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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.

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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%.