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. 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.