homocysteine

is a homologue of the naturally-occurring amino acid cysteine, produced from methionine. Elevated levels of homocysteine are associated with a greatly increased risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. Levels of homocysteine in the blood are strongly influenced by diet — high levels are particularly associated with deficiencies in vitamin B12 and folate — lifestyle factors such as smoking, and genetic factors.

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