Amino acids are known to be the building blocks of the body and play a vital role in the construction of proteins which is very essential for bodily functions. However, recent studies have shown that a high amount of an amino acid called homocysteine in the blood is a biomarker for cardiovascular diseases and age-macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in senior citizens.
Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood which epidemiological studies have shown that too much homocystein amino acid in the blood (plasma) is connected to a higher risk of strokes, peripheral vascular disease, and heart disease. Furthermore, evidence suggests that homocysteine may have an outcome on atherosclerosis by harming the inner lining of the arteries and promote blood clots.
High levels of homocysteine amino acid in the blood are strongly manipulated by diet as well as genetic factors. Dietary components that have a big effect on lowering down homocysteine are vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid. Other B vitamins and folic acid help in breaking down homocysteine in the body. Studies have shown that higher blood levels of B vitamins result partly from low concentrations of homocysteine. And low levels of folic acid are connected to a higher risk of stroke and fatal coronary heart disease. Dietary foods that are high in folic acid include grain products fortified with folic acid and green leafy vegetables.
In the large study of the relationship of amino acids in blood and AMD researchers have measured the fasting plasma homocysteine levels of nine hundred thirty-four individuals who participated in an ancillary study of Age-Related Eye Disease Study resulted in five hundred forty-seven people with AMD.
This research which was conducted at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Devers Eye Institute in Portland, Ore, found that elevated homocysteine amino acid in the blood may be another biomarker for the increased risk of AMD. Homocysteine amino acid in the blood may be reduced by dietary intake of vitamins B12, B6, and folate; however further studies are needed between the relationship of this amino acid and AMD.
It was found out by researchers that middle values were higher among those people with advanced stages of AMD than those people without AMD, controlling for age, and other factors. More findings add that there may be overlapping disease mechanisms between AMD and cardiovascular diseases.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the principal cause of blindness and irreversible visual impairment among persons aged sixty years old and older. With the population of elderly people steadily growing, the number related to this loss of visual function will increase. The treatment for this still remains to be limited and prevention still remains to be the best approach for tackling this public health concern.