Among the many characteristics of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, researchers have identified elevated homocysteine to be an aggravating and dangerous side effect.
What is Homocysteine?
Homocysteine is an amino acid that contains sulfur and is produced as a byproduct of methionine metabolism. This toxic molecule is considered worse for the body than cholesterol. Homocysteine is detoxified by cofactors in the body such as:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Folic Acid
The new compounds that are created when these cofactors metabolize homocysteine include:
These nutrients are beneficial to the body.
What are Normal Homocysteine Levels?
In the average healthy person, the normal blood levels of homocysteine are 15 micro mol/L, though ideally the number should be closer to 7 micro mol/L. If you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ask your health practitioner to run a homocysteine test, and discuss the results together.
Consequences of Elevated Homocysteine Levels
When homocysteine levels are high, the cardiovascular system is compromised by the potential for damage to the arteries and blood vessels. New research is surfacing that links homocysteine with cognitive impairment and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Elevated homocysteine levels are usually not suspected as the cause of the many severe conditions they are associated with, like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
The Chronic Fatigue Connection
A small study of women with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome found that in all the patients, homocysteine levels were increased in the cerebrospinal fluid. Researchers noticed a definite link between elevated homocysteine levels in the central nervous system and increased levels of fatigue in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Researchers also noticed a vitamin B12 deficiency contributed to elevated levels of homocysteine in CFS patients. This is logical because b12 is one of the vital cofactors used to detoxify homocysteine in the system. Homocysteine has also been linked to stress. The onset and worsening of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has also been linked to stress as a causative factor. This may be an excellent example of the way CFS symptoms exacerbate each other.
How to Lower your Homocysteine Levels
Diet can play a large role on homocysteine. Because Chronic Fatigue sufferers usually have difficulty eating, nutritional deficiencies are common, but allow homocysteine levels to be elevated. If you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you should consult your health practitioner about modifying your diet to be healthy and balanced. Consider taking a supplement of vitamins B6, B9, and B12, or eat foods that contain them, like carrots.
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