Hyperhomocysteinemia is the medical term used to describe abnormally high homocysteine levels in the blood (homocysteine is an amino acid produced by the body). High homocysteine levels have been linked to heart disease and strokes. While folic acid has been shown to lower homocysteine levels, more research is needed to determine if it actually reduces the risk for heart disease and stroke.
High homocysteine levels are thought to reduce blood flow to nerves and outer blood vessels, which could increase the risk for leg and foot ulcers, especially in people with diabetes. L-methylfolate has been approved as a medical food (Metanx®) to reduce homocysteine levels in people at risk for, or currently experiencing, leg or foot ulcers. However, more research is needed to determine if L-methylfolate actually reduces the risk for leg and foot ulcers in people with diabetes.
Homocysteine levels have also been shown to be elevated in people with schizophrenia. Limited research suggests that reducing homocysteine blood levels may help reduce certain symptoms of schizophrenia. The research in this area is quite limited, however, and more research is needed.
L-methylfolate is found in Deplin®, a medical food approved for use in people with hyperhomocysteinemia and schizophrenia. It is important to keep in mind that Deplin is not an antipsychotic, and should only be used in combination with an antipsychotic and under a healthcare provider's supervision. Schizophrenia is a serious illness and generally requires antipsychotic treatment.
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