Homocysteine and the Miscarriage Connection

Homocysteine and the Miscarriage Connection

miscarriage due to high homocysteine If you have suffered at least one miscarriage, or your doctor has indicated that you are at a higher risk for miscarriage than most women, you may want to find out what your Homocysteine levels are to thwart a devastating result to your pregnancy.

Homocysteine is a common sulfer-containing amino acid found in the body. While it is not harmful in normal levels, when those levels get too high (especially during pregnancy), it can cause a condition called hypercoagulability. What does this mean? In general, your blood clots much more easily than it should. Not only can it put you at a higher risk for a heart attack and stroke, but it can put your baby in danger as well.

As small blood clots begin to develop in the uterus, the placenta can be cut off; leaving the fetus void of the oxygen and nutrient supply it needs to survive. This can induce a spontaneous abortion, otherwise known as miscarriage. In the event your pregnancy develops past the 24th week before the clotting develops, a stillbirth or premature birth can result. With no tests available to check for these clots and no other warning signs offered by the body, the danger often remains unseen until it is too late.

How High is Too High for Homocysteine Levels?
When it comes to determining safe Homocysteine levels, there is quite a bit of debate as to what constitutes a dangerous level for a growing fetus. But one thing is certain: high levels do put a normal pregnancy at risk and the higher the level, the higher the risk.

Researchers in Bergen/Osb Norway studied several thousand patients and reported that Homocysteine levels higher than 10-10.7 increased a woman’s chance of a miscarriage by a whopping 38% . Even more alarming was the fact that high Homocysteine levels also seem to predispose a woman to preeclampsia and premature labor. Those with levels above ten had a five times greater chance of developing preeclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure) and twice the rate of premature labor than women with normal Homocysteine levels did. These results have been repeated by several other studies throughout the world.

What Makes Homocysteine Levels Rise?
So what makes a woman’s Homocysteine levels suddenly rise to dangerous levels? No one knows for certain, but one theory subscribes to the fact that women with a MTHFR Gene Mutations (especially the C677T variation) are much more likely to have higher than normal Homocysteine levels in the body all of the time. It is just that their levels do not pose a risk to their health until a pregnancy occurs.

How to Lower Homocysteine Levels
If your doctor does diagnose high Homocysteine levels in your body, what can you do to lower them quickly and protect your pregnancy? The most common therapy requires taking a combination of Folic Acid ( 400-1,000 mg per day); B6 (10-50 mg. per day) and B12 (50-300 mg per day). Why? These three main vitamins can be used by the body to convert homocysteine amino acids into other products in the blood, to keep it from clotting unnecessarily. A more natural solution than pharmaceutical drugs, it remains the most popular and safest method of balancing this unique disorder.

In addition, some doctors recommend adding Vitamin E (a natural blood thinner) and Zinc (an excellent toner) to your vitamin regiment also to help lower high Homocysteine levels.

All of these nutrients can be found in our Baby and Me Prenatal vitamin.

While it is true that high homocysteine levels can put any pregnancy at risk, those who are aware of their levels can be proactive, working to naturally lower these dangerous amino acid levels and salvage their pregnancy. When repeated miscarriages has already occurred, having your homocysteine levels checked can help to prevent further disappointment by alerting you to a problem that can indeed be remedied with vitamin therapy.

References:
1. Homoscysteine and Miscarriage – What Yu Should Know, by Krissi Danilessen (About.com)
2. National Health Website for Women Dr. Marilyn Glenville M.D. (www.marilynglenville.com)
3. American Pregnancy Association (www.americanpregnancy.org)

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[-] 12 Comments
  1. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

  2. Thank You for this article and your wonderful range of products!

    My homocysteine levels were and are within ‘normal’ (9.5 and 5.7). However I still had 2 miscarriages probably due to the gene mutation MTHFR C677T homocygous. (Husband is MTHFR A1298C heterocygous.)

    Dr had prescribed 10x daily dose, 5mg Folate daily and extra B12, 6 months prior to my 2nd MC, but I still miscarried again. Reading on MTHFR.net I understand that it is essential for people with MTHFR, especially C667T mutation(s), to take the methylated versions of both Folate & B12: Methylfolate, and Methylcobalamin, and AVOID regular Folate (since they cannot absorb it/convert it to methylfolate on their own like normal/healthy bodies). Which would explain why my prescription might have caused more harm than good? I LOVE that your supplements are 100% Whole Food, as I think it must be better to take food supplements than synthetic vitamins!!! However, not entirely sure whether I will be able to absorb the Folate in ‘Baby & Me’ properly? Any advice or experience on that?

    Secondly I wonder, since you say “blood clotting” can cause problems in pregnancy: How early on can this be a problem? (Both my MCs occurred at 10wks, but growth had stopped around 5-6wks with 2nd MC. Could blood clotting have been the cause for growth stop at 5-6 weeks?)

    And can ‘normal’ homocysteine levels still be too high? What is an ideal level of homocysteine? Thanks again, I wish you had a shop in Australia also!!!!

  3. I have had 7 recurrent miscarriages. One ectopic. The doctors don’t know why I have had so many. They are unexplained. I do have one daughter from a previous relationship. But wanted one more child. We are devastated and due to cost had to stop treatments. I need my other tube repaired and the doctors I talked to refused to do it. They don’t want to damage the one good tube I have. But my ovary on that side is slow. My right ovary was my good one and that tube is damaged. So I guess I’m done.

  4. I can not thank you all enough for sharing your stories. I am a 41 year young lady. I have had two miscarriages one @ the age 19 and the other on at age 38 both pregnancies ending at 27 weeks and 28 weeks. Not knowing or understanding why I was laying to to rest 2 beautiful babies. Now i know why. but not willing to give up I know i would be a great mom, some day. I did everything I could do to keep my blood pressure down. without medication. It worked until I became 4 month into my pregnancy.Due to your story I now know what test I should ask my OBGYN for and how to try and prevent watch for homocystein or preeclampsia when I get pregnant again. I now have MS and I am still looking forward to having my very own little blessing
    determine to bring a healthy baby to this world

    • Hi Bernadette,

      I am sorry to hear of your 2 losses! Thank you for sharing your story. I am glad you found this article helpful, may you go on in good health!

      Dalene

  5. I am the perfect example of just this. It took us 3 years to concieve, with 1 and a half of those getting assited therapy. I had a miscarriage with Clomid, and finally got pregnant with b/g twins doing IUI with Acupuncture/Cleansing and Diet Change (wish I had found this site back then). My pregnancy was healthy and went wonderful until my 6 month. At exactly 28 weeks and 48 lbs gained, preeclampsia hit and within 48 hours HELLP Syndrome. The babies were delivered via emergency C Section and were born at 1 1/2 and 2lbs. They spent 3 months in the NICU. I am happy to report that outside of a few sensory and speech issues my kiddos are doing great at 3 years old. The doctors performed testing to determine why I got HELLP. The answer was that I have the MTHFR Gene Mutation/ C677T variation. It is rare, my parents BOTH had to have 50% mutation in order for me to receive the 100% mutation – thanks Mom and Dad :0). My doctor was amazed that I carried for as long as I did, however once we found the cause we are able to treat it. The reccomendation I received was to take Folgard (High Dose B6/B 12/Folic Acid) twice a day if I wanted to get and sustain a pregnancy later on. I must take it every day for 3 months prior to conception and continue throughout the pregnancy to ensure additional safety measures. It gives you weird dreams if you take it too late at night but no other side effects. As mentioned in the article, please get tested for the mutation ( it is a simple blood test). If you have it, you can address it in advance and improve your chances of carrying full-term or at least closer than 28 weeks. It’s a simple way to prevent heart-ache from repeated mis-carriages. Thanks so much for this site! The content here is amazing.

    • Hi Missy,

      Thank you for sharing your story. Wow! We are so happy to hear of your happy ending.

      We appreciate your information and your support!

      Warmly,

      Dalene

  6. Hi and thanks for this article in fact i had a miscarriage last november 2010. This article has help me to actually understand what went wrong. I was pregnant and my stomack was paining, after some time the pains stopped but whenever i went to urinate clotts of blood will came out, i did not know what was happening, it continued untill about 3 to 4months and i had a miscarriage. whenever i went to the hospital they will give me anti biotics to take and that was not helping me either. the pains in the stomack continue as well as the clotting blood that was caming out. Thanks once more for the article i think i now know a bit what went wrong. if you can further help me on this i will appreciate it. This your website has been so helpful to me.

  7. Wow, you learn something new everyday! I’ll keep taking the great prenatal pill that your website offers. So far, I love it!

  8. i had a misscariage for two times ,DR says i am perfectly ok but my hubby has very less sperm count that is why docotor says i can’t get preganat …………………i am think of changing the docotor ………past 2 years i am on folic acid and recently my hubby also started taking the tabltes .anyways hoping to god to bless us with our own child ……