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food for the brain

Championing optimum nutrition for the mind


Homocysteine level in the blood plasma is a risk factor and predictor of Alzheimer’s Disease. Therefore if you scored low in the Cognitive Function Test, it is advisable to follow this up with a homocysteine test. Tests can be obtained via your GP or home testing can be undertaken as below:

In the UK a home-test kit is available from www.yorktest.com

In Eire a home-test kit is available from www.yorktest.ie

In South Africa this is available from a number of laboratories such as Lancet Labs and Ampath.

In Canada it is available from www.lifelabs.com and www.gamma-dynacare.ca

In other countries please contact your local health care provider or nutritional therapist who will know local laboratories offering homocysteine testing.

Supplementation to normalise homocysteine levels

Your homocysteine level is a very good indicator of the amount of certain B vitamins, and other nutrients, you need. Homocysteine can be measured by either your GP or through a home test kit. The chart below shows you the approximate level that is worth supplementing on a daily basis.

 

NutrientVery low riskLow riskAt riskHigh risk
  Below 7 7–9 10-15 Above 15
Folic Acid 200mcg 400mcg 800mcg 800mcg
B12 10mcg 250mcg 500mcg 750mcg
B6 10mg 20mg 25mg 50mg
B2 5mg 10mg 15mg 25mg
Zinc 5mg 10mg 15mg 20mg
TMG 500mg 750mg 1500mg
NAC or Glutathione* 250mg 500mg 750mg
 
*N-Acetyl Cysteine or glutathione has been shown in studies to help lower homocysteine and improve memory in people with cognitive impairment, given in addition to B12, folic acid and B6.

 

If your level is below 7 it is still advisable to take a high potency multivitamin and mineral supplement, especially later in life, providing the levels of nutrients shown in the table above for the purposes of maintaining a healthy low level.

If your level is above 7 you will need to take a supplement containing larger amounts of these nutrients, as well as a high potency multivitamin and mineral. Since most of these are water-soluble you are best to divide the dose and take a supplement two or three times a day. The following supplements provide nutrient levels close to these: (the amounts given are per capsule)

 

 P HolfordHigher NatureSolgar Gold SpecificsBetrinac
  Connect* 3 tables provide:
H Factors* 2 tablets provide:
H Modulators 2 tablets provide:  1 tablet provides:
Folic Acid MTHfolate 375mcg* 400mcg 400mcg 800mcg
B12 750mcg 500mcg 500mcg 1000mcg
B6 60mg 50mg 56mg 20mcg
B2 30mg 15mg -  
Zinc 15mg 10mg -  
TMG 1500mg 750mg 1000mg  
NAC or Glutathione 750mg - - 600mcg
 

Higher Nature: adopts a formulae that uses methylB12, which is more bioavailable. B12 absorption tends to decline with age and is poor in some people.

 

Connect: adopts a formulae that uses methylB12 and the methyl form of Folic Acid (B9), which are more bioavailable. The methylated form of folic acid used in this formula is equivalent to 750mcg of unmethylated folic acid. 

 
These supplements are available in health food stores or by mail order on the web.

 

Re-test your homocysteine level after three months. If your homocysteine level has dropped then use the table above to identify the revised supplementation required based on that level. If your level drops below 7 stay on a high potency multivitamin that provides these basic levels. Do not keep taking higher levels of B vitamins, especially folic acid, unless required to keep your homocysteine level in check.