Homocysteine Factors: Beyond Heart Health

Homocysteine, an amino acid intermediary formed during the metabolic conversion of methionine both to and from cysteine, is well known for its unhappy relationship with cardiovascular disease. Countless studies have associated elevated homocysteine levels with issues such as atherosclerosis, blood clots, heart attack and stroke.

Less commonly recognized is the relationship between high homocysteine levels and bone health. High homocysteine is known to interfere with collagen cross-linking, an effect with the potential to weaken skeletal structure and increase the risk of osteoporotic fractures.

A 2004 report published in the New England Journal of Medicine examining data from male and female Framingham Health Study participants, aged 59 to 91, supports this conclusion. Careful analysis found that men with the highest levels of homocysteine (20.8±15.7  μmol/L) had nearly four times the risk for hip fracture as men with the lowest levels (8.5±0.9 μmol/L), while women with the highest homocysteine levels (18.6±6.4 μmol/L) were almost twice as likely to break a hip as women with the lowest levels (7.6±1.0 μmol/L).

Today, it is generally accepted that in most people, normal homocysteine levels are easy to achieve via dietary interventions that replenish nutrients required for converting homocysteine into methionine and cysteine: bioavailable folate, vitamin B6 & vitamin B12. While most commonly taken to support cardiovascular health, these three “homocysteine factors” may offer the added advantage of providing nutritive support for strong and healthy bones. Further research also suggests a role for healthy homocysteine levels in promoting healthy brain and neurological function, another bonus for anyone taking homocysteine support for heart health.

By Diana Allen, MS, CNS, Product Development Manager

Moss Nutrition Digest #16 – 11/13/2019 – PDF Version

REFERENCES

McLean RR, et al. Homocysteine as a predictive factor for hip fracture in older persons. N Engl J Med. 2004 May 13;350(20):2042-9.

Thaler R, et al. Homocysteine suppresses the expression of the collagen cross-linker lysyl oxidase involving IL-6, Fli1, and epigenetic DNA methylation. J Biol Chem. 2011 Feb 18;286(7):5578-88.

Tinelli C, et al. Hyperhomocysteinemia as a Risk Factor and Potential Nutraceutical Target for Certain Pathologies. Front Nutr. 2019 Apr 24;6:49. CV Select® provides comprehensive support for a healthy cardiovascular system with targeted micronutrients, amino acids and botanicals.

CV Select® provides comprehensive support for a healthy cardiovascular system with targeted micronutrients, amino acids and botanicals. CV Select® features beneficial levels of the three homocysteine factors: bioavailable methylfolate (5-MTHF), activated vitamin B6 (pyridoxal-5’-phosphate) and methylated vitamin B 12 (methylcobalamin).

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