Omega-3s Plus B Vitamins May Help Lower Homocysteine Levels
Higher levels of the amino acid homocysteine have been linked to lower bone mineral density in women and a higher risk of cardiovascular and neurological disease. A recent study suggests that taking omega-3 supplements may help lower homocysteine levels, and that adding folic acid, vitamin B6, and B12 may enhance omega-3s homocysteine-lowering effects.
For this study, researchers examined data from 13 trials with omega-3 supplementation and 8 trials with omega-3s and B vitamins. The 21 trials had a total of 3,267 participants. They found that supplementation with 0.2 to 6 grams per day of omega-3s was associated with an 8.5% change in homocysteine from the average baseline. They also found that supplementation with omega-3’s plus folic acid and B-group vitamins had a greater effect than omega-3s alone.
The researchers noted that previous studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acid DHA may promote pathways involved in homocysteine degradation. Additionally, tissue and plasma concentrations of homocysteine have been found to be effected by vitamin B status, as they play a role in homocysteine metabolism.
Researchers from Deakin University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on April 1, 2016, in Nutrition Research.
Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system. Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in omega-3s.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential to the proper function of the brain, nervous system and formation of blood. Deficiencies in vitamin B12 can lead to fatigue, depression and memory lapses. Previous studies have found a link between vitamin B6 and reductions in the risk of stroke, birth defects and hearing loss. B6 also plays an important role in many essential functions in the human body ranging from nervous system function to red blood cell formation.
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, a water-soluble B vitamin. Folate plays an essential role in many of the necessary functions of the human body. It has been associated with nervous system function, red blood cell formation, and hormone function. Previous studies have also found a potential link between this vitamin and reductions in hearing loss and birth defects.
Our bodies do not naturally synthesize B vitamins. However, it is easy to increase your intake by eating more vitamin B- rich foods, such as liver, eggs, beans, sunflower seeds, asparagus, leafy green vegetables, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupes, and other melons. Additionally, food sources of vitamin B12 include liver, turkey giblets, oysters, clams, king crab and whole milk. If your diet is not rich in these products, you should consider supplementing with a high quality multivitamin or vitamin B supplement.