Homocysteine, Hormones, and Heart Disease

homocysteine, hormones, and heart diseaseHigh levels of homocysteine have been associated with an increased risk for heart disease and other chronic medical conditions. While age, gender, and kidney function are the primary factors that determine these levels, the B vitamins also play an important role in regulating these levels, particularly among the elderly.

The role that hormones play in this regulation process is unclear. However, it turns out that the B vitamins also help the body “methylate” or metabolize and excrete estrogens. And a high homocysteine level also typically reflects a lack of methylation, which can be a significant source of hormone imbalance.

Research suggests that higher estradiol levels in pre-menopausal women may be keeping homocysteine in check. Preliminary studies suggest that testosterone may play a role as well. Further research is needed to fully understand the relationships among homocysteine and hormone levels.

  • K Prior. Homocysteine: The Amino Acid with Life or Death Implications. Intelegen.com. Accessed January 2, 2013.
  • Vitvitsky V, et al. Testosterone regulation of renal cystathionine beta-synthase: implications for sex-dependent differences in plasma homocysteine levels.
    2007 Aug;293(2):F594-600. Epub 2007 May 30.
Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy
Edited by Michelle Violi, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy
© Women’s International Pharmacy
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