While the American Heart Association does not consider elevated levels of homocysteine--an amino acid found in the blood--to be a major risk factor for heart disease, it does recommend that patients deemed as high risk for heart disease take steps to regulate the levels of this amino acid. It doesn't take much to lower your homocysteine level, but it may take a little more effort if you lack key nutrients in your diet or have certain medical conditions.
Eat foods that are high in folic acid, such as fruits and vegetables. Spinach, asparagus and collard greens are some of the best sources of folic acid, and they are also low in calories. Raw vegetables retain the most amount of folic acid, so try to make them part of your diet. If you cook these vegetables, steam or boil them to retain the folic acid.
Increase your intake of vitamins B12 and B6. Vitamins B12 and B6 work in conjunction with folic acid to regulate your homocysteine levels. Vitamins B12 and B6 can be found in meats and dairy products, such as eggs, fish, chicken, beef and pork. You may need to take a supplement if you have a severe deficiency of these vitamins. If you are a vegetarian or have a condition such as Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome or pernicious anemia that cause a deficiency of these vitamins, you should take a natural B12 or B6 extract.
Correct harmful habits, like smoking and alcoholism. Smoking raises the homocysteine levels in your body by contributing to B12 deficiency, while alcoholism raises homocysteine levels by causing a deficiency of folic acid. Avoiding coffee can also help lower homocysteine levels. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed increases in homocysteine levels within hours after coffee was ingested.
Tips & Warnings
- Consult a physician and a nutritionist if you are have an elevated risk of heart disease and a B12 or B6 deficiency to properly formulate a dietary plan to ensure you obtain adequate amounts of these vitamins.
How to Reduce Homocysteine
Homocysteine is an amino acid that is an important metabolite for maintaining health. Elevated homocysteine is associated with a variety of diseases,...