The buzz about high homocysteine levels is usually heard in conversations about heart disease. But there is emerging research correlating higher levels of homocysteine levels with Alzheimer’s disease.
Homocysteine, a sulfur-containing amino acid that occurs naturally in humans, plays a role in irritating the walls of blood vessels that can lead to narrowing or hardening. High levels of homocysteine can also cause blood clotting, which can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
So the correlation between vascular dementia and high levels of homocysteine makes sense: poor blood flow to the brain leads to cell damage. But researchers discovered that people with Alzheimer’s disease also had higher levels of homocysteine than control groups (1).
Luckily, you can lower homocysteine levels by eating the right foods. Vitamin B, specifically folic acid, vitamin B6, and B12 (2).
Good sources of these B vitamins can be found in green leafy vegetables, beans, chickpeas, asparagus, and spinach.
- Homocysteine in Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia.Gallucci M, Zanardo A, De Valentin L, Vianello A. Arch Gerontol Geriatr Suppl. 2004;(9):195-200.
- Effect of homocysteine-lowering therapy with folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6 on clinical outcome after percutaneous coronary intervention: the Swiss Heart study: a randomized controlled trial. Schnyder G, Roffi M, Flammer Y, Pin R, Hess OM. JAMA. 2002 Aug 28;288(8):973-9.