Hand with pen drawing the chemical formula of homocysteine

If you are reading this blog its likely that you have heard of homocysteine and know that is related to the methylation cycle.  And maybe you’ve even had your homocysteine levels tested recently.  But what you likely haven’t heard is what homocysteine actually DOES inside your body – and that is the focus of this multi-part video series. But before we get to all the ins and outs of homocysteine, we first need to ask a few questions that will be the focus of this first video:

  • Do you know what is a healthy homocysteine level?
  • Do you know what causes high homocysteine? or low homocysteine?
  • Do you know how homocysteine influences glutathione production?
  • Do you know why high homocysteine is such a negative for the body, esp. for the methylation cycle?
  • Bonus Question – What is the one thing we eat that raises homocysteine the most?

If you are curious about the answers to these questions then please watch the video and continue reading.  Homocysteine as you will see is both a necessary biochemical and a potentially toxic cell destroyer.  This dual nature of homocysteine, both good for us and necessary for life, and yet potentially dangerous in the wrong amounts, means we need to know as much as we can about this methylation molecule.  All tissues of the body need proper homocysteine levels, but no where is that more true than inside the brain!  As you will see its impossible to understand MTHFR and methylation, its effects on our brain, without a good understanding of what homocysteine is and does!

Its well known that homocysteine is a key player in the methylation cycle.  It sits at an intersection of three very important pathways.  There are three directions for homocysteine to move inside the methylation cycle:

  1. Recycling by Methionine Synthase (MTR) – this is the primary pathway of recycling homocysteine this converts homocysteine into methionine; this pathway depends on Folate and is the one most impacted by MTHFR mutations.  Any other mutations in the MTR and MTRR will add further pressure to this pathway, slowing it down and decreasing its effeciency.  This pathway requires folate and B12 in order to function properly.
  2. Recycling by Betaine Homocysteine Methyl Transferase (BHMT) – this is the secondary or “backup” pathway used by the body to recycle homocysteine and also converts homocysteine into methionine.  When SNPs are present in the MTHFR, MTR, MTRR pathways the body will depend more on the BHMT pathway to make up the difference.  This pathway requires betaine, tri methyl glycine (TMG), or choline in order to function.  When the primary folate/b12 pathway is slowed by MTHFR, etc., the body runs the risk of suffering from low choline levels since choline molecules are consumed running the backup BHMT pathway.
  3. Transulfuration by Cystathionine Beta Synthase (CBS) – this is the CBS enzyme that drains homocysteine into sulfur-containing molecules and antioxidants; this is where glutathione (GSH) production occurs through a multi-step process that requires cofactors like selenium, zinc and B6.  Other important molecules that are produced by this transulfuration pathway include taurine, metallothionine, sulfites and ammonia.  When homocysteine levels rise, the body can respond by increasing CBS expression which sucks homocysteine into transulfuration in a self-defense maneuver.  Pushing homocysteine into CBS increases production of glutathione while simultaneously reducing the toxic levels of homocysteine.  Problems can arise however if too much homocysteine makes its way through CBS into transulfuration.  This can lead to excess sulfite formation and associated sulfur toxicity that requires low sulfur diets and other nutrients like molybdenum, etc.

The above pathways demonstrate the intricacies of how homocysteine is utilized within our cells.  Obviously the methylation cycle impacts all areas of our body, but no part of our body is more dependent upon methylation than our brain.  This is why people with MAO, COMT, GAD, ACE, plus MTHFR and associated methyl cycle SNPs are usually dealing with NEUROLOGICAL symptoms more often than not.  And these neurological issues can run the gammut from mild anxiety and depression to full blown disease like Alzheimer’s Disease, now the 6th leading cause of death in the United States! The reason the neurological health in our society is on a decline, is due in large part to the toxic effects of homocysteine.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Watch this three-part video series to learn how homocysteine causes harm and how to heal from its negative effects.

By studying the current peer-reviewed research, Dr. Rostenberg has discovered powerful, natural strategies to defend the brain against toxic effects of homocysteine.  He can help you uncover the genetic causes of your health problem and find a natural solution!  If you would like help with your methylation genetics to improve your brain function or balance your homocysteine levels, please contact Dr. Rostenberg at Red Mountain Natural Medicine today. Phone 208-322-7755. Email redmountainclinic@gmail.com. Website www.redmountainclinic.com