Homocysteine is an amino acid that’s heavily involved in a biological process called methylation. During methylation, the bioactive form of folate (5-MTHF) donates a methyl group to homocysteine so it can be converted into another amino acid, methionine. When operating optimally, methylation promotes cardiovascular, neurological, and reproductive health; aids energy production; bolsters detoxification pathways; supports longevity; and more.
The problem is that more than 50% of the U.S. population has a genetic mutation of the MTHFR gene that inhibits the body’s ability to activate folate, so it can’t optimize methylation. If bioactive folate isn’t available to help convert homocysteine during the methylation cycle (i.e., due to an MTHFR gene variation or other reasons—such as poor diet, hormone imbalances, stress, or exposure to toxins), homocysteine levels can become too high.
Elevated homocysteine levels are linked to a higher risk of chronic inflammation, poor detoxification, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions, and yes—dementia.