Does red meat raise or lower homocysteine?

Answered on August 01, 2019
Created November 17, 2016 at 7:11 AM

planet-based diets are deficient in B6, B12, and folic acid which incurs a raised level of homocysteine in the blood. Upon hearing this information, I would think a diet somewhat high in meat will be preventable of this condition. Then again, I discovered that red meat contains methionine that converts to homocysteine. At this point, I am now in a conundrum and don't know what exactly to make out of this.

Can anyone shed some knowledge on this issue? Is it a matter of meat/plant balance? Do only some red meats cause this condition?

Thank you!

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2 Answers



on August 01, 2019
at 10:02 PM

As raydawg mentioned, meat is high in certain b vitamins and will contribuite to controlling homocysteine levels.  Eating a whole food based diet with sufficient meat and vegetables would provide sufficient b vitamins for most individuals to manage homocysteine levels.  But, there is one more thing to consider.

This one gets a bit detailed so stay with me. There is evidence that a high animal protein diet increases homocysteine levels which is arguably a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and inflammation; however, sufficient intake of glycine, or glycine supplementation, has been shown to normalize homocysteine levels in the presence of a high protein intake (1, 2). Unfortunately, North Americans have moved away from the traditional nose to tail way of eating animals to only eating lean cuts. Not only does this create waste products, which I do feel is lack of respect/gratefulness for the animal who gave its life to nourish us, but those waste products (bones, skin, connective tissue, offal, etc.) contain extremely important nutrients, in this case collagen/glycine. This is one (there are many reasons) of the reasons why some traditional populations could eat higher protein diets without evidence of cardiovascular disease. (Taken from: http://www.thebarefootgolfer.com/healthy-golfer-diet-part-2/)  

Therefore, eat muscle meat but balance it out with collagen intake and eat your vegetables.  Simple!



on November 20, 2016
at 02:26 PM

It doesn't matter. Red meat is high in B12. Other B vitamins such as B6, folate are needed to counter methionine. To do that eat liver and egg yolks, and skip some of the whites. Folic acid, B6, and B12 doesn't cause higher methionine, it helps get rid of homocysteine. If you've got an MTHFR disorder, supplementing with off the shelf B vitamins will cause higher levels of homocysteine as well as loads of health issues. But getting those B vitamins from egg yolks and liver will not (or you could pay more for "activated" AKA methylated B vitamins. It's cheaper and tastier to just eat egg yolks and liver every few days. Eat some bone broth once in a while too as the glycine and proline are good for us.

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