Homocysteine is linked to cardiovascular disease, neurological conditions

By Karen Hales, Neurology Solutions Contributing Writer

Scientific literature contains a multitude of research studies linking homocysteine to poor health. Elevated homocysteine in Parkinson’s is thought to worsen oxidative stress on the neurons that produce dopamine, making them more easily damaged by environmental toxins. This video by Neurology Solutions Nurse Practitioner Jordan Harborth explains the correlation between homocysteine (Hcy) and neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is a sulfur-containing non-protein amino acid involved in the way proteins within cells are folded, maintain their shape, and link to each other. Researchers have discovered that homocysteine can prevent the formation of nitric oxide, a substance that keeps blood vessels pliable and prevents formation of atherosclerosis.

Elevation of plasma homocysteine (hyperhomocysteinemi) has been linked to cardiovascular disorders, an increased risk of fractures in the elderly, stroke, and to neurological conditions such as PD and Alzheimer’s. Even mild elevations in homocysteine can significantly increase the risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke and heart attack and increase the risk of cognitive decline in the future.

The normal level of homocysteine is considered to be between 5 and 15 micromoles per liter; however, researchers found that those whose homocysteine levels were over 14 micromoles per liter had twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as those with lower levels.

Because elevated homocysteine may support progression in Parkinson’s disease, Neurology Solutions monitors the homocysteine levels of all their Parkinson’s disease treatment patients during initial and regular follow-up appointments and aggressively treats those with a homocysteine level of 12 and above.

What Causes Elevated Homocysteine?

  • Some causes of elevated homocysteine include lifestyle factors such as: poor diet, protein deficiency, smoking, high coffee and alcohol intake, and sedentary lifestyle.
  • Levodopa, used during Parkinson’s treatment to reduce the symptoms, also leads to overproduction of homocysteine.
  • Conditions including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammatory disorders and some intestinal disorders such as celiac and Crohn’s disease can lead to higher homocysteine levels.
  • Age, as well as some prescription drugs, also can increase an individual’s homocysteine levels.
  • Family history and genetic makeup play a role in increasing homocysteine levels, which are generally higher in men than women.

How Does One Treat Elevated Homocysteine?

Dietary changes are imperative to properly treating elevated homocysteine levels. Supplements are encouraged in order to correct demethylation abnormalities and lower homocysteine levels. It is important to consult with your doctor before starting any supplement regimen, as some have negative interactions with standard medications.

Vitamin B (B12 and B6) supplementation, folic acid (folate), and proper protein intake have been recommended in cognitive and neurodegenerative disorders.

Taking 1500 mg per day (two 750 mg doses) of Trimethylglycene can normalize homocysteine by inhibiting the body’s ability to produce it. It also increases production of glutathione (GSH), an important antioxidant capable of preventing oxidative stress, which interferes with the cells’ ability to detoxify free radicals, peroxides and heavy metals.

Metabolic Enhancement for Neurodegenerative Disorders

Diet and nutrition are an important part in preventing disease, enhancing metabolism and improving outcomes. Neurology Solutions’ goal is to delay progression of disease by correcting metabolic abnormalities with a comprehensive approach that incorporates the MEND protocol, which stands for metabolic enhancement for neurodegenerative diseases.

Follow Neurology Solutions’ Video Series on Youtube

This video on elevated Homocysteine in Parkinson’s disease is part of a series on MEND by Neurology Solutions. a comprehensive evaluation and treatment center based in Austin, Texas, specializing in Parkinson’s disease treatments, tremor, and dystonia treatments. The video series is designed to educate patients and the community at large on various areas of metabolism and promote longer and better quality of life for individuals with neurodegenerative disorders. Please follow Neurology Solutions’ Youtube page to be notified of future videos on lifestyle and treatment options for movement disorders.

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Neurology Solutions is accepting new patients seeking a specialist in managing Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, essential tremor treatments, and age-related movement disorders. If you would like a movement disorder specialist consultation, please contact Neurology Solutions or call 512-865-6310 to schedule an appointment.

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