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Homocysteine is an amino acid

Homocysteine is an amino acid formed during the body’s metabolism. Its level is often measured when there is suspicion of deficiency in vitamin B12, B6, and B9 (folate). In case of deficiency, the homocysteine level is elevated. 

Brief about homocysteine

  • Homocysteine is an amino acid. Amino acids are building blocks of proteins.
  • Plasma homocysteine is measured in cases of suspected deficiency in vitamin B12, B6, and folate (B9)

What is homocysteine?

Homocysteine is an amino acid formed during the body’s metabolism. With the help of folate, vitamin B12, and B6, homocysteine is converted into cysteine or methionine, which are amino acids. If this conversion does not occur properly, homocysteine levels may become elevated.

Plasma homocysteine (P-Homocysteine) is an analysis used in diagnosing deficiencies in vitamin B12, B6, and folate.

Previously, it was believed that the level of homocysteine in the body could be used to assess the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, there is not enough evidence to prove this.

What are the reference values for homocysteine?

Children under 15 years: < 10 µmol/L

Adults 15-65 years: < 15 µmol/L

Elderly individuals over 65 years: < 20 µmol/L

Pregnant women: < 10 µmol/L

Reference values may vary depending on where the analysis is performed and which analysis method is used.

What does a high value mean?

A high homocysteine level may be due to:

Symptoms of elevated levels:

Elevated levels due to B12 deficiency:

Elevated levels due to folate deficiency:

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