SpectraCell Blog

SpectraCell's Telomere Testing Goes Mainstream

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Jul 26, 2011 @ 04:40 PM

Telomere TestingAmerica’s #1 rated morning news program, The Today Show, featured a story highlighting SpectraCell’s Telomere Test, a blood test that measures cellular aging. The segment entitled How to Live to 100 showcased SpectraCell’s Telomere Test as a tool for those interested in monitoring their health with biomarkers specific to longevity and aging. The Telomere Test measures a person’s biological age in comparison to their chronological age, giving a person an overall picture of how well they are aging.

SpectraCell was the first company to commercially offer telomere analysis to patients when it introduced its Telomere Test in June 2009. Before that, telomere testing was only available to researchers and university scientists. SpectraCell’s telomere testing was also recently featured in the New York Times (May 18, 2011). The Today Show, which has over five million viewers, aired the story on July 13, 2011. 

describe the imageTelomeres are sections of DNA at the end of chromosomes that cap genetic material and serve as protective buffers that prevent chromosomes from becoming attached to each other or rearranging. They are often compared to the caps at the ends of shoelaces. Every time a cell replicates, its telomere gets shorter, eventually causing cell death once the telomere attrition has reach its maximum. Measuring telomere length in human lymphocytes is an indicator of cellular aging, and research demonstrates that shortened telomeres are responsible for many of the normal processes of aging.

“SpectraCell Laboratories has always been on the cutting edge of diagnostic testing and Telomere Testing is no exception. We commercialized this test in direct response to interest from our physician clients, who saw it as a natural complement to our micronutrient testing,” says Otto Schaefer, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for SpectraCell. “The landscape of healthcare is really changing, with people taking charge of their own personal health information.”

The most common question asked by people who get the telomere test is “What do I do if I have a low telomere score?” Basic lifestyle changes are the first step – these include smoking cessation, moderate daily exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. For those who have already made these choices but still have a low telomere score, a comprehensive nutritional assessment is recommended.

Deficiencies in nutrients such as folate and vitamins C and D can shorten telomeres, so it is imperative to correct such deficiencies. Oxidative stress is another major culprit in telomere shortening so reducing inflammation and shoring up the body’s antioxidant defenses is critical for telomere maintenance. A person’s ability to combat free radicals, which cause oxidative stress, can be improved by correcting deficiencies in specific antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin E, selenium and glutathione.

Telomere length is affected by many factors: age, genetics, lifestyle, disease and pharmaceuticals. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and dementia have strong associations with shorter telomeres. But telomere attrition can be mitigated significantly with aggressive lifestyle therapies as well as certain medications.

SpectraCell’s 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.

This automated test is based on Quantitative Real Time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology and only requires 1 mL of whole blood. When a sample is received at SpectraCell’s Houston laboratory, the white blood cells are broken apart, the DNA is extracted and the telomeric DNA is amplified into a measurable signal. This signal is compared to a control gene of known length and a Telomere Score is generated. The price of the Telomere Test is $290. Testing once each year starting around age 25 is suggested to monitor the rate of telomere loss. More information at www.spectracell.com.

About SpectraCell Laboratories – SpectraCell is a CLIA accredited laboratory servicing healthcare providers nationwide by providing advanced clinical tests that measure nutritional status, cardiovascular risk, and cellular aging.

SpectraCell’s micronutrient tests measure the function of over 32 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants in white blood cells, specifically taking into consideration personal differences in metabolism, age, genetics, health, prescription drug usage, absorption rate and other factors.

SpectraCell’s Telomere test measures how well a person’s body is aging internally. Many factors – both genetic and environmental – affect the rate of telomere loss, and this test provides an overall window into aging at the cellular level.

SpectraCell’s Lipoprotein Particle Profile™ is the most advanced lipoprotein particle test available, providing an accurate and in-depth assessment of cardiovascular risk.

Topics: SpectraCell, Telomere testing, telomere

Using Micronutrient Testing to Improve the Management of Autoimmune Conditions

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 @ 10:09 AM

Autoimmune Disorders and MNTAutoimmune conditions are a rapidly growing segment of the medical population. They go by such names as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease just to name a few. The noted growth of these conditions appears to be related to many factors, including increased stressors, poor diet, and degradation of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract allowing formation of a hyperpermeable gut.

Management of these conditions is not always a straightforward process and most therapies have traditionally centered on reducing inflammation. However, long term management of autoimmune conditions requires not only reducing the total inflammatory burden, but also working to add balance to the immune system. This is dependent on the function of the cells of the immune system. Therefore, having an assessment method that directly targets the cells of the immune system would serve as an invaluable tool in the management of autoimmune conditions.

One of the hallmarks of autoimmune conditions is that they promote the destruction of a large amount of tissue secondary to inflammation. Typically when this occurs, the ability of the cells to resist further destruction is reduced, leaving them even more susceptible. Micronutrient testing offers insight into the ability of the cells to resist tissue destruction. When levels of SpectraCell’s novel Spectrox marker start to drop, it is an indication that the tissues are no longer able to resist the inflammation. This is generally accompanied by lower levels of selenium and vitamin E since these nutrients serve to protect the lipid bilayer cell wall.

Blood CellsThe nutrient test goes beyond simply relaying the degree of destruction associated with autoimmune conditions. It also provides insight into where the destruction may be coming from. Autoimmune diseases are noted for a lack of regulation of the immune system. During states of autoimmunity, the T lymphocytes known specifically as T regulatory cells lose their ability to guide the appropriate type of immune response. The misguidance of the ideal immune response is what eventually manifests as the fulminant inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases. Proper function of the T regulatory cells is dependent on vitamin D, glutathione and omega 3’s. A deficiency in any of these nutrients opens the door to immune system dysfunction and increased autoimmunity. Lower levels of glutathione and vitamin D appear to be most representative of the state of the T regulatory cells and the likelihood of dysfunction. When these levels are low, especially glutathione, it can be noted that the inflammatory burden has become overwhelming. Ironically, the micronutrient test is probably one of the better suited tests to pick up the needed repletion of these nutrients since it is looking directly at the T lymphocytes.

An area that appears to open the door to autoimmunity is a breakdown in the integrity of the gastrointestinal lining, also referred to as a hyperpermeable gut. Nutrients such as glutamine, vitamin A and zinc are needed to maintain the integrity of these cells. As these nutrients trend lower, the suspicion of the gastrointestinal tract as a player in the autoimmunity milieu grows.

While not the only test warranted in managing autoimmunity, micronutrient testing should be one of the first considerations as it provides a window into not only areas that contribute to the autoimmune process, but also details the specific nutrients needed to manage it.

Dr. Arland HillArland Hill, DC, MPH, DACBN - Complete Care Chiropractic and Wellness

For more information about our client Dr. Hill, please visit his website or his blog. Or contact him at 281-557-7200.

 

 

 

Topics: micronutrient testing, autoimmune diseases, zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Selenium, immune system, Omega 3s, Glutamine, Glutathione, Inflammation, Spectrox, Dr. Arland Hill

NBC's TODAY Show Interviews SpectraCell

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Jul 12, 2011 @ 03:38 PM

The TODAY Show and SpectraCellNBC's The TODAY Show will air a segment on Aging and Telomere Testing tomorrow, Wednesday, July 13th between 8:00am - 9:00am EDT (7:00am - 8:00am CDT). Film crews were in Houston last week interviewing SpectraCell's clients and corporate personnel and filming our lab operations. Currently, SpectraCell is the only commercial lab offering this highly advanced diagnostic test in the United States.

Tune in tomorrow to catch a glimpse of our television interview. We highly anticipate a large influx of consumer website visitors from TODAY's 5 million+ viewers. We will be directing all patient inquiries for Telomere Testing to our Find-A-Clinician database listed on our homepage.

Topics: SpectraCell, telomere length, Telomere testing, The TODAY Show, NBC

Athletes at Risk for Multiple Nutrient Deficiencies

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Jul 07, 2011 @ 04:20 PM

Guest Blog by Arland Hill, DC, MPH, DACBN

Athlete RunningMost athletes become very driven to excel in the sport in which they compete.  These aspirations require great dedication to not only a regimented training schedule, but also to higher intensity levels and training volume.  Regardless of the sport, great demands are placed on the bodies of athletes.  Most of these are secondary to higher levels of oxygen uptake, constant flirting with catabolism and the need to generate energy more frequently.  Most of these are related to nutrient status in some way and underscore the importance of an athlete maximizing their training routine, but also their diet and supplement regimen to stay at peak performance.

The final stages of energy production are dependent on adequate supplies of oxygen.  Without oxygen, fatigue and lethargy quickly set in and the ability to produce ATP, the primary energy molecule, is quickly curtailed.  While this is an issue for some athletes, the opposite is true for the majority of the athletic population.  Most athletes are constantly pushing themselves, thus the need for greater levels of oxygen.  With more oxygen come higher levels of oxidative stress, also termed free radical production.  This is characteristically noted as low or marginally low vitamin E, selenium, glutathione and Spectrox.  This pattern presents as a result of the damage brought forth by oxidative stress.  The lower nutrient profiles are the efforts of the body to offset this damage.  Ironically, this is a pattern similar to that seen in some chronic disease states.

RunningIt is almost impossible to train at a higher level and not undergo some degree of catabolism.  The key however is to minimize this breakdown process and compliment it with an anabolic, or building response.  Maintenance of an anabolic state is imperative to continued progression.  Many areas are sacrificed when the balance between anabolism and catabolism is lost.  One area that appears to be most affected is protein balance.  Protein balance can be monitored through glutamine stores.  Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue, is rapidly processed during higher intensity activity.  The affects don’t just end at muscle tissue however, but cross over into gastrointestinal health and immune function.  This in part explains why athletes become more susceptible to changes in immune health when they are really pushing themselves.

BikingThe ability to perform at the highest level requires the immediate need to produce energy.  Energy production is not one step, but multiple.  Moreover it is a factor of being able to derive energy from all the major macronutrients; carbohydrates, fats and protein.  These macronutrients require many of the B vitamins as well as some of the minerals to help produce energy.  Apart from those nutrients, the last step in energy production, also known as the electron transport chain, requires reliable amounts of CoQ10.  Conversely, energy production cannot be limited to just the energy production pathways, but must also be linked to the delivery of oxygen as the aerobic energy cycles are far more efficient.  This requires healthy red blood cells, for which the nutrients B12, folate, iron and copper are required.

While athletes trying to achieve excellence must put in the necessary hours of training, they must also properly fuel their body and monitor the need to support it nutritionally.  Routine micronutrient testing provides a window into the metabolic needs of the athlete helping them to achieve maximum performance.

Dr. Arland HillArland Hill, DC, MPH, DACBN - Complete Care Chiropractic and Wellness   

For more information about Dr. Hill, please visit his website or his blog. Or, contact him at 281-557-7200.

 

 

 

Topics: micronutrient testing, Coenzyme Q10, folate, Vitamin E, Selenium, B Vitamins, Copper, Vitamin B12, supplements, immune system, deficiencies, Glutamine, Glutathione, Iron, Oxidative Stress, Spectrox, Energy, Free Radicals, Athletes, Performance