Homocysteine is an intermediary amino acid; its role in the body is complex, but very important. Homocysteine is a necessary byproduct of a healthy metabolism. Homocysteine is produced as part of the methionine cycle, in which methionine is converted to S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe is valuable because of its ability to donate methyl groups during chemical reactions throughout the body. Homocysteine is synthesized when SAMe donates its methyl group. In scientific terms, this means the SAMe has been methylated (lost a methyl group). Methylation is crucial to the health of our cells and tissues by regulating gene expression, protein function, and RNA metabolism.
The methionine cycle is responsible for the creation of all the homocysteine in the body. Most of the resulting homocysteine is bound to plasma and considered stored, or inactive. It may be released into the bloodstream as free homocysteine in response to adverse changes in the body's biochemistry. Thus, high levels of homocysteine are linked to specific health problems. There is also evidence that homocysteine itself causes damage to the cells within blood vessels.
Homocysteine in the bloodstream is metabolized through two principal pathways. It may be remethylated back into methionine through a process that involves folic acid (folate) and vitamin B12. This is called the remethylation pathway and is responsible for consuming most of the body's free homocysteine. The remethylation pathway creates more SAMe to support healthy methylation. (Some organs, namely the kidney and liver, are able to remethylate homocysteine directly back into SAMe, but only a fraction of homocysteine is processed in this way.)
Alternatively, some of the excess homocysteine may be used to create cysteine, which is then converted into glutathione. Glutathione is an important and powerful antioxidant. The conversion of homocysteine into glutathione may be accelerated when the body is under oxidative stress. This second process is called the transsulfuration pathway because it produces sulfate byproducts that are flushed from the body in urine. The transsulfuration pathway depends on vitamin B6 to work properly.
Life Extension Vacations
September 12-19, 2009
Fountain of Life 7-night
Eastern Caribbean Cruise
Enjoy a Special Time of Health and Beauty Ports of call: Philipsburg, St. Maarten • San Juan, Puerto Rico • Labadee, Haiti
BONUS: Early Bird Special: Reserve by August 31 and get $50 off per person — plus an onboard coupon book worth up to $200 in savings
Hurry — time is running out on this early bird special. Reserve your space today and get $50 off per person plus an onboard coupon book worth up to $200 in savings for services during this exciting 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise. This offer ends August 31, 2009.
Enjoy Life Extension’s 3rd Annual “Fountain of Life” Cruise aboard the world’s biggest and most imaginative maritime marvel — Liberty of the Seas. This brand new Royal Caribbean ship combines renowned big-ship hallmarks and many exciting innovations, like the new Vitality Wellness Program. Discover amenities and adventures never before available on a cruise ship while learning the insider secrets to longer life and vibrant health.
- Presentations by Life Extension’s own Stacey Nottingham, DC; Scott Fogle, ND; and Steven Nemeroff, ND, on such topics as medicine and supplement interactions, cancer, cardiovascular health, and hormone balancing
- Previews on cutting-edge anti-aging products
- One-on-one appointments with Life Extension Health Advisors
- Goody bag worth over $100 for all attendees
- Free 1-year Life Extension Foundation membership for all attendees – a $75 value!
- Farewell cocktail party
- Chance to win free gift basket & 1–week stay in Cancun, Mexico
- And much more to help you attain optimal health!
Don't miss this opportunity to get $50 off per person — plus an onboard coupon book worth up to $200 in savings for services during the cruise. Reserve your spot today — offer ends August 31, 2009. Call Life Extension Vacations today at 1-800-791-4457 or visit www.levacations.com. Our first Caribbean cruise was an amazing success, and this one looks to be even more exciting!