Homocysteine (Hcy) is an amino acid in the blood.
While most amino acids found in the body are building blocks of protein or muscle, homocysteine is formed as an intermediate step in the production of another amino acid, methionine. The production of methionine requires a number of vitamins. When these vitamins are in short supply, the level of Hcy in the blood rises.
And this is a very bad thing for your health.
The Dangers of Homocysteine
In fact, having high levels of this amino acid increases inflammation and the risk for developing plaque in the arteries—a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke. In the brain, Hcy contributes to depression and cognitive decline.
Research from The Hordaland Homocysteine Study (HHS) suggests having high levels of this amino acid poses yet another health risk – thinning bones in women. In this study, more than 18,000 people were followed for seven years. Those with raised homocysteine levels not only had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, and cognitive decline, but also osteoporosis.