Homocysteine: The Facts
High blood levels of this amino acid are associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.
Doctors routinely measure blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar, because high levels are strongly associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and bringing these levels down through diet, exercise, and appropriate medication may lower risk. Some researchers suggest that another measure, homocysteine (ho-mo-SIS-teen) levels, should be added to that list. “Multiple studies have found an association between high blood levels of homocysteine and higher cardiovascular disease risk (especially heart attack) as well as higher risk of certain causes of cognitive decline,” says Irwin H. Rosenberg, MD, a professor at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and senior scientist at the Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory.