A homocysteine test measures the amount of
amino acid homocysteine in the blood.
Results are ready in 24 hours.
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.
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 of homocysteine may be
- Not getting enough
folic acid, vitamin B6, or
vitamin B12 in your diet.
conditions or diseases, such as
homocystinuria, kidney disease,
Alzheimer's disease, or certain cancers.
- Using too much alcohol.
- Your sex. Homocysteine levels
are normally higher in men than in women.
- Age. Homocysteine levels
get higher as you get older.
Low values of homocysteine may be
caused by some medicines or vitamins such as daily folic acid, vitamin B12, or
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
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
- Having a rare family (inherited) disease that causes the lack of
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
doctors recommend that you get B vitamins from a balanced diet, and they do not
advise that you take vitamin B supplements.