Why Our Health is a Balancing Act.

When it comes to our health and nutrition we are now at the frontier of a new age. When once it was thought that an EKG was the end all diagnostic tool in determining cardiovascular health, Homocysteine steps in as another indicator of risk.

 

When was the last time you had your Homocysteine levels checked?

Homocysteine is a major contributor to the maintenance and balance of our physiology. It affects us all whether you are a carnivore, a vegan, or somewhere in between. If you are not eating a balanced diet your levels could be elevated.

What does this mean and what is this stuff?

Homocysteine is an amino acid, that’s the breakdown product of protein metabolism in are bodies. It’s normal for us to have it, we all do. However, a balanced diet is critical for keeping it in balance. When we lose that balance we can set off elevated levels that put us at risk.

Risk for what?

Elevated Homocysteine levels have been linked to cardiovascular disease, strokes and a host of other diseases.

Why?

In a nutshell ~ High levels of homocysteine makes a person more prone to endothelial injury. This means injury to the cells that line your vessels (endothelial). Injury to these cells can cause vascular inflammation called ischemia. This in turn may lead to atherogenesis or plaque deposits on your arterial walls. All of this together means heart disease and a plethora of other illnesses.

 

How do we balance?

Diet, plain and simple. Foods high in B6, folate and more specifically B12 are especially important. These B vitamins are essential for keeping homocysteine levels within the normal range. When we don’t get those key vitamins in our diet, the body cannot get rid of this toxic homocysteine as needed. The result is a homocysteine build-up.

What foods contain these B vitamins?

We can obtain B6 and folic acid from a variety of foods such as nuts, seeds, beans and leafy greens, but the critical nutrient B12 is almost exclusively obtained from animal products. Therefore special attention towards supplementation is advisable for people adhering to a strict vegan diet.

What are the signs of elevated Homocysteine levels?

Unfortunately there’s no telltale symptoms.

How do I check it?

Homocysteine levels are checked by a simple blood test and can be added on to a yearly physical or routine blood work.

The bottom line ~ eating a balanced diet including foods rich in these essential B vitamins will bring harmony to our body, mind and soul.