78ecfc8268ec58cdc189301f4b071088
2

High Homocysteine Levels -- Caused By Paleo? Bad For You?

by (1655)
Updated about 4 hours ago
Created February 08, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Hey all,

I just got my annual blood test. I'm an 85% paleo guy.

The doctor tested for my homocysteine levels. The lab (and the Internets) say that the healthy homocysteine level is 3.7 to 13.9 umol/l. I'm a 15 -- far above the max!

My three questions are:

1.) Could this be caused by being (mostly) paleo? 2.) Does this increase any risks of mine? 3.) While staying within the paleo framework, any recommendations on what I can do to lower it?

The internets have not been that helpful; some pages recommend supplementing vitamin B...

Thanks for your help! morgan

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 12, 2012 at 4:10 PM

MTHFR related enzyme malfunction isn't remotely the only thing that can cause high homocysteine. There are others within the folate and methinine cycles that can also result in high homocysteine. I suggest you research more into this, and I suggest to the OP as well, so that one doesn't focus on one to the exclusion of other equal possibilities.

D8c04730b5d016a839b3c5b932bf59dd
823 · February 10, 2012 at 5:28 AM

Thank you for that article, wildwabbit. VERY helpful.

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 09, 2012 at 11:30 PM

There is far more to damage from homocysteine than in the "body". Check out this article: http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2011/01/i-hate-homocysteine-also-it-is-elevated.html

78ecfc8268ec58cdc189301f4b071088
1655 · February 09, 2012 at 3:16 PM

But here's what I don't understand: all of these scientific study web sites, and google results when you search, say that high homocysteine levels are correlated with cardio problems - YET, they say, reducing homocysteine levels does NOT reduce cardio problems. Therefore, I'm worried that just, say, supplementing with the right vitamins won't solve the problems, but rather there's a deeper, underlying cause that just taking vitamins doesn't address. Any thoughts?

78ecfc8268ec58cdc189301f4b071088
1655 · February 09, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Mostly just "cheating" on Brad, cookies. I don't cheat that much (I'm still mostly paleo) but I do enough - a few times a week - so that I don't feel confident to label myself "fully" paleo.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd
4111 · February 09, 2012 at 4:07 AM

Another paleo jew?!?! Welcome to the crew.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661
15226 · February 09, 2012 at 2:48 AM

I believe the A1298C mutation also affects the same enzyme MTHFR

9dd74d3941535d0aaa2c8d3cf454fb7e
800 · February 09, 2012 at 2:20 AM

While the two C677T genes can have mutations there is also A1298C involved in homecysteine metabolism. If all three genes are mutated you should supplement with methylated B6 and B12 (methylcobalamin, not the cyanocobalamin common in low cost supplements).

Bbceb114ed2332c22490e324d991497e
705 · February 08, 2012 at 8:31 PM

This is the likely explanation. I have the defective form of the MTHFR enzyme, and my homocycteine is elevated. You can manage it by eating more b6, b9, and b12. If you want to be extra sure, you could get your DNA tested at a site like 23andme.com

Bbceb114ed2332c22490e324d991497e
705 · February 08, 2012 at 8:30 PM

This is the likely explanation. I have the defective form of the MTHFR enzyme, and my homocycteine is elevated. You can manage it be eating more b6, b9, and b12. If you want to be extra sure, you could get your DNA tested at a site like 23andme.com

Bbceb114ed2332c22490e324d991497e
705 · February 08, 2012 at 8:30 PM

This is the likely explanation. I have the defective form of the MTHFR enzyme, and my homocycteine is elevated. You can manage it be eating more b6, b9, and b12. If you want to be extra sure, you could get your DNA tested at a site like 23andme.com For more Paleo hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/96121/high-homocysteine-levels-caused-by-paleo-bad-for-you#ixzz1lpAXZ5Yl

Bbceb114ed2332c22490e324d991497e
705 · February 08, 2012 at 8:29 PM

This is the likely explanation. I have the defective form of the MTHFR enzyme, and my homocycteine is elevated. You can manage it be eating for b6, b9, and b12. If you want to be extra sure, you could get your DNA tested at a site like 23andme.com

78ecfc8268ec58cdc189301f4b071088
1655 · February 08, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Oooh interesting! I'm not sure what the C677T genotype is, and all the information I see online is too technical, but I am Ashkenazi Jewish and according to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10494095 there seems to be a huge incidence of this among Ashkenazi Jews... I'm still not clear on the health ramifications of this for me...

2870a69b9c0c0a19a919e54cb3a62137
1515 · February 08, 2012 at 1:59 PM

http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/03/anyone-doing-paleo-without-liver-bones.html

  • Total Views
    2.4K
  • Recent Activity
    E3d510a43a31c7626a9c6d5a2e896699
  • Last Activity
    95D AGO
  • Followers
    0

Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

5 Answers

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661
6
15226 · February 08, 2012 at 3:02 PM

You may be a C677T genotype. This decreases activity of the MTHFR enzyme, leading to high homocycteine. Not sure your ethnicity but it is more common in some types. I'm walking out the door now but if nobody else chimes in about this I'll add more to my answer later today.

edit: I'll add a little more here, though Wildwabbit gave a pretty good answer as well...

This picture is from a textbook and may be helpful. You can see where the Methylene THF reductase works, that is the enzyme you're deficient in. First off, I'm not a doctor but I can wax poetic on what I'd do if I had this situation... I'd eat liver and egg yolks to take in B vitamins and choline (which also affects a pathway between homocysteine and methionine, it's not drawn in but it could be drawn on the right side between those two places).

Supplementing B12, B6, and folate seems to be good advice. 5-methyl THF is the functional form of folate, and is available as a supplement. I'm not sure if all supplements provide that form however. B12 supplement should probably use the methylcobalamin form. B6 as pyridoxal phosphate (PLP) might be the best form but I'm not sure if any B6 will do.

78ecfc8268ec58cdc189301f4b071088
1655 · February 08, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Oooh interesting! I'm not sure what the C677T genotype is, and all the information I see online is too technical, but I am Ashkenazi Jewish and according to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10494095 there seems to be a huge incidence of this among Ashkenazi Jews... I'm still not clear on the health ramifications of this for me...

Bbceb114ed2332c22490e324d991497e
705 · February 08, 2012 at 8:30 PM

This is the likely explanation. I have the defective form of the MTHFR enzyme, and my homocycteine is elevated. You can manage it be eating more b6, b9, and b12. If you want to be extra sure, you could get your DNA tested at a site like 23andme.com For more Paleo hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/96121/high-homocysteine-levels-caused-by-paleo-bad-for-you#ixzz1lpAXZ5Yl

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661
15226 · February 09, 2012 at 2:48 AM

I believe the A1298C mutation also affects the same enzyme MTHFR

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd
4111 · February 09, 2012 at 4:07 AM

Another paleo jew?!?! Welcome to the crew.

Bbceb114ed2332c22490e324d991497e
705 · February 08, 2012 at 8:30 PM

This is the likely explanation. I have the defective form of the MTHFR enzyme, and my homocycteine is elevated. You can manage it be eating more b6, b9, and b12. If you want to be extra sure, you could get your DNA tested at a site like 23andme.com

9dd74d3941535d0aaa2c8d3cf454fb7e
800 · February 09, 2012 at 2:20 AM

While the two C677T genes can have mutations there is also A1298C involved in homecysteine metabolism. If all three genes are mutated you should supplement with methylated B6 and B12 (methylcobalamin, not the cyanocobalamin common in low cost supplements).

Bbceb114ed2332c22490e324d991497e
705 · February 08, 2012 at 8:31 PM

This is the likely explanation. I have the defective form of the MTHFR enzyme, and my homocycteine is elevated. You can manage it by eating more b6, b9, and b12. If you want to be extra sure, you could get your DNA tested at a site like 23andme.com

Bbceb114ed2332c22490e324d991497e
705 · February 08, 2012 at 8:29 PM

This is the likely explanation. I have the defective form of the MTHFR enzyme, and my homocycteine is elevated. You can manage it be eating for b6, b9, and b12. If you want to be extra sure, you could get your DNA tested at a site like 23andme.com

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
3
2387 · February 08, 2012 at 7:45 PM

There are several ways to handle high homocysteine that usually involves a mix of b6,b12, and folic acid, or TMG. It can go one of 3 ways: 1. B12 on the methionine-cycle side + folic acid on the folic acid cycle side allows homocystein to convert back into methionine. 2. TMG (tri-methyl-glycine also called betaine) will also convert homocysteine to methionine, side-stepping contributions from the folic-acid cycle. 3. B6 will shunt homocysteine to outside of the methionine cycle down the path to glutathione which is a critical antioxidant produced by the body which reduces glutamate toxicity.

A buildup of homocysteine is produced either by a vitamin deficiency or by a genetic deficiency in the enzymes that convert among those pathways. I myself sent away for genetic testing to find out where my deficiencies are, as I have already learned B12 supplementation causes me issues through trial and elimination (both cyano and methyl cobalamin forms).

EDIT: Jeff did a really good expansion, this thread has alot of potential :)

If indeed there are any enzymatic issues that hold up any part of the folate cycle, whether with MTHFR or MTR (which recycles B12) the best bet for lowering homocysteine may be via TMG(Betaine) which side-steps both of those. I also ran across this interesting tidbit from the wikipedia methionine page:

"Homocysteine can also be remethylated using glycine betaine (NNN-trimethyl glycine, TMG) to methionine via the enzyme betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (E.C.2.1.1.5, BHMT). BHMT makes up to 1.5% of all the soluble protein of the liver, and recent evidence suggests that it may have a greater influence on methionine and homocysteine homeostasis than methionine synthase."

(i.e. the path using tmg(betaine) may have greater relevancy than the path that consumes B12 - alas there is no cite for the above statement)

Moral of the story, there are 3 ways to try to lower homocysteine. You pretty much need to pick a path, supplement for awhile, then recheck. Or get your genome sequenced :)

D8c04730b5d016a839b3c5b932bf59dd
823 · February 10, 2012 at 5:28 AM

Thank you for that article, wildwabbit. VERY helpful.

78ecfc8268ec58cdc189301f4b071088
1655 · February 09, 2012 at 3:16 PM

But here's what I don't understand: all of these scientific study web sites, and google results when you search, say that high homocysteine levels are correlated with cardio problems - YET, they say, reducing homocysteine levels does NOT reduce cardio problems. Therefore, I'm worried that just, say, supplementing with the right vitamins won't solve the problems, but rather there's a deeper, underlying cause that just taking vitamins doesn't address. Any thoughts?

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 09, 2012 at 11:30 PM

There is far more to damage from homocysteine than in the "body". Check out this article: http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2011/01/i-hate-homocysteine-also-it-is-elevated.html

E3d510a43a31c7626a9c6d5a2e896699
1
10 · February 12, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Definitely sounds like MTHFR C677T. You do not want to take folic. People with the MTHFR gene variant have trouble converting folic into folate. Same with cyanocobalamin (b12). You want it to be in the form of methylcobalamin. Cyanocobalamin has been proven not to fight oxidative stress in people with the MTHFR gene mutation and can possibly deplete your methylcobalamin. And you want your B6 to be in the form of P-5-P as well. I have a web page called MTHFRsupport.com. I have links to lectures and am adding information and research daily. You also want to test your MMA (methylmalonic acid) levels as well as your homocysteine. Your homocysteine is not converting to methionine synthase or cysteine. This toxic amino acid will cause b anemia, cardiac events, dvt, pulmonary embolisms, elevated cholesterol, atrophy of the brain and much more. MTHFR should be taken seriously considering that 98% of children with autism have either the A1298C and/or the C677T gene mutations and the other 2% usually have gene mutations that are not commonly tested yet. Your homocysteine can fall back into an adequate range in a few months with active methyl donor forms of b vitamins, TMG (trimethylglyceine/betaine) and BH4 (if you have aluminum,lead, CBS and/or MTHFR A1298C). Most of us with and MTHFR gene mutation like to see our homocysteine stay between a 6-8. Mine stays at a 6.5. If mine goes below a 6, I reduce the amount of folate I am taking in and if it goes above and 8, I add additional folate. I had 13 pulmonary embolisms before I found out I had MTHFR and had a few after because my doctors who were initially treating me were not aware that inactive synthetic b vitamins and foods fortified with synthetic b's are not a good idea for people with MTHFR. Dr. Ben Lynch also helps us with our MTHFR issues. He is a great source of information and has many people with MTHFR on a paleo diet. You can find him at MTHFR.net. I am putting together an MTHFR conference/workshop in New Orleans. It is in the planning stages right now. If any of you know of any doctors interested in lecturing or attending, they may contact me at MTHFRsupport.com.

3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866
2387 · February 12, 2012 at 4:10 PM

MTHFR related enzyme malfunction isn't remotely the only thing that can cause high homocysteine. There are others within the folate and methinine cycles that can also result in high homocysteine. I suggest you research more into this, and I suggest to the OP as well, so that one doesn't focus on one to the exclusion of other equal possibilities.

D8c04730b5d016a839b3c5b932bf59dd
0
823 · February 08, 2012 at 3:59 PM

I thought wikipedia was pretty clear and helpful. "Homocysteine is not obtained from the diet." and it's got a published citation. It also points to 'chronic alcohol consumption (which can deplete your B vitamins). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homocysteine

What is the 15% that you are not paleo?

78ecfc8268ec58cdc189301f4b071088
1655 · February 09, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Mostly just "cheating" on Brad, cookies. I don't cheat that much (I'm still mostly paleo) but I do enough - a few times a week - so that I don't feel confident to label myself "fully" paleo.

62442eec80b7d248ccfa08f98f736748
0
445 · February 08, 2012 at 3:47 PM

High homoceisteine is a positive test for folic acid (b9 def). Any corresponding blood lab work to indicate folic acid deficiency anemia? Sorry cant help much more. That's all they've taught us about homocysteine in med school so far!

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account

Get Free Paleo Recipes