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About Our Homocysteine Test
Homocysteine is a non-protein amino acid that is found in the blood. Increased levels of homocysteine in the blood are related to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, blood clots, heart attack and stroke. Homocysteine levels in the blood are strongly influenced by an individual's diet and genetic factors. Folate and B vitamins like B6 and B12 are necessary to help break down homocysteine in the body, so when an individual is lacking in these vitamins, they may have an overabundance of homocysteine.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to irreversible neurologic damage, folate deficiency during pregnancy may cause neural tube defects, and either can cause megaloblastic anemia. Although folate and vitamin B12 can be measured directly, homocysteine is a more accurate indicator of deficiency at the tissue level.
The homocysteine test is often used to evaluate those with malnutrition or folate/vitamin B12 deficiencies. It is also used to monitor those with a history of heart disease or cardiac issues.