The human body requires no less than 20 amino acids to function properly. As you probably already know, amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. 10 of these amino acids can be produced by the body and the other 10 need to be taken from the diet. The later ones are called essential amino acids.
Homocysteine is an amino acid produced when proteins break down. This substance plays an important role in the body. If its levels are abnormal in the body, it can predispose one to health complications. Keep reading to learn more about homocysteine and how to test for it.
Understanding Homocysteine Levels in the Body
For the body to function properly, various proteins, minerals, and hormones need to remain in normal ranges. When the levels of one substance get too high or too low, this can cause health complications. This is the case for homocysteine too.
Let's take a closer look at homocysteine levels in the body and understand what they mean:
- Normal levels - less than 15 mcmol/L of blood
- High levels - 30-100 mcmol/L of blood
- Dangerously high levels - over 100 mcmol/L of blood
These numbers are expressed as micromoles per liter of blood. If your homocysteine levels are up to 30 mcmol/L, you are generally safe. Anything higher can predispose you to health complications including cardiovascular disease.
Causes and Symptoms
Having abnormal homocysteine levels doesn't usually create symptoms in adults. If symptoms appear, they are subtle and can be ignored easily. That's why you need a proper homocysteine test to check your homocysteine levels.
Some of the most popular symptoms reported by patients include fatigue, pale skin, and a tingling sensation in hands and feet. In some cases, people with elevated homocysteine levels also develop mouth sores and dizziness.
One of the most popular causes of elevated homocysteine includes a deficiency in vitamin B or folate. This vitamin is essential in numerous body functions and a lack of it can lead to health complications. Other causes of elevated homocysteine levels include kidney disease, psoriasis, bad genetics, or using certain medications.
Complications That Could Appear with Elevated Homocysteine Levels
It's important to check your homocysteine levels regularly because it can cause severe complications in abnormal quantities. For example, people who have very high levels of this amino acid can develop a heart attack, coronary artery disease, or experience the formation of blood clots inside arteries and veins.
In other cases, people with high homocysteine levels can develop neurodegenerative diseases. These are represented by dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. In such cases, the brain shrinks in size, and the person in question will develop serious problems to the nervous systems.
Lastly, too much homocysteine in the blood can also lead to osteoporosis. This is characterized by bone fragility and a predisposition to fractures.
Treatment Options for Elevated Homocysteine Levels
As mentioned earlier, having a deficiency of vitamin B in your body can lead to high homocysteine levels. Increasing your vitamin B intake seems to solve this problem with little to no difficulty. For example, if your test reveals that you have too much homocysteine in your blood, your doctor might recommend dietary changes.
Beans, green vegetables, and other foods are rich in vitamin B. You might need to include them more often in your diet. If your deficiency is really high, you might even be required to take vitamin B supplements. These supplements are affordable and they will hopefully fix your vitamin B deficiency.
Ideally, you'd want to test your homocysteine levels using a homocysteine test every 2 months. If these levels are normal, your treatment works. If the levels are still too high, you might need to increase your vitamin B intake. At the same time, keep in mind that thyroid problems or other underlying conditions might also increase your homocysteine levels. You should treat these accordingly if your supplementation with vitamin B doesn't seem to fix the problem.
How to Use a Homocysteine Test
Almost any substance in your body can be tested using a blood sample. All that you have to do is to buy a homocysteine blood test from websites such as DiscountedLabs. Once your order is confirmed, you will be mailed a form that you go with to the nearest blood collection center. Your sample will be analyzed and the results will be emailed to you in a few business days.
Once you have the results, the next step is to compare them against reference values such as the ones mentioned above. You can also go to your doctor to help you interpret the results, especially if your homocysteine levels are elevated. Your healthcare provider might make appropriate diet recommendations to bring your levels of homocysteine down.
Order Your Homocysteine Test Today
The beauty of direct-to-consumer blood tests is that you can buy them online from reputable websites such as DiscountedLabs and get a complete overview of your health without having to deal with your doctor. This saves time and effort, not to mention that online blood tests are ridiculously cheap these days.
Get your homocysteine blood test today and see if you're predisposed to cardiovascular diseases and other health complications.