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Homocysteine

Results

A homocysteine test measures the amount of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood.

Results are ready in 24 hours.

Normal

The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.

Homocysteine1
Normal:

0.54–2.3 mg/L

4–17 micromoles per liter (mcmol/L)

Many conditions can affect homocysteine levels. Your doctor will discuss any significant abnormal results with you in relation to your symptoms and past health.

High values

High values of homocysteine may be caused by:

Low values

Low values of homocysteine may be caused by some medicines or vitamins such as daily folic acid, vitamin B12, or niacin.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Going through menopause.
  • Having high blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Smoking or other tobacco use.
  • Having a family history of high homocysteine levels.
  • Drinking more than 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day over many years.
  • Taking medicines, such as anticonvulsants, antibiotics, and birth control pills.
  • Having kidney disease, certain forms of leukemia, or psoriasis.
  • Having a rare family (inherited) disease that causes the lack of an enzyme needed to prevent the buildup of homocysteine in the blood (homocystinuria).

What To Think About

  • A urine test may be done to help detect and monitor homocystinuria. But a blood test is more accurate.
  • Most doctors recommend that you get B vitamins from a balanced diet, and they do not advise that you take vitamin B supplements.
  • For more information on tests for folic acid and vitamin B12, see the topics Folic Acid Test and Vitamin B12 Test.

Citations

  1. Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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