The test measures Homocysteine, an amino acid found in trace amounts in all of the body's cells. The lab test helps assess one's risk of a future heart attack or stroke.
Homocysteine is an amino acid. Amino acids are chemicals in your blood that help create proteins. Vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and vitamin B9 (folate) break down homocysteine to generate other chemicals your body needs. An elevated concentration of homocysteine may indicate vitamins deficiency, but it also increases risks for dementia, cardiovascular disease and stroke. When used in conjunction with methylmalonic acid (MMA), these tests are useful to diagnose and monitor vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and folic acid deficiency and are often useful in evaluating macrocytosis (an elevated MCV, an erythrocytic index).