Researchers of the long-running Framingham Heart Study have now found a link between elevated homocysteine and heart failure. Elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid whose build-up has already been linked with increased risk of heart disease and dementia, increases the risk of developing congestive heart failure in women. The study involved 2,491 adults, average age 72 years, who were studied during 1979 to 1982 and 1986 to 1990 and were free of heart problems at the start. Researchers found 156 cases of heart failure during the follow-up, out of which 88 were in women. Those with the highest levels of homocysteine had four times the risk of heart failure compared to those with the lowest levels.
Researchers also found that even those with so-called normal levels of homocysteine had an increased risk of heart failure. They also found the link was strongest for women. The researchers believe that the study now needs follow-up as it could confirm if reducing homocysteine levels would help avoiding heart failure.