Homocysteine and Ocular Rosacea
Doing some research online, I was intrigued by the relationship between high levels of homocysteine and ocular rosacea. No study has been done thus far to see if homocysteine levels are higher in severe ocular rosacea patients compared with normal patients. If any of you out there have severe dry eye and/or severe ocular rosacea, please let me know what your homocysteine level is if you can. I will start asking patients with severe dry eye and/or severe ocular rosacea if they know their homocysteine level.
Lowering homocysteine levels is good for your body either way:
Natural ways to decrease homocysteine:
1. Eat leafy green vegetables. Spinach, green beans, broccoli and peas are all great sources of folic acid.
2. Drink orange (be careful in people at risk for diabetes)and tomato juices. Both of these products contain a healthy amount of folic acid.
3. Add more meat to your diet within reason (be aware of recent NYT article wary of risks with meat consumption: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/08/health/study-points-to-new-culprit-in-heart-disease.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
Liver is an exceptional source of folic acid. You can also increase your intake of folic acid by eating more chicken, pork and shellfish.
- 4. Take a vitamin supplement. Many prenatal vitamins will contain an increased amount of folic acid to ensure that pregnant women receive the recommended daily amount.
5. Vitamins: 800 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid per day should reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and deep vein thrombosis by 16, 24, and 25 per cent respectively
Homocysteine (pronounced homo-sis-teen) is a breakdown product of a substance called methionine, itself derived from protein in the diet. Homocysteine helps to build and maintain tissues in the body, but in excess, has the capacity to injure the lining of the arteries in the body. Many scientists believe that such damage in the vessel wall is the first step in the process in which cholesterol causes artery narrowing that is a common underlying factor in heart disease and stroke. In addition, homocysteine can thicken the blood too, an effect which is likely to increase the risk of these conditions as well as blood clots in the leg known as deep vein thromboses (DVTs). Recently, UK researchers published a study in the British Medical Journal that reviewed data from a total of 92 studies assessing the relationship between homocysteine levels and disease. The authors of this study concluded that there is indeed strong evidence to suggest that homocysteine is a causative factor in heart disease, stroke and DVT.
Homocysteine levels in the bloodstream are generally measured in units known as micromols per litre (mol/l) of blood. It is not clear what values represent ‘healthy’ levels of homocysteine, though existing research suggests that less than 10 mol/l is worth shooting for. Homocysteine can be converted in the body into a harmless substance known as cystanthionine, and that this conversion is dependent on vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid. Upping our intake of these appears to be one simple way of quelling homocysteine levels in the body.
The recent BMJ study suggested that supplementation with 800 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid per day should reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and deep vein thrombosis by 16, 24, and 25 per cent respectively. In addition to eating foods rich in folic acid such as spinach, asparagus and broccoli, individuals with high homocysteine levels are likely to benefit from supplementing with 800 ” 1000 mcg of folic acid each day. Adding 10 mg of vitamin B6 and 400 mcg of vitamin B12 to this each day is likely to confer additional benefit in terms of homocysteine reduction.