Homocysteine, often shortened to “HCY”, is a thiol containing amino acid produced by the intracellular demethylation of methionine. Excess HCY in the blood stream may cause injuries to arterial vessels due to its irritant nature and result in inflammation and plaque formation, which may eventually cause a blockage of blood flow to the heart.
Unhealthily elevated HCY levels are caused by four major factors:
nutritional deficiency in B vitamins such as B6, B12 and folate
renal failure for effective amino acid clearance
drug interactions such as niacin, methotrexate and phenytoin
High levels of HCY are generally associated with peripheral arterial occlusive disease, strokes, coronary heart conditions (angina pectoris, heart attack), tightening of the carotid artery and with extremely elevated leves also to Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis.