Omega-3s, B Vitamins Work Together to Lower Homocysteine LevelsPrint
A new study out of Australia suggests B vitamins enhance the homocysteine-lowering effect of omega-3s. This is good news for people who are concerned about a high homocysteine level, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and certain neurological diseases, as well as to lowered bone mineral density in women.
Homocysteine is an amino acid that forms in your blood as a byproduct of digesting animal protein. It also is produced in our bodies from another amino acid called methionine. People who consume a diet high in animal protein and low in leafy green vegetables, fruits and grain-based foods – all of which have high levels of folic acid and B vitamins – may develop high homocysteine levels.
Past studies have shown omega-3s can help lower homocysteine levels. The latest study done at Deakin University in Australia and published in Nutrition Research, showed that adding folic acid as well as vitamins B6 and B12 may enhance the effects of omega-3s and lower homocysteine levels even further.
Are you worried about your homocysteine level? Inadequate intake of B vitamins, stress, low thyroid levels, kidney disease, psoriasis, genetic factors, excessive caffeine intake and high animal protein consumption, as well as certain medications can deplete folic acid and B vitamins, ultimately leading to elevated homocysteine levels. There are no symptoms of high homocysteine levels and blood tests are used to diagnose the condition, although not all insurance companies cover the test unless it is deemed medically necessary.
Here are some tips to lower your homocysteine level naturally:
- Take an omega-3 supplement
- Get enough folic acid, B6 and B12 through supplements and foods such as green vegetables, beans and orange juice
- Reduce your animal protein intake
- Limit your caffeine intake
- Manage stress