If you really want to determine if you are folate-deficient or vitamin B12-deficient and determine if you are at increased risk of a heart attack or stroke, you should test for homocysteine.

Homocysteine is an amino acid present in blood that is an accurate indicator of the overall risk of a heart attack or stroke.

The importance of homocysteine is that increased levels of this amino acid can show ‘real’ deficiency of the folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. Very often levels of those vitamins are good in blood but those vitamins are not bioavailable. Good levels of those vitamins along with normal homocysteine levels indicate that they are available to carry their function in the body.

Low levels mean very little and are not considered indicative of any problem.

High levels mean that you may not get enough B vitamins and/or folate through diet or supplements, then your body may not be able to convert homocysteine to forms that can be used by your body.

Homocysteine is part of the test panels for heart health and vitamin B and folate deficiencies.

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