapid muscle contractions. Differences in this gene can determine if you are better at endurance-based activities or activities that require speed / energy.

The CYP1A2 gene – coding for the protein responsible for caffeine metabolism, the differentiation of this gene may affect how quickly the body gets rid of caffeine, and thus – affects the dosing recommendations.

IL15RA gene – variations of this gene can show if your body reacts to strength training mainly through increasing muscle strength or rather muscle size.

MCT1 gene – differences in the level of MCT1 protein will determine how fast the body is able to remove lactic acid, which is considered to be one of the aspects affecting fatigue.

The PPARA gene – Two different PPARA alleles can help determine how effectively the body switches between using carbohydrates or fat as a fuel source. It gives an insight into your individual propensity to demand for the type of fuel for physical activity.

Results of genetic tests – how to pierce this knowledge to your advantage

So what can you actually do with the results of the genetic tests that we will receive?

Depending on the different genetic variants, you can:

Change your training routine – let’s say that your goal is fat loss, and the results show that the body responds better to activities based on endurance exercises. So you can use this knowledge, complete your training with this type of exercise and turn up the metabolism – and hence – get better results!
Change the composition of the diet – for some people, the consumption of fat does not have a positive effect, they put it almost immediately in the form of fat. Other people, on the other hand, will make a form of life on lipids. The results of the genetic test can help you more accurately determine the composition of your diet to support and accelerate your goals.
Change your supplements – research results can offer an indication of the level of metabolism of some compounds, such as caffeine and vitamin D. This can help you better manage supplementation in order to get the most benefit.
Change your thinking – hard training and simultaneous lack of results is one of the most frustrating life situations. Research can help us and indicate what type of training will be the best, the most effective and will achieve the expected results.

Problems with genetic tests

Genetic testing to determine individual differences is an extremely safe process. Of course, it is still important to address companies with relevant questions and concerns, such as:

Where will the information on the results of genetic testing be stored?

Who gains access to the data and can this information be used for any other purpose?

Another important limitation regarding genetic research and their results is the influence of the environment on gene expression. Hence, the results may be contradictory or falsified. An example of a situation. Your genotype indicates that testosterone levels in your body should be higher than average. However, you are struggling with overweight or obesity, which, as you know, can reduce its concentration. Therefore, it is impossible to omit an extremely important environmental factor when interpreting the results of genetic testing.

The cost and time of genetic testing for training and nutrition

The cost of doing such research depends on the complexity of the tests, the number of variants that we want to check and how detailed the results are to be reported. Depending on the company, the price may vary from about $ 150 to $ 1,000.

The time of obtaining results will vary, but you have to set up for at least 2 weeks to almost 3 months, depending on whether it is a commercial laboratory or a state clinic.

Genetic tests will allow you to achieve sport and body goals faster!

Science focused on sport and nutrition has led us to a situation where it is easier than ever to achieve above-average results. Thanks to the long way we have traveled, we are now faster, more efficient and stronger than a few decades ago. After all, however, many tips are very general and do not take into account the individual needs of specific athletes. For people whose average results are satisfactory, this state of affairs is acceptable. However, many of us ask ourselves: Is it possible to do it better? Why should I train harder than I really need?

Genetic tests can be the missing part of the puzzle, necessary to create a comprehensive picture of how to train, eat, supplement and live more effectively and achieve your goals faster. The field for companies involved in this type of tests is so huge, it comes almost overnight. A question for you: Are you ready to make the most of your genetic potential?