In the study referred to below, the researchers divided the participants into quartiles according to total plasma homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a toxic amino acid linked to a variety of health conditions. This investigation evaluated the relationship between homocysteine levels and arterial stiffness (Yun J, et al. 2009). It was documented that homocysteine levels showed a positive correlation with age and the inflammatory markers IL-1beta, TNF-alpha, and IL-6. There was also seen a correlation between homocysteine, oxidized LDL (the bad cholesterol) and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, which is a measure of arterial stiffness. A negative correlation between these biochemical markers was found with folate and vitamin B12. It was concluded that high homocysteine levels was associated with more advanced arterial stiffness, smaller LDL particle size (the bad cholesterol), higher levels of oxidized LDL and cytokines (inflammatory chemicals). Homocysteine can be reduced by taking folic acid, vitamin B12 and also vitamin B6. To read more about the many benefits of B vitamins, click here.