Tag Archives: Antioxidants

Homocysteine – The H Factor


Homocysteine is increasingly being recognised as an important risk factor for a number of common medical conditions. There is high academic and public interest in this unique biological marker emphasising the need for regular testing and monitoring of homocysteine levels within the blood.

A high homocysteine level puts you at greater risk of cardio-vascular disease than cholesterol does! In fact, high Homocysteine levels have been linked to over 100 diseases including: Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer heart attacks, strokes, cholesterol, depression, rapid aging, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, diabetes, penile erection dysfunction, headaches, CFS, infertility, miscarriage, thyroid problems and ulcers.

So what exactly is Homocysteine? 
Homocysteine is an amino acid produced by your body as it breaks down protein during the process of methylation.
Methylation is the process of converting the food that you eat into the nutrients your body needs at that exact time or more scientifically it’s the chemical conversion of methionine.

Homocysteine accumulates in the system and becomes toxic if it is not further converted, through methylation again, into other amino acids. Methylation is impeded if your body is deficient in the co-factors needed to convert Homocysteine into SAMe (controls moods and other brain functions). Although produced in many anabolic reactions, most SAMe is produced and consumed in the liver and Glutathione (the body’s best anti-ageing antioxidant and detoxification agent).

How to lower your Homocysteine levels?
Take Vitamin B2, vitamin B6, folate or folic acid (vitamin B9), vitamin B12, Zinc and TMG (Trimethylglycine).


As you can see in the above diagram from Patrick Holfords book – “New Optimum Nutrition Bible”, these vitamins and minerals are essential to convert methionine to Glutathione and SAMEe. Remember to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement daily then add your homocysteine cocktail.

Did you know?



  • Warfarin, aspirin, Vitamin E and high EPA/DHA fish oils all thin the blood. Stop taking if you’re going in for an operation!
  • Avoid yeasts & alcohol when taking anti-depressants.
  • Always take B vitamins in a complex or with a multivitamin and mineral supplement.
  • Reduce Vitamin A when pregnant or trying to conceive.
  • Aspirin increases the need for vitamin C.
  • The Pill and HRT increases need for B6, B12, Folic acid and zinc.
  • Antibiotics increase the need for B vitamins and beneficial gut bacteria (probiotics).
  • Paracetamol increases the need for antioxidants.
  • Don’t supplement beta-carotene by itself if you are smoker. Take in a multi-vitamin.
  • B2 (riboflavin) makes urine bright yellow – don’t panic!
  • B3 (Niacin) in high doses can make you flush and go red, hot and itchy for up to 30 minutes. Normal – not an allergy. Flush-free B3 is available.
  • Vitamin C has a laxative effect. Ideal intake is ‘bowel-tolerance level’ then reduce again.
  • Never take copper supplement unless it contains at least 10 x the amount of zinc i.e. 1mg copper : 10-15mg zinc
  • Vitamin D increases absorption of calcium – too much can lead to calcification of soft tissue.
  • Never supplement Calcium without magnesium and phosphorous Ca : Mg = 3 : 2 and Ca : Ph = 1 : 2