Metabolic Health

Homocysteine

A healthy result should fall into the range 0 - 10 µmol/L, or 0.00 - 10.00 umol/L.

Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood. A healthcare practitioner may order a homocysteine test to determine if a person has a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency, because homocysteine concentrations may become elevated before B12 and folate tests are abnormal. Symptoms of B12 / folate deficiency are initially subtle and nonspecific but may include:

- Diarrhea

- Dizziness

- Fatigue, weakness

- Loss of appetite

- Paleness

- Rapid heart rate

- Shortness of breath

Frequently, this test is also recommended for malnourished individuals, the elderly (who often absorb less vitamin B12 from their diet), and individuals with poor nutrition—such as drug or alcohol addicts. Although the role homocysteine plays in the progression of cardiovascular disease has not been established, it may be used to screen individuals at high risk for heart attack or stroke. Finally, a homocysteine blood test can be used to identify a rare, inherited disease called homocystinuria, which causes a deficiency of one of several enzymes needed to convert food to energy.

It is worth noting that women going through menopause typically have abnormal homocysteine levels.

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