In a previous Moss Nutrition Digest (November 2019), we examined the relationship between homocysteine levels and bone health, reporting on a 2004 clinical study that found a 2 to 4 times increased risk of hip fracture in adults with the highest homocysteine levels compared to those with the lowest. In this issue, we take a closer look at the relationship between homocysteine levels and cognitive health.
Homocysteine, an amino acid intermediary formed during the metabolic conversion of methionine both to and from cysteine, is well known for its association with cardiovascular diseases. Countless studies have associated elevated homocysteine with atherosclerosis, blood clots, heart attack and stroke. Less commonly recognized is the relationship between homocysteine levels and other conditions.
The first research to report an association between vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and high total homocysteine, concurrent with low serum levels of folate and vitamin B12, was published in 1998. Two decades later, an International Consensus Statement on the now established link between even moderately raised homocysteine and brain health appeared in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. In this editorial, the authors state that intervention trials in cognitively impaired seniors repeatedly have shown “homocysteine-lowering treatment with B vitamins markedly slows the rate of whole and regional brain atrophy and reduces the rate of cognitive decline.”
In most patients, normal homocysteine levels are easy to achieve via cost-effective dietary intervention that replenishes the key nutrients required for converting homocysteine into methionine and cysteine: folate, vitamin B6 & vitamin B12. While most commonly taken to help support cardiovascular health, these three homocysteine factors, along with the conditionally required trimethylglycine (betaine), also may help provide nutritive support for healthy brain and cognitive function in aging individuals.
Homocysteine Select™ offers a full array of homocysteine factors—methylfolate, vitamins B6 & B12, and betaine— plus inflammation supportive Meriva® curcumin phytosome to help support healthy homocysteine metabolism.
By Diana Allen, MS, CNS, Product Development Manager
1. McLean RR, et al. Homocysteine as a predictive factor for hip fracture in older persons. New England Journal of Medicine. 2004 May 13;350(20):2042-9.
2. Smith AD, et al. Homocysteine and Dementia: An International Consensus Statement. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 62 (2018) 567-570