SpectraCell Blog

A Powerful but Overlooked Strategy to Prevent Breast Cancer

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Oct 05, 2018 @ 03:24 PM

prevent_breast_cancerBreast cancer is often caused by a compromised ability to detoxify estrogen. Although this hormone is essential– it contributes to skin, bone, psychological, and reproductive health – excess estrogen and the conversion of estrogen into dangerous metabolites can drive cancers in hormone-sensitive tissues (breasts, cervix, uterus, and ovaries).

Estrogens are a group of structurally similar hormones that are metabolized continuously in the body. Sometimes these forms are protective, and sometimes they are metabolized into harmful forms that can stimulate tumor formation or initiate breast cancer. Whether estrogen becomes protective or damaging depends on micronutrient availability in bodily tissues that drive these metabolic pathways. One example is vitamin B6. This nutrient helps detoxify excess estrogen so that it does not cause tumors. Similarly, magnesium drives the enzyme that removes toxic forms of estrogen from the body. Cysteine – a powerful antioxidant - prevents estrogen from being oxidized into a dangerous form that promotes breast cancer. In short – when the appropriate micronutrients are biologically available, toxic forms of estrogen can be minimized, thus diminishing the potential for breast tumor development. 

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Topics: Breast Cancer and Nutrition, Micronutrients and Breast Health, estrogen and breast cancer, breast cancer awareness, breast cancer prevention, hormone balance

Protecting Our Telomeres with Targeted Nutrition and Lifestyle Changes

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 @ 03:29 PM

healthy girlMost people may not realize that there are two fundamental ways to protect telomeres:  (1) reduce the rate at which they shorten, also known as decreasing the telomere attrition rate and (2) to actually lengthen telomeres. Although it is commonly, albeit somewhat incorrectly, believed that once telomeres shorten they cannot get longer, recent evidence suggests otherwise. Common sense lifestyle choices can actually lengthen telomeres. This is comparable to reversing aging, versus simply slowing it down. For example, in a study started a decade ago, a group of men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer agreed to undergo comprehensive lifestyle changes for five years and be monitored during the course of the study. The lifestyle changes involved increased exercise, better nutrition, and better management of psychological stress - all choices within the reach of every person. After five years, telomere length improved. 

For those who want to take protection of their telomeres to the next level, targeted nutrition is key.  The effect micronutrients have on telomeres is profound.  For example:

CalciumRequired cofactor to prevent DNA replication errors.

FolateInfluences telomere length via DNA methylation.

Vitamin B3Extends lifespan of human cells in vitro; Slows telomere attrition rate by reducing reactive oxygen species in mitochondria.

B2, B6 and B12Crucial for proper DNA methylation.

CysteineStem cell treatment with N-acetyl cysteine corrects DNA damage in telomeres.

ZincImportant cofactor for DNA repair enzymes; key role in regulating inflammation.

CopperKey cofactor in the potent antioxidant superoxide dismutase that is known to protect telomeres.

MagnesiumInduced deficiency shortened telomeres in rat livers; Regulates chromosome separation in cell replication.

SeleniumIn vitro supplementation extended telomere length in liver cells; selenoproteins protect DNA.

GlutathioneInterference of glutathione dependent antioxidant defenses accelerates telomere erosion.

Vitamin CProtects DNA from oxidation. In vitro studies show it slows down age-related telomere shortening in human skin cells.

 Vitamin EEnhances DNA repair as well as removal of damaged DNA; Shown in vitro to restore telomere length on human cells.

Vitamin DPositively associated with telomere length due to its anti-inflammatory role.

ManganeseRequired cofactor in Mn superoxide dismutase, a deficiency in which decreases telomerase activity.

 

Discover how you can improve your telomere length with Micronutrient testing. 

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References:

Ornish et al. Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2008;9:1048-57. 

Ornish et al. Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow-up of a descriptive pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2013;14:1112-1120.

 

Topics: Micronutrients and Telomere Length, Cellular Age, Telomere Homeostatis, Age Management, Longer Telomeres

Telomere Homeostasis: Live Better, Longer!

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Aug 03, 2018 @ 02:01 PM

TelomereTelomeres are sections of genetic material that form a protective cap at the end of each chromosome in every cell of the body. When a cell divides, the telomere gets a tiny bit shorter, until there is no more telomere left to protect DNA from “unraveling,” and the cell dies. Cellular death causes the body to age, whether the cell is from cardiac muscle, skin, or brain tissue, thus making telomeres a novel biomarker for biological age. The longer one’s telomeres, the younger one’s biological age. Several things affect telomere attrition rate – both positive (good nutrient status, healthy blood sugar and lipid metabolism, normal weight, exercise, etc.) and negative (micronutrient deficiencies, inflammation, cellular stress, a sedentary lifestyle, etc.).

Telomeres over time

Shammas M. Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging.  Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Jan; 14(1): 28–34. Illustration: Ivel DrFreitas MD, ABIM, ABAARM.

How is micronutrient status linked to the aging process?

Micronutrient status has direct implications for telomere length. This makes it especially important to correct specific deficiencies and maintain micronutrient balance. Measuring total antioxidant capacity via SPECTROX® is equally important as the body’s ability to handle oxidative stress contributes significantly to telomere health/length.

Why measure fatty acids?

OmegaCheck® measures the amount of three very important fatty acids (EPA, DHA, and DPA) in one’s blood. Fatty acids can either contribute to or alleviate inflammation, and the OmegaCheck determines the amount of these pro- and anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Although the protective omega-3 fatty acids influence enzyme and hormone systems throughout the body, they have gained attention primarily for their superb cardiovascular benefits. Since fatty acid status is a surrogate marker for inflammation and oxidative stress, it is not surprising that omega-3 fatty acids can slow cellular aging by preserving telomeres. When it comes to OmegaCheck, higher is better.

Omega-3 fatty acids can slow the aging process. There are many reasons for this: they reduce inflammation, help maintain the cardiovascular system healthy, and protect the brain. However, the existing research points to an entirely different mechanism of action against aging: protection of telomeres.

A recent study on people with active heart disease demonstrated that individuals with high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids also had the lowest rate of telomere attrition, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids protect against cellular aging.1 In another study, the adoption of comprehensive lifestyle changes (including daily supplementation with 3 grams of fish oil, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids) was associated with an increase in telomere length in human leukocytes.2 In animal studies, dietary enrichment of omega-3 fatty acids prolongs life span by approximately one-third.3

Yet another way that omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect on telomeres is through their action on cortisol. Following six weeks of fish oil supplementation, a group of men and women in a study demonstrated significantly reduced4 cortisol, a stress hormone known to reduce the activity of telomerase,5 an enzyme that protects and even lengthens telomeres. Even stress-related cellular aging may be thwarted by omega-3 fatty acids!

SpectraCell's Telomere Analysis

SpectraCell’s telomere test measures a person’s telomere length. A control gene is also measured and compared to the telomere length, and then results are stated as a ratio. A higher ratio means a longer telomere, and younger biological age. The Telomere Score is also compared to other individuals in the same chronological age group.

The price of the Telomere Test is affordable and is also covered by insurance. Testing once each year or every other year is suggested to monitor the rate of telomere loss.

The great news is that with the telomere analysis and appropriate lifestyle, habits, you can protect your telomeres and reduce the rate at which they shorten! Discover your estimated cellular age today with a comprehensive, and individualized approach to managing the aging process. 

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1Ramin Farzaneh-Far et al.Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels With Telomeric Aging in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease. JAMA 2010;303:250-257.

2Ornish D, Lin J, Daubenmier J et al. Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. Lancet Oncol 2008;9:1048-1057.

3Jolly CA, Muthukumar A, Avula CP, Troyer D, Fernandes G. Life span is prolonged in food-restricted autoimmune-prone (NZB x NZW)F(1) mice fed a diet enriched with (n-3) fatty acids. J Nutr 2001;131:2753-2760.

4Noreen EE, Sass MJ, Crowe ML, Pabon VA, Brandauer J, Averill LK. Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults. J Int Soc Sport Nutr 2010;7:31.

5Choi J, Fauce SR, Effros RB. Reduced telomerase activity in human T lymphocytes exposed to cortisol. Brain Behav Immun 2008;22:600-605.

Topics: Telomere Homeostatis, Telomere testing, telomerase, Age Management, Cellular Age, Micronutrients and Telomere Length, OmegaCheck

What Makes SpectraCell's Micronutrient Test Unique?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Jul 27, 2018 @ 03:03 PM

cells2-2The one-size-fits-all approach to health is outdated. So too is having to estimate nutrient adequacy, thanks to SpectraCell’s patented lab test. Our proprietary technology takes the guesswork out by offering a comprehensive intracellular micronutrient evaluation.

SpectraCell ALONE offers the technology that provides information about your personal micronutrient profile. It is NOT based on:

• Algorithms

• Assumptions

• Estimates

• Food diaries or food recalls

Here are the reasons that SpectraCell’s micronutrient test is truly unique – NO other test on the market offers this information:

1. Intracellular: In truth, “vitamin status” is somewhat of a loaded phrase because vitamins, like other micronutrients, exist both outside the cell (extracellular) and inside the cell (intracellular). Vitamin status outside a cell may be considered “within range” or “adequate” by conventional terms (e.g. when measured by standard lab testing), while vitamin status inside the cell – where metabolism actually occurs - may be depleted. Since vitamins function inside cells, extracellular measurements (such as serum testing) can be potentially misleading. Intracellular micronutrient levels, as opposed to what is present outside of cells (where it is not physiologically useful), is more clinically significant.

It is clear that serum micronutrient testing can yield important information. One obvious example is serum vitamin B12; when a person’s level is low, this can manifest as fatigue or anemia. Often, however, serum B12 may appear to be “normal,” but clinical symptoms of fatigue or B12 deficiency still exist. Why? Because serum B12 is a reflection of extracellular B12, whereas the intracellular reserve of B12 is what’s important; it matters little how much of a nutrient is present in one’s blood – if it is not getting into the cell, it won’t improve cellular or overall health. Consider this analogy: imagine being totally dehydrated, overwhelmed with thirst. If you jumped into a pool but could not drink the water, you remain thirsty because the water doesn’t make it into your body. Cells will be similarly starved if B12 doesn’t get assimilated.

2. Functional: Mass spectrometry, like other static quantitative measurement methods, assess the concentration of a nutrient present, but do not address its functional impact.  Measuring and reporting micronutrient concentration levels in the absence of a functional assessment offers an incomplete picture and can lead to inaccuracies in identifying and reporting true micronutrient deficiencies.

3. Lymphocyte-based: In our laboratory, we subject living white blood cells (obtained from a simple blood draw) to dozens of nutritional evaluation environments. Lymphocytes contain your complete genetic makeup, working coordinately – not just the gene subsets detected by other testing platforms – and are a reflection of long-term nutrient status and therefore, of cellular health throughout the body.

4. Long-term: The lifespan of these cells (4-6 months) means that taking a full range of supplements days or even weeks before your blood draw will not affect your results (serum micronutrient levels can fluctuate wildly on a daily basis). Your lymphocytes reflect your nutrient intake over a period of months, not days or hours.

5. Comprehensive: Nutrients work synergistically, so a comprehensive lab test is superior to measurement of individual micronutrients. SpectraCell’s micronutrient profile measures the functional level of 31 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, antioxidants, and metabolites so that patterns of deficiency are clear.

6. Proprietary: Only SpectraCell offers the patented Spectrox® (reflects antioxidant capacity) and Immunidex (a measure of immune system function) as part of the micronutrient profile.

So why has intracellular testing not replaced the serum variety? One simple reason is that serum testing has been used for so long that reference ranges are well established and understood, albeit potentially misleading. Another reason is that intracellular testing is more technologically advanced and fewer labs offer it. Finally, serum testing has been useful for detecting serious nutrient deficiencies that have progressed into obvious symptoms. But it is worth noting that intracellular testing helps detect deficiencies long before overt (and sometimes debilitating) symptoms occur –serum levels often fall in the “normal” range when a true intracellular deficiency exists. 

SpectraCell’s micronutrient test is a true intracellular test – NOT a serum measurement. 

For additional information and medical publications supporting intracellular testing over serum tests, click
here.

Find out your intracellular micronutrient status today!

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Topics: intracellular micronutrient status, Functional Micronutrient Testing, Advanced Nutritional Testing

Vitamin B3 May Lower a Dangerous Type of Lipoprotein

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Jul 18, 2018 @ 12:30 PM

wbz-what-is-atherosclerosisIn a large clinical study called AIM-HIGH (for Atherothrombosis Intervention in Metabolic Syndrome with Low HDL/High Triglycerides and Impact on Global Health Outcomes), researchers evaluated the impact of extended release niacin (vitamin B3) on blood lipids.  In a previous review of patients in this AIM-HIGH trial, niacin showed no benefit to statin-treated patients when analyzed as a whole group.  However, in a subsequent analysis, niacin appeared to benefit patients who had high triglycerides (over 200 mg/dL) and very low HDL (less than 32 mg/dL).  In this analysis, the authors sought to find out the specific changes in lipoproteins that conferred the benefit seen in the subset of patients with high triglycerides and low HDL.         

Lipoprotein particles were analyzed on 2457 participants in the AIM-HIGH trial to establish baseline values and again after one year of treatment with extended release niacin.  Those taking niacin had higher HDL after one year (a good outcome since HDL is protective).  In addition, the analysis of lipoprotein subfractions showed that this benefit – specific to people with high triglycerides and low HDL – was likely due to the reduction in remnant lipoproteins, also known as RLP.

This unique lipoprotein is particularly harmful because unlike LDL particles, which have to undergo oxidation before they can be taken into the arterial intima, RLP lipoproteins can be readily transformed into foam cells which is what comprises arterial plaque.  In fact, RLP is one of the four major risk factors cited by the National Cholesterol Education Program that contribute to heart disease.   This paper suggests that the benefit seen in patients taking niacin was due to a reduction in this particularly harmful lipoprotein called RLP.

Micronutrients are involved in the body’s countless metabolic reactions; therefore, a single deficiency can affect cardiac and metabolic health. Regardless of your medical history and current health, micronutrient testing in combination with our CardioMetabolic evaluation can help your health care provider identify your risk and design a personalized treatment plan for you.

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(Journal of Clinical Lipidology, May 2018)


LINK to ABSTRACT Relationship between lipoprotein subfraction cholesterol and residual risk for cardiovascular outcomes: A post hoc analysis of the AIM-HIGH trial.

 

 

Topics: Vitamin B3, Micronutrients and Cardiovascular Health, Atherothrombosis, Metabolic Syndrome, RLP, Remnant Lipoproteins

Case Study: High Dose of Vitamin B1 Clears Up 26 Years of Painful Headaches

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 @ 12:32 PM

headacheIn this case report, a 41-year-old man who had been suffering from cluster headache since the age of 15 years old was treated with high dose vitamin B1 (thiamine).  He had been diagnosed with cluster headache at a neurological center in Italy. His first headache occurred at age 15 shortly after a motorcycle accident and they increased in frequency over the years, with acute pain and intensity that significantly compromised his quality of life.  Although the patient would experience some headache free months over the years, in January 2016 the headache clusters began occurring daily with no pain-free period for an entire year.  The patient had been treated with sumatriptan, a commonly prescribed drug for cluster headache, which did not work.  He had also been prescribed prednisone, although this not alleviate the pain either.  In December 2016, he was given oral high dose vitamin B1.  Initially, the dose was 250mg, then it was increased to 750 mg after a few days.  Within 10 days, the headache pain disappeared.  He continued the vitamin B1 daily indefinitely.

Interestingly, the neurological center requested that he stop the vitamin B1 in order to test whether the headaches would come back.  He refused this request citing his reluctance to re-experience his headache pain.  However, in May 2017 (five months after B1 treatment started), the patient forgot his vitamin B1 while on a vacation.  Within 48 hours of the last dose, a painful headache occurred.   He resumed vitamin B1 therapy after his vacation and was able to reduce the dose to 500mg with no recurrence of headaches to date.

Cluster headache is a painful condition in which very severe headaches occur with little warning and in “clusters” meaning several headaches will occur in a short time period.  Patients of cluster headache have very little or no warning when they occur unlike migraine which may gradually build in intensity.  Classified as a neurological condition, cluster headache is characterized by very severe and intense pain around the eye, often on only one side of the head.  Some researchers suggest that the role vitamin B1 plays in energy metabolism, brain function and pain modulation make it a potential therapy for this rare neurological disorder.  

(Case Reports in Neurological Medicine, April 2018)

LINK to ABSTRACT Oral High-Dose Thiamine Improves the Symptoms of Chronic Cluster Headache.

LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

Topics: Vitamin B1 Deficiency, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B1 and Headaches, micronutrients, micronutrient deficiency, Headaches and Nutrition

Study Sheds Light on the Link Between Biotin Deficiency and Inflammation

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 @ 02:59 PM

cauliflower copyPrevious research has shown that biotin deficiency increases inflammation but since there are so many causes of inflammation – physiologically speaking – the actual metabolic pathways between biotin deficiency and inflammation are unclear.  In this study, researchers subjected human immune cells to biotin deficiency and compared the result to human immune cells living in a biotin-rich environment.  Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a key vitamin necessary for proper cellular metabolism. It is a cofactor to cellular energy production and therefore important to cellular health at a fundamental level. 

When the human immune cells were biotin deficient, expression of inflammatory proteins increased.  Specifically, CD4+T cells were used, which are also known as T-helper cells because they are a type of white blood cell that directs the function of other immune cells.  In other words, T-helper cells supervise immune cells, sending signals to attack viruses and bacteria, for example. In biotin deficiency, the number of these regulatory immune cells (CD4+T) decreased.  At the same time, biotin deficiency caused an increase in the metabolic pathway (called mTOR) that regulates cell growth.  mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) is a protein that senses the nutrient and energy status of cells and regulates their metabolism accordingly.  A decrease in mTOR is generally good and can lead to a longer lifespan.  An increase in mTOR is generally bad and can lead to tumors or cancerous growths. 

The results of this study – both in vivo and in vitro – showed that biotin deficiency increased the mTOR pathway, which then resulted in an increase in several inflammatory compounds.  This, combined with the fact that biotin deficiency decreased the number of T-helper cells, meaning fewer immune cells were around to regulate everything, ultimately induced the increase in inflammation seen in biotin deficiency.

(Journal of Immunology, April 2018

LINK to ABSTRACT Biotin Deficiency Induces Th1- and Th17-Mediated Proinflammatory Responses in Human CD4+ T Lymphocytes via Activation of the mTOR Signaling Pathway.

LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

Topics: biotin, Vitamin B7, Biotin Deficiency, micronutrients, B Complex Vitamins, micronutrient testing

Impact of a Zinc and Copper Imbalance on Cognitive Function

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Jun 27, 2018 @ 03:57 PM

Brain-Health-ConsultingThe prevalence of AD in our aging population is frightening, affecting 10% of those over age 60, 20% of those over age 70, and 30% of those over age 80.1 There are roughly 5 to 6 million AD patients in the US and an equal number of people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), memory loss, but not enough loss of function to be called AD. In general, MCI is a precursor to AD, with 80% eventually developing AD, at the rate of 15% per year.2

Supplementation with Zinc

Because this was an animal study, researchers could precisely manipulate and consequently correlate blood and brain levels of zinc and copper and with age and cognitive function.  Specifically, they measured the effect of zinc supplementation on short-term memory, long-term memory and spatial memory. In addition, they measured zinc and copper levels in both the blood and the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain linked to memory.

The authors discovered that as the rats got older, their blood levels of copper increased while blood levels of zinc decreased with simultaneous decreases in memory.  However, supplementation with zinc reversed the elevated copper levels and improved memory in all areas.   It is well established that zinc and copper work together and that balance of the minerals is important.  In fact, excess zinc supplementation may possibly induce a copper deficiency, so although this study concludes “zinc as a plausible therapeutic intervention” for age-related cognitive decline, this study reminds us that micronutrients do not work alone but in balance so a comprehensive look at nutritional status is key.

Download our Cognitive Function Nutrient Wheel.

Sources

1.      Alzheimer's Association. Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures. 2010:1–74. 
2.      Oscar L. Lopez, M.D. Mild Cognitive Impairment. NCBI 2013 Apr; 19(2 Dementia): 411–424

LINK to ABSTRACT Supplementation with zinc in rats enhances memory and reverses an age-dependent increase in plasma copper.

Topics: Cognitive Function, Zinc and Copper Impact on Cognitive Function, Micronutrients and Cognitive Health, Alzheimer's Disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment

Micronutrients and Men's Health

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 @ 03:54 PM

battle-rope-workoutsPersonalized medicine has changed the healthcare paradigm.  It is now possible to determine your personal micronutrient needs based on your own cells’ metabolic requirements.  

SpectraCell’s Micronutrient Test measures over 30 vitamins and minerals at the cellular level.  But the SpectraCell test goes even further – it measures functional, long-term status within the cell – which evaluates how well your body actually utilizes each nutrient.  Several factors affect nutrient status – age, lifestyle, genetics, medications, absorption rates, gut health, hormones and more.  SpectraCell’s Micronutrient Test embraces this biochemical individuality. 

PROSTATE HEALTH
Mineral deficiencies profoundly affect prostate health. Selenium deficiency has been linked to higher levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a common biomarker for prostate problems.  Interestingly, the epithelial cells in the prostate gland accumulate the highest levels of zinc in any soft tissue of the body and low zinc is linked to prostate inflammation.  In the case of prostate cancer, strong evidence suggests higher intake of zinc may improve prognosis.  Vitamin K show anti-carcinogenic properties in various cancer cell lines, including prostate cancer cells.  Vitamin D also exhibits anti-cancer activity in prostate cells via its role in regulating male hormones. Vitamin C downregulates an enzyme that causes abnormal tissue growth in the prostate gland, thus protecting against a condition known as BPH – benign prostate hyperplasia – which manifests with urination problems in men.  Animal studies have shown that Vitamin E may suppress prostate tumor formation.  But results on vitamin E supplementation trials and prostate health has been equivocal, suggests that blind supplementation when not deficient, may be harmful.  Targeted repletion of actual – not assumed – deficiencies is key. 

TESTICULAR CANCER
Chemotherapeutic drugs used in the treatment of testicular cancer can wreak havoc on healthy testicular tissue.  Evidence suggests antioxidants can protect against this damage.  For example, the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine has been shown to reverse the damage done by bleomycin, a common drug to treat testicular cancer.  Evidence suggests combinations of specific antioxidants (vitamin E, C, zinc, selenium) may lower the risk of testicular cancer from spreading (mestastasizing).  Since oxidative stress plays a big role in testicular toxicity, nutrients that acts free radical scavengers are particularly beneficial in the testes.  Vitamin C protects the surface of testicular cells. Glutathione protects sensitive testicular tissue from oxidative stress. Mineral cofactors (Zinc, Copper, Manganese) are need to activate powerful protective enzymes active in testes.  A single micronutrient deficiency can profoundly compromise man’s ability for healthy cellular detoxification.  

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
Contrary to popular thought, erectile dysfunction is less commonly a problem in hormone levels, and more commonly a problem with vascular health.  Several nutrients affect how well a man’s blood vessels respond to chemical cues.  Vitamin D’s role in calcium transport affects a man’s vasculature and thus erectile function.  Folate and inositol may improve erectile dysfunction by activating nitric oxide, a chemical in the blood that tells vessel to properly dilate.  Vitamin E and lipoic acid are necessary cofactors in nitric oxide production, and thus vascular and erectile health. Depending on the presence of certain genes, repletion of folate and vitamin B6 has been shown to benefit men who were non-responsive to sildenafil, a common medication used for treatment of ED. Another study shows carnitine and vitamin B3 improved sexual performance in men with ED.   Glutathione depletion will compromise a man’s ability to achieve vasodilation.  Any nutrient that benefits vascular health will also benefit erectile health. 

TESTOSTERONE
The male equivalent of female menopause is andropause, which is a gradual decline in testosterone levels as men age.  However, micronutrients profoundly affect testosterone levels.  For example, vitamin B6 stimulates the brain to increase testosterone production. Conversely, deficiency in folate reduces circulating testosterone.  The rate-limiting enzyme for testosterone synthesis is vitamin K dependent, so a deficiency will lower its production.  Magnesium is needed to make testosterone biologically active, freeing it up in the bloodstream so it can act on muscles throughout the body. Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, is the precursor molecule to testosterone and can significantly increase total and free levels of testosterone throughout the body. Carnitine is directly related to testosterone levels and may prevent testosterone decline after intense physical stress. Depending on baseline levels, zinc and selenium can increase testosterone as well.

STRESS, STRESS and more STRESS
In today’s highly competitive world, men encounter inordinate amounts of stress, particularly in the workplace.  Although the physiological effects of chronic stress are often dismissed, the effect of stress on cellular health is indisputable.  Micronutrient deficiencies can exacerbate the physiological effects of stress.  Conversely, micronutrient repletion can repair stress-induced cellular damage.  Serine has been used in the treatment of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) as it buffers the negative effects of stress in the body.  Folate, choline and inositol directly affect brain chemicals that calm the mind and body.  B vitamins serve as cofactors in the production of anti-anxiety neurotransmitters.  Micronutrients help stave off the fatigue associated with long term stress.  Nutrients such as coenzyme Q10 and magnesium may improve energy in chronically stressed out men. Correcting micronutrient deficiencies can enable men to face daily challenges while minimizing the physiological repercussions.

Evaluate your micronutrient status today! 
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Download our Testosterone Nutrient Wheel.

Topics: Men's Health, Prostate Health, Testicular Cancer, Erectile Dysfunction, Testosterone, Stress, Micronutrients and Men's Health

Cellular Levels of Vitamin B1 May Influence the Progression of Huntington's Disease

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, May 17, 2018 @ 01:38 PM

Vitamin_B1Huntington’s disease is a relatively rare disease that occurs when a person has altered expression of a specific gene called the huntingtin gene. The presence of this mutated gene initiates the synthesis of an altered protein  (similarly called the mutated huntingtin protein, or mHTT) that damages nerve cells in the brain over time. The disease progresses over the course of several years and clinically manifests as gradually worsening mental, emotional and physical dysfunction, to the point of total incapacity.

In this experiment, scientists studied the effect of supplemental vitamin B1 (thiamine) on B lymphocytes (white blood cells) that carried the mutated Huntington gene and compared them to normal B lymphocytes that did not carry the mutated gene, which served as the control. The scientists supplemented vitamin B1 on the two sets of cells and compared the following: (1) cell growth rates, (2) vitamin B1 intake into the cell, (3) genetic profile of 27 different thiamine related genes and (4) the enzyme activity of several B1-dependent proteins.

They found that supplemental vitamin B1 stimulated more of an increase in growth in the mutated Huntington gene cells than the control cells, suggesting the Huntington cells had a higher requirement for vitamin B1. In addition, vitamin B1 intake, and therefore intracellular levels, was increased in the Huntington cells compared to control. Enzyme activity did not differ between cell types, but the expression of genes related to B1-dependent energy metabolism did differ between the control and mutated cell groups.

Vitamin B1 is known for its role in energy metabolism and deficiency has been linked to a several neurological syndromes such as Alzheimer’s disease and Wernicke encephalopathy, which suggests it may play a role in Huntington’s disease. Although this study was done in vitro (in test tubes), the increased expression of B1-related genes upon supplementation of B1 suggests intracellular vitamin B1 levels may play an important role in the manifestation of this enigmatic disease.

(Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine, August 2017) 
 Role of thiamine in Huntington's disease pathogenesis: In vitro studies.

Link to Abstract

LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

Topics: huntington's disease, vitamin b1 and huntington's disease, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B1 Deficiency, micrnonutrients, Functional Medicine, energy and metabolism, micronutrient testing