Vitamin B12 and folic acid to eliminate homocysteine

Importance of vitamins B12 and B9 in the metabolism of homocysteine

Why  should homocysteine be eliminated?

Homocysteine ​​is a substance present in the blood that the body produces itself, as a residue of the metabolism of other substances. The problem of homocysteine ​​is that, if it accumulates, it circulates and progressively damages the blood vessels and the heart. High levels of homocysteine ​​in blood are related to the formation of atheromatous plaque that clogs the arteries.

How is homocysteine ​​eliminated?

grandparents with their grandson
People spending time outdoors. A healthy lifestyle is essential for good health.

A healthy diet and lifestyle are necessary to avoid increasing homocysteine ​​and keeping it at adequate levels. For example, it has been observed that people who smoke have very high levels of this toxic, so it would be convenient to quit smoking. It also happens with alcohol consumption, which also increases homocysteine ​​levels.

Vitamins that decrease homocysteine

In addition to avoiding the factors that increase homocysteine, two or three vitamins are recommended that are essential to reduce it:

How B vitamins eliminate homocysteine

Vitamins are nutrients that in the body have the function of helping to perform chemical reactions of metabolism (due to this function they have, most vitamins are called “coenzymes”). In this issue, vitamins B12 and folic acid are vitamins that act in the metabolism of the elimination of homocysteine, in a process known as the “methionine-homocysteine ​​cycle“.

high homocysteine
Reasons why homocysteine can increase

What is the methionine homocysteine ​​cycle?

The methionine homocysteine ​​cycle is the metabolic process by which the body neutralizes or reduces homocysteine ​​levels, transforming it into another non-toxic amino acid, methionine. In this reaction are involved, as coenzymes or “helpers”, vitamins B12 (present in foods of animal origin) and folic acid or vitamin B9 (present in foods of plant origin).

More technically, what happens is that folic acid passes the methyl group to cobalamin, and this inactivates homocysteine. These are simultaneous reactions of the metabolism of homocysteine, in which all the vitamins are involved at the same time. It could be said that vitamin B12 deactivates homocysteine ​​and converts it into methionine because folic acid “recycles B12”, since it passes its “methyl group”.

Outline on the metabolism of homocysteine

From the outset, the metabolic cycle of homocysteine ​​is a very technical issue that is not necessary to know to learn to eat healthy. But for people interested in going deeper into the subject  and knowing how these vitamins act, we have elaborated the following scheme:

metabolism homocysteine: ​​cycle homocysteine-methionine
Homocysteine ​​metabolism, the homocysteine-methionine cycle in which vitamins B12 and B9 are involved as coenzymes. It has been simplified to make it easier to understand

.Vitamin B6 in the elimination of homocysteine

Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine acts in the elimination of homocysteine ​​in another step of metabolism, transforming homocysteine ​​into another type of non-toxic amino acid, cysteine.

When talking about foods that decrease homocysteine, not much attention is usually paid to this vitamin as to the other two (vitamin B9 and B12) because the lack of pyridoxine is very rare, as it is found in many foods. For example bananas have a lot of vitamin B6.

What is the use of knowing the cycle or metabolism of homocysteine?

The content of this article has been a bit technical, although very simplified, with the only objective of explaining or implying why vitamins B9 and B12 are so important for people with heart problems.

It is also very interesting to know that high levels of homocysteine ​​have been found as a side effect of Parkinson’s treatment, precisely because of the decrease in B vitamins that occurs as a side effect of the medication.

What conclusion do we have of all this?

In short, we can summarize all of this in the following points:

  1. Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 improve circulation because they neutralize homocysteine, a toxin that damages the arteries and the heart.
  2. Good levels of vitamin B6, folic acid (B9) and vitamin B12 are necessary to reduce homocysteine, have a healthy heart and especially to prevent arteriosclerosis or accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries.
  3. No smoking and a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and foods rich in vitamin B12 like fatty fish, is all that is needed to keep homocysteine at bay.

punto rojo More information on homocysteine

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

26 April, 2019

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