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A Look at Carnitine

  
  
  

anatomy of nutrition blank resized 600

L-carnitine is an amino acid derivative of the essential amino acids L-lysine and methonine. The conversion to carnitine requires niacin (B3), vitamins B6 and C, and iron.  It is found in nearly all cells of the body but chiefly in the liver and kidney.  Carnitine is essential for the transportation of long-chain fatty acids across the inner mitochondrial membranes in the mitochondria, where they are metabolized by beta-oxidation to produce biological energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

L- carnitine also is required to remove short- and medium-chain fatty acids from the mitochondria.  This removal optimized energy production by maintaining coenzyme A at optimal levels for normal metabolism and energy production.

Deficiency Symptoms:

Deficiencies of carnitine may result from 1) deficiencies of essential amino acids lysine and methionine, 2) deficiencies of cofactors (B3, C, B6 and iron), 3) defective gastrointestinal function, 4) increased requirement because of high-fat diet, metabolic stress or disease.  The consequences of carnitine deficiency are impaired lipid metabolism and lipid accumulation in skeletal muscles, heart and liver. Patients usually exhibit muscle weakness and fatigue.

Normal heart function depends on adequate concentrations of carnitine.  While the normal heart stores more carnitine than required, if the heart does not have a good oxygen supply, carnitine levels quickly decrease.  This lack of oxygen leads to decreased energy production and increased risk for angina and heart disease.  Carnitine benefits blood lipids by lowering triglycerides and total cholesterol, while increasing HDL.  L-acetylcarnitine (LAC) may be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, senile depression and age-related memory loss.

Download the nutrient correlation chart on Fibromyalgia, Pain and Testosterone all include a deficiency in carnitine.

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Contact our bloggers at spec1@spectracell.com.

The role Copper plays in YOUR body

  
  
  

copperLike most trace minerals, copper acts as an enzyme cofactor in several key metabolic processes in the body.  Among its many functions, copper aids in the formation of bone, hemoglobin and red blood cells, therefore enabling the efficient transport of oxygen throughout the body. 

In addition, copper works in balance with vitamin C and zinc to manufacture elastin (skin protein) as well as collagen and other structural proteins in cartilage and tendons.  It is also involved in the healing process, energy production, hair and skin coloring (production of melanin) and taste sensitivity. 

Copper stimulates the absorption of iron through the copper transport protein ceruloplasmin.  Copper also aids in the metabolism of several fatty acids and helps prevent oxidative damage by serving as a cofactor to superoxide dismutase.  In addition, copper is needed for proper insulation (mylination) of nerve cells and serves as a cofactor for the synthesis of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.

Deficiency Symptoms:

Due to copper's role in the formation of collagen, copper deficiency can manifest as osteoporosis.  Other possible signs of deficiency include anemia (due to its role in hemoglobin formation), baldness, diarrhea, general weakness, impaired respiratory function, myelopathy, decreased skin pigment, reduced resistance to infection and increased triglyceride levels.  Evidence also links copper deficiency with increased oxidative damage to cell membranes.

Download SpectraCell's Nutrient Correlation Chart on Inflammation and Hypertension, both handouts provide information as to how important is Copper in maintaining overall health.

Check your Copper levels and all other essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and how your immune system is performing. Stop Guessing, Start Testing!

GET TESTED!

 

Contact our bloggers at spec1@spectracell.com.

Calcium the MOST abundant mineral in the body!

  
  
  

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, withcalcium 99% residing in bones and teeth. As a component of hard tissues, calcium fulfills a structural role to maintain body size and act as attachments for musculoskeletal tissues. The remaining 1% of calcium is present in blood and soft tissues.

Functions of non-skeletal calcium include: enzyme activation, second messenger roles (transmitting hormonal information), blood clotting, cell and cell organelle membrane function (stabilization and transport), nerve impulse transmission and muscular contraction, tone, and irritability. Calcium levels in the blood are maintained within very strict limits by dietary intake, hormonal regulation and a rapidly exchangeable pool in bone tissue.

Deficiency Symptoms:

Calcium deficiencies are both acute and chronic. Acute calcium deficiency relates to lack of ionized calcium, causing increased muscular and nervous irritability, muscle spasms, muscle cramps and tetany. Chronic calcium deficiency manifests as bone loss disorders (osteoporosis, osteomalacia in adults, rickets in children), tooth decay, periodontal disease, depression and possibly hypertension. Those at risk for calcium deficiency include: malnourished, malabsorption and bone loss disorders. Conditions which are known to decrease calcium uptake or distribution are: decreased gastric acidity, vitamin D deficiency, high fat diets, high oxalate intake from rhubarb, spinach, chard and beet greens, high phytic acid intake from whole grains, high fiber intake, immobilization, faster gastrointestinal motility, psychological stress, thiazide diuretic therapy, aluminum compounds (aluminum-containing antacids, drugs, some parenteral feeding solutions).

View our webinar on Clinical Implications of vitamin D and calcium deficiencies, as well as download a copy of this case study highlighting 52 year old female with muscle aches all include a deficiency in calcium.

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Contact our bloggers at spec1@spectracell.com.

Having problems losing weight? It could be a vitamin K deficiency

  
  
  

Vitamin K is a group of structurally similar, fat-vitamin k
soluble vitamins that th
e human body needs for post translational modification of certain proteins required for blood coagulation, and in metabolic pathways in bone and other tissue.

The primary function of vitamin K is to aid in the formation of clotting factors and bone proteins. It serves as a cofactor in the production of six proteins that regulate blood clotting, including prothrombin. In addition, it helps to form osteocalcin, a protein necessary for the mineralization of bone. Vitamin K also aids in the formation of glucose into glycogen for storage in the liver. In addition, it promotes the prevention and reversal of arterial calcification, plague progression and lipid peroxidation. Deficiency may increase the risk of calcification of arterial walls, particularly in individuals on vitamin D supplementation (Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption). Vitamin K exists in three forms: K1, a natural form found in plants (phylloquinone); K2, which is synthesized in the intestine (menaquinone); and K3, a synthetic form that must be activated in the liver (menadione). Vitamin K is absorbed in the upper small intestines and transported throughout the body in chylomicrons. 

Deficiency Symptoms:

Excessive bleeding, a history of bruising, appearance of ruptured capillaries or menorrhagia (heavy periods) are the most common clinical symptoms of overt vitamin K deficiency, although subclinical deficiency may not affect clotting mechanisms. Due to its critical role in bone formation, long-term vitamin K deficiency may impair bone integrity and growth, eventually predisposing a person to osteoporosis. Antibiotic usage can induce vitamin K deficiency since it upsets the balance of normal intestinal flora. Anticoagulants such as Coumadin and warfarin can also deplete vitamin K by blocking the activation of prothrombin. However, patients on warfarin or other blood anticoagulants should not supplement with vitamin K unless specifically recommended and approved by their physician. Other causes of deficiency include celiac disease, liver disease, certain medications (i.e. aspirin, Dilantin), very high doses of vitamins A and E (over 600 IU) and gastrointestinal disorders associated with the malabsorption of fats, such as bile duct obstruction, pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease. 

Download your very own copy of the Nutrient Correlation Chart on Weight Management the Nutrient Chart and an abstract on adult obesity

To find out your micronutrients levels, click here

 

 

Contact our bloggers at spec1@spectracell.com.

The Role of vitamin E

  
  
  

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects cell membranes and other fat-soluble compounds from oxidative damage by free radicals.

Vitamin E exists in eight chemical forms (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol) that have varying levels of biological activity. Alpha- (or α-) tocopherol is the only form that is recognized to meet human requirements. Alpha-tocopherol has direct effect on the control of inflammation, red and white blood cell production, connective tissue growth and genetic control of cell division.  Vitamin E acts to reduce free radical damage. 

The principal use of vitamin E is that of an antioxidant.  It helps protects against heart disease, cancer, stroke and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.  In addition, alpha-tocopherol supplementation is useful in treating other cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, fibrocystic breast disease, menopause symptoms and tardive dyskinesia.  It may also have applications in Parkinson's Disease and arthritis.  Vitamin E is important to immune function, protecting thymic function and white blood cells from oxidative stress.

Symptoms of vitamin E Deficiency:

  • Nerve damage
  • Muscle weakness
  • Poor coordination
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Red blood cell fragility 
  • Anemia
  • Retrolental fibroplasia 


Download your very own copy of the Nutrient Deficiency Chart and the Cognitive Function Sheet.

To find out your micronutrients levels, click here

 

Contact our bloggers at spec1@spectracell.com.

What is vitamin B12?

  
  
  

Vitamin B12 also known as Cobalamin is a water solublevitamin vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood.  Vitamin B12 is one of the eight B vitamins. A series of closely related compounds known collectively as cobalamins or vitamin B12 are converted into active forms methylcobalamin or 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin.

Deficiency symptoms of vitamin B12:

Deficiency symptoms of vitamin B12 are both hematological (pernicious anemia) and neurological.  A megaloblastic anemia may occur because the effects of vitamin B12 deficiency on folate metabolism. Below are examples of clinical signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency:

  • shortness of breath

  • fatigue

  • weakness

  • irritability

  • sore tongue

  • decrease in blood cell counts (red, white and platelets)

Neurological symptoms are manifested as a progressive neuropathy, with loss of position sense and ataxia.  If vitamin B12 repletion is not initiated, permanent neurological damage, including degeneration of nerves and spinal cord can develop. Evidence suggests that mental symptoms of depression and fatigue are detectable before anemia develops.  Vitamin B12 is necessary to prevent accumulation of homocysteine, a toxic metabolic byproduct linked to cardiovascular disease and connective tissue abnormalities.  Hypochlorhydira and gastrointestinal disturbances are frequently associated with vitamin B12 deficiency.

Repletion Information:

Dietary sources for cobalamins are strictly from animal foodstuffs. Vitamin B12 is not found in plant foodstuffs. Dietary supplements can also contain vitamin B12. Since the absorption and intracellular activation of oral vitamin B12 are frequently difficult, consideration should be given to injectable forms of vitamin B12. 

Download SpectraCell's Nutrition Correlation chart referencing the correlation between vitamin B12 with Telomeres as well as watch our webinar "Nutritional Considerations of Weight Management."
Case Study, 11 year old girl suffers from seizures, click here to view the correlation between a deficiency in vitamin B12 with seizure episodes.
Contact our bloggers at spec1@spectracell.com.

Are you deficient in vitamin B3(Niacinamide)?

  
  
  

Vitamin B3, also known as Niacin, is a water solubledescribe the image vitamin. It is not stored in the body, so we need to consume it daily. We need niacin for proper digestive function. Vitamin B3(Niacinamide) is needed to metabolize food into energy.  Niacinamide is converted into the coenzymes nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and NADP, which function in oxidation-reduction reactions essential for release of energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins.  Niacin can also be synthesized by the body from tryptophan, although with low efficiency.

Deficiency Symptoms:

  • Anorexia
  • Muscular fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Glossitis
  • Skin Lesions

Severe Deficiency Symptoms:

  • Pellagra
  • Dermatitis
  • Dementia
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors and Sores

Repletion Information:

Dietary sources of niacinamide are expressed as niacin equivalents, taking into account tryptophan's contribution.  Richest sources (per serving) include:

  • Nutritional Supplements
  • Meats
  • Enriched Cereals
  • Nutritional Yeasts
  • Legumes (including peanuts)
  • Potatoes
Case study where a patient demonstrated a deficiency in vitamin Bs, click here to read, also you can download a copy of the Nutrient correlation chart on Dyslipidemia and Insomnia

Interested in finding your micronutrient levels, please click here

Contact our bloggers at spec1@spectracell.com.

Vitamin A - How does it AFFECT YOU!

  
  
  

Vitamin A is a group of nutritionally unsaturated hydrocarbons. Different forms of the vitamin vitamin A include retinol, retinoic acid, and carotenoids. Retinol is the most biologically active form of vitamin A and is synthesized by pro-vitamin A(beta-carotene). Vitamin A regulates cell proliferation, differentiation, immune function and apoptosis (cell death).  This vitamin plays a vital role in night or low-light vision and color vision among many other common functions.

Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency - Impaired immune function; eye or skin problems; compromised cell growth and development; fat malabsorption; night blindness; zinc deficiency; insomnia.

Common conditions associated with vitamin A deficiency - Hormone balance, Immunidex, Insomnia, night blindness.

CASE STUDY highlights a common problem with a vitamin A deficiency. A 45 year old female with multiple conditions such as hypertension, insomnia and GERD, click here.

View our webinars Nutritional Considerations of Hormone Balance and Nutritional Considerations of Skin disorders, which references vitamin A deficiency among others in these conditions. 

To check your micronutrient levels or to get started click here

Contact our bloggers at spec1@spectracell.com.

Do the Prescriptions YOU take deplete your nutritional status?

  
  
  

When a person takes prescription drugs or over the counter medication chances are that they can prescription depletions Page 1 resized 600 be affecting their nutrient levels. Below are some of the possible deficiencies that are correlated with each corresponding drug.

Antacids/Ulcer medications

  • vitamin B12 - Anemia, depression, tiredness, weakness, increased cardiovascular risk

  • Folic Acid - Birth defects, cervical dysplasia, anemia, heart disease, cancer risk

  • vitamin D - osteoporosis, muscle weakness, hearing loss

  • Calcium - Osteoporosis, heart and blood pressure irregularities, tooth decay

  • Iron - Anemia, weakness, fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails

  • Zinc - weak immunity, wound healing, sense of smell/taste, sexual dysfunction


Antibiotics

  • B vitamins, Vitamin K - short term depletion affects are minimal, but failure to re-inoculate the GI tract with beneficial bacteria (probiotics) often results in dysbiosis which causes gas, bloating, decreases digestion & absorption of nutrients, and also may lead to a variety of other health problems.

  • Calcium - osteoporosis, heart & blood pressure irregularities, tooth decay

  • magnesium - cardiovascular problems, asthma, osteoporosis, cramps, PMS

  • Iron - slow wound healing, fatigue, anemia

  • vitamin B6 - depression, sleep disturbance, increased cardiovascular disease risk

  • zinc - weak immunity, wound healing, sense of smell/taste, sexual dysfunction


Cholesterol drugs

  • Coenzyme Q10 - Various cardiovascular problems, weak immune system, low energy


Female Hormones

  • Vitamin B6 - depression, sleep disturbance, increased cardiovascular disease risk

  • Folic acid - birth defects, cervical dysplasia, anemia, cardiovascular disease

  • vitamin B1 - depression, irritability, memory loss, muscle weakness, edema

  • vitamin B2 - problems with skin, eyes, mucous membranes and nerves

  • vitamin B6 - depression, sleep disturbances, increased cardiovascular disease risk

  • vitamin B12 - anemia, depression, tiredness, weakness, increased cardiovascular risk

  • vitamin C - lowered immune system, easy bruising, poor wound healing

  • magnesium - cardiovascular problems, asthma, osteoporosis, cramps, PMS

  • selenium - lower immunity, reduced antioxidant protection'

  • zinc - weak immunity, wound healing, sense of smell/taste, sexual dysfunction


Anti-Inflammatories

  • calcium - osteoporosis, heart and blood pressure irregularities, tooth decay

  • vitamin D - osteoporosis, muscle weakness, hearing loss

  • magnesium - cardiovascular problems, asthma, osteoporosis, cramps, PMS

  • zinc - weak immunity, wound healing, sense of smell/taste, sexual dysfunction

  • vitamin C - lowered immunity, easy bruising, poor wound healing

  • vitamin B6 - depression, sleep disturbances,increased cardiovascular disease risk

  • vitamin B12 - anemia, depressioon, tiredness, weakness, increased cardiovascular risk

  • Folic Acid - birth defects, cervical dysplasia, anemia, cardiovascular disease

  • Selenium - lower immunity, reduced antioxidant protection

  • chromium - elevated blood sugar, cholesterol & triglycerides, diabetes risk

  • vitamin B5 - fatigue, listlessness, and possible problems with skin, liver and nerves

For a complete list of drugs and their correlating deficiencies click here

If you would like to check your nutrient levels click here

Contact our bloggers at spec1@spectracell.com.

Why Test YOUR Micronutrient Levels & MTHFR?

  
  
  

New Grid 2013


Why is an MTHFR test important?

Determining your MTHFR genotype gives you valuable information about your body's ability to methylate.  Methylation is a crucial part of cell processes and reduced function has been linked to numerous medical conditions including neurological and cardiovascular disorders, mental dysfunctions and diabetes.  The old paradigm that we are simply at the mercy of our genes is now challenged by a new age of truly individualized healthcare.  Get vital knowledge for your personalized healthcare solutions today.

What role does nutrition play in this function?

Nutrition plays a substantial role in methylation pathways, and SpectraCell's Micronutrient testing can give you an accurate stats of 33 vitamins, minerals and amino acids.  You may be able to compensate for your body's inability to methylate efficiently through targeted repletion, and micronutrient testing will provide assessment of nutritional deficiencies.  The test also allows you to identify deficiencies in other micronutrients that can be contributing toward the development and/or progression of chronic disease and keep you from feeling your best.

SpectraCell Laboratories is combining the Micronutrient Testing and MTHFR Genotyping as a special package promotion.  To find out more CLICK HERE!
Contact our bloggers at spec1@spectracell.com.
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