by Nils Osmar. Updated Nov. 9, 2022. Medical Disclaimer
Homocysteine is non-essential sulfur-containing amino acid formed from the demethylation of an essential amino acid, methionine. (We need some dietary methionine to stay alive.) (See study) Methionine is found primarily in foods such as red meat
Homocysteine isn’t “bad” or “good” exactly, but its levels are important. When it goes out of balance, our health can suffer.
Dangers off low homocysteine
According to this summary, signs of low homocysteine include:
- Chronic gut infections.
- Inflammatory conditions such as endometriosis.
- Low blood pressure.
- Brain fog.
Dangers of high homocysteine
With that said, high homocysteine can also cause health problems, and for many people is probably the greater danger. According to this Cleveland Clinic article, “elevated homocysteine increases your risks for dementia, heart disease and stroke.”
How to lower homocysteine
- One way to lower homocysteine levels would be to decrease our consumption of red meat, and either eating a more plant-based diet or replacing red meat with foods such as fish, and/or taking fish oil. See study: Fish oil decreases serum homocysteine in hyperlipemic men
- Another approach would be to add more foods rich in folate, such as dark green leafy vegetables (turnip greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli) or take folate supplements. According to this study, “Folic acid is the most important dietary determinant of homocysteine; daily supplementation with 0.5 to 5.0 mg typically lowers plasma homocysteine levels by about 25 percent.” Taking it along with vitamins B6 and B12 can enhance the effects of taking folate.
- .TMG, also known as betaine, also lowers homocysteine. Natural food sources include beets, broccoli, spinach and shellfish. Supplementing with TMG has similar benefits, as described in this study: Betaine supplementation decreases plasma homocysteine in healthy adult participants: a meta-analysis. (Note: According to this Healthline article, “(TMG is) sometimes used to enhance athletic performance and improve heart and liver health.” See article: TMG Supplements: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, and More“)
- Eating foods rich in choline also can also lower homocysteine. According to a recent LifeExtension article, “Choline and trimethylglycine (TMG) both reduce homocysteine…. Maximum lowering of homocysteine occurs when choline and trimethylglycine are combined with folate-rich foods or folic acid supplements.”
If you’re taking NAD+ precursors….
… you may need even more folate or TMG. According to Dr. Chris Masterjohn, NAD+ boosters such as NR and NMN can lower our methyl groups, causing problems such as anxiety or insomnia in some of the people taking these supplements (particularly if their dietary methyls are already low). Masterjohn recommends taking 5oo mg of TMG for every gram of NMN or NR. David Sinclair, who has done a lot to publicize NMN as a way of raising NAD+ levels, has said that he takes TMG along with it for this reason.
What I’m doing
- I eat beets and beet greens once or twice a week.
- I take a TMG supplement three times a week, along with my NAD+ boosters and sirtuin gene activators.
Cautions and caveats
- When taking any supplement, be sure to familiarize yourself with both the potential benefits and side effects. Compounds such as folate, for example, can be beneficial, but can also, under some circumstances, promote the growth of cancer. (But it can also reduce the odds of some types of cancer.) According to this study, “Low or deficient folate status is associated with increased risk of many cancers. Folic acid supplementation and higher serum levels are associated with increased risk of prostate cancer.”
- This article lists some possible side effects of TMG: TMG Supplements: Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, and More.
For several reasons, many people today have concerns about myocarditis. Folate may be an important supplement for those dealing with this condition. Learn more
Not medical advice
This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. I’m not advising that people eat any particular diet or take any particular supplements, just reporting on what I’m doing. All supplements can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen. See full Medical Disclaimer
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