SpectraCell Blog

Telomeres, Hormones and Aging

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 @ 10:51 AM

Guest blog by: Dr. Mike Carragher

Telomere TestingTelomere length gives us a unique view of how your cells are aging.  Knowing this can help you decide how aggressive your anti-aging program should be.

Telomeres are sections of genetic material at the end of each chromosome whose primary function is to prevent chromosomal “fraying” when a cell replicates. Think of the plastic tip of shoelaces, protecting the shoelace.  Telomeres protect chromosomes in the same way.  As a cell ages, its telomeres become shorter. Eventually, the telomeres become too short to allow cell replication, the cell stops dividing and will ultimately die – a normal biological process.

Telomere testing measures the ‘biological age’ of your cells.  It is one of the newest advancements in age management and anti-aging. It’s a simple blood test. Telomere testing determines the length of a person’s telomeres in relation to their age.

Evaluation of telomere length is an indicator of how rapidly one ages relative to a normal population. Therapies directed at slowing the loss of telomere length may slow aging and age-related diseases.  Therefore it has a role in any anti-aging/age management program.

Hormones & TelomeresHormones and Telomere Length
Scientists have found that telomerase, the enzyme that repairs and regulates telomeres, is controlled and activated by hormones.  Therefore, in order to keep ourselves healthy and with a high quality of life, I believe we must maintain all our hormones at optimal levels. Letting those hormones drop is to let the telomeres get short. When telomeres get short, cells age. Aging causes disease, and death follows.  Studies show that optimal levels of the hormones testosterone and estrogen levels help preserve telomere length.

Optimal Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels are also associated with telomere length.  A 2009 study published by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism looked at 2744 men and found that telomere length was positively associated with serum IGF-1 levels.  IGF-1 is the indirect measurement of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in the body. This positive association is reassuring to me when it comes to optimizing HGH levels.

Nutrition & TelomereNutrition and Telomere Length
An inflammatory diet, or one that increases oxidative stress, will shorten telomeres faster. This includes refined carbohydrates, fast foods, processed foods, sodas, artificial sweeteners, trans fats and saturated fats. A diet with a large amount and variety of antioxidants that improves oxidative defense and reduces oxidative stress will slow telomere shortening. Consumption of 10 servings of fresh and relatively uncooked fruits and vegetables, mixed fiber, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, cold water fish, and high quality vegetable proteins will help preserve telomere length.

Lifestyle and Telomere Length
One should achieve ideal body weight and body composition with low body fat (less than 22 % for women and less than 16 % for men). Decreasing visceral fat is very important. Regular targeted aerobic and resistance exercise, using burst training to optimize human growth hormone release, sleeping for at least 8 hours per night to optimize hormones, stress reduction to optimize cortisol, and discontinuation of all tobacco products are strongly recommended.

NutritionNutritional Supplements and Telomere Length
Oxidative stress will shorten telomere length and cause aging in cellular tissue. Antioxidant supplements can potentially reduce oxidative stress very effectively, which will ultimately improve oxidative defenses, mitochondrial function, reduce inflammation and slow vascular aging. Targeted supplementation is key, as antioxidants work synergistically and must be balanced to work most effectively and avoid inducing a pro-oxidant effect. My favorite antioxidants are Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Melatonin, and Marine Krill Oil.

When Should Testing Be Considered?
I recommend testing once per year to evaluate the rate of aging and make adjustments in hormonal optimization, nutrition, nutritional supplements, weight management, exercise and other lifestyle modifications known to influence telomere length.

To learn more about telomere and micronutrient testing, please visit our website at www.spectracell.com.

Dr. Mike Carragher

 

Dr. Mike Carragher, M.D.- The Body Well

For more information about our client Dr. Carragher, please visit his blog or contact him at (323) 874-9355.

Topics: micronutrient testing, telomere length, Nutrition, telomere, telomere test, Hormones, Oxidative Stress, Aging, Dr. Mike Carragher

SpectraCell Introduces Immunidex™

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 @ 02:00 PM

ImmunidexEffectively immediately, SpectraCell Laboratories will include a personalized assessment of your body’s immune function on every micronutrient test it performs.  Called Immunidex™, this score tells a patient how well their immune system can respond to outside threats.  The Immunidex™, which is now automatically included on every micronutrient test report, is only available from SpectraCell and does not add to the price of the micronutrient test.

Specifically, the Immunidex™ is an indicator of  how well a person’s  lymphocytes respond to  challenges from either the environment or potential disease burdens.  In other words, if the Immunidex is high, the person had a stronger immune response. The Immunidex™ score uses a patented technology for assessing cellular function, unique to SpectraCell Laboratories.  As a result, no other lab offers this type of indicator.

 “When people think immunity, they think colds and infections.  But cell-mediated immune function is a major defense against degenerative disease like heart disease, cancer and arthritis.” states Dr. Fred Crawford, PhD, Vice President and Director of Operations for SpectraCell Laboratories. “And since nutritional deficiencies profoundly impact a person’s immune function, including it on the micronutrient test report makes perfect sense.  Correct your deficiencies, and in the majority of patients, immune function improves.”

Micronutrient TestingEach person responds to an immune challenge differently.  Younger people usually have a stronger immune response than the elderly. Those with fewer, or less severe, nutritional deficiencies also will typically have healthier immune responses.  In addition, a person’s ability to fight oxidative stress in their bodies is correlated with healthy immune function.   Spectrox™, which measures a person’s response to oxidative stress and is also included on their micronutrient test, often correlates with Immunidex™ so that that higher the Spectrox™ score, the higher the Immunidex™ and vice versa.

SpectraCell’s micronutrient test, which now includes Immunidex™ retails for $370 and includes a panel of 34 antioxidants, vitamins and minerals .  It does not need to be ordered by a doctor unless the patient plans to submit it to insurance.  It is a simple blood test and takes about two weeks to receive results.  Over 3000 doctors currently use SpectraCell’s micronutrient test in their practice. More information on ordering micronutrient testing and Immunidex™ can be found at www.spectracell.com.

For more information, contact us at 800-227-5227, or email at spec1@spectracell.com.

Topics: micronutrient testing, immune system, Oxidative Stress, Dr. Fred Crawford, Immunidex, Immunity

Nutritional Considerations of Women's Health

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 @ 11:32 AM

Are you ready to achieve optimal health and reduce your risk of chronic diseases?

Your Health

Osteoporosis and WomenOSTEOPOROSIS
Good bone health is not as simple as getting enough calcium. In order to absorb calcium and reduce bone loss, proper vitamin D, K and C levels are crucial. Additionally, several vitamins and minerals are necessary for the prevention of osteoporosis as well as the painful bone disease, osteomalacia. Vitamin K is a major factor in building bone proteins while the amino acid carnitine can improve bone mineral density and zinc deficiency can negatively affect bone integrity.

PMS
Several symptoms of PMS are alleviated by specific nutrients and worsened by deficiencies. Since ovarian hormones influence calcium, magnesium and vitamin D metabolism, the evaluation of how each nutrient is functioning in a woman’s body reveals crucial information. In clinical trials, zinc has reduced and sometimes eliminated menstrual cramping; calcium and vitamin D can mitigate premenstrual headaches; and magnesium plus vitamin B6 supplementation can reduce the anxiety often felt in women suffering from PMS.

Women and HormonesHORMONES & HRT
The delicate balance of hormones is profoundly affected by nutritional deficiencies. Micronutrients can actually function as a hormone (vitamin D for example) or, in most cases, hormones are regulated by nutrients. Research shows that synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can negatively affect mineral levels of calcium, copper, chromium, magnesium, selenium and zinc and certain vitamins, while reducing important antioxidants.

MENOPAUSE
Menopausal women are at a higher risk for micronutrient deficiencies. This is due largely to the fact that as we age, our bodies are less efficient at absorption, but also due to the oxidative stress that accompanies normal aging. As a woman enters menopause, her risk for cardiovascular disease also increases, partly because certain vitamins that protect against heart disease become deficient. For example, folic acid and B vitamin supplementation in women can help blood vessels remain pliable and clear while improving a woman’s lipid profile. In some women, high estrogen levels are associated with low magnesium levels, which consequently affect blood pressure and several negative menopausal symptoms.

BREAST CANCERWomen and Breast Cancer
Several key nutrients are critical for maintaining healthy breast tissue. Low antioxidant status is linked to higher rates of breast and other cancers. In fact, antioxidants such as coenzyme Q10, cysteine and vitamin A have been shown to mitigate DNA damage in cancerous tissue and inhibit hormonal toxicities that can initiate cancerous cells. Other studies have shown that adequate vitamin D and calcium levels can lower risk by more than 70%.

PREGNANCY
The demands for specific nutrients during pregnancy and lactation are particularly taxing on a mother, often draining her nutritional reserves. Since nutritional deficiencies can be passed from a mother to her baby, accurate and targeted diagnostic testing is important before, during and post-partum. Targeted supplementation may also reduce pregnancy complications: coenzyme Q10 and selenium reduce risk of pre-eclampsia, vitamin D can decrease bacterial infections, vitamin A and B2 can alleviate pregnancy anemia, trace elements can reduce pregnancy induced hypertension, and folic acid, biotin and B vitamins may help in the reduction of birth defects.

Reproductive HealthREPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
Overwhelming evidence suggests that infertility issues stem from low antioxidant status. Deficiencies in vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, magnesium, folate as well as the powerful antioxidant cysteine have been linked to infertility. In many cases, targeted repletion is very beneficial with fertility and related issues like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.

SpectraCell’s micronutrient testing assesses your vitamin, mineral and antioxidant deficiencies on the cellular level. This unique testing provides you with individualized results to determine what nutrients your body needs to reduce your risk of chronic diseases and live a healthier life.

Contact us at spec1@spectracell.com to learn more...

Topics: pregnancy, breast cancer, PMS, Hormones, Osteoporosis, HRT, Menopause, Reproductive Health, Women's Health

Nutritional Considerations of Diabetes

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Feb 06, 2012 @ 11:57 AM

DiabetesUNDERSTANDING DIABETES

According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. With this type of diabetes, cells do not receive enough insulin. As a result, cells starve for energy, and, over time, a glucose buildup in the blood stream causes negative effects on a person’s eyes, kidneys, nerves and/or heart.

Today’s fast-paced society has led to quicker, higher carbohydrate alternatives as food sources. As a result, there is a greater threat of developing diabetes due to cells becoming insulin-resistant.

Micronutrients such as niacin, magnesium, calcium, zinc, carnitine, inositol, alpha-lipoic acid, as well as vitamins E, B6 and D all play an important role in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Though diabetes is a serious disease - with the right treatment - living a longer, healthier life can be made easier.

THE ROLE OF MICRONUTRIENTS IN DIABETIC HEALTH

NIACIN
Niacin (nicotinamide) may help to preserve residual B-cell function in individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This B-vitamin is believed to be one of the components of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF).

MAGNESIUM
This mineral is involved in more than 300 enzymatic functions in the body. Magnesium deficiency has been associated with insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia and hypertension, which have all been associated with diabetes mellitus. Magnesium has been found to be one of the more common micronutrient deficiencies in diabetes.

VITAMIN E
Low levels of vitamin E are associated with increased incidences of diabetes. Research suggests that individuals with diabetes mellitus have decreased levels of antioxidants. Increased antioxidant requirements may be a result of increased free radical production during periods of hyperglycemia.

ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID (THIOCTIC ACID)
This antioxidant has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin E and vitamin C. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to enhance glucose uptake in skeletal muscle tissue, thus improving glucose regulation in diabetic mellitus individuals. In addition, this antioxidant can be beneficial in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy.

VITAMIN D
Obesity is often associated with vitamin D deficiency and also with type 2 diabetes. Research indicates that diabetic individuals (both type 1 and type 2) have a higher risk for bone fracture. This vitamin deficiency has clearly been associated with lower bone density. Subjects with hypovitaminosis D are at higher risk of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

CHROMIUM
This trace mineral is fundamental in proper insulin function and is believed to facilitate the attachment of insulin to the cell’s insulin receptors. A lack of chromium can lead to insulin resistance, which leads to elevated blood levels of insulin and glucose. Elevated levels of glucose in the blood can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular complications. Food processing
removes most of naturally occurring chromium. However, chromium can be supplemented or found in brewer’s yeast, nuts, meat, whole grains, green beans and broccoli.

HOMOCYSTEINE
Homocysteine elevation is a risk factor for overall mortality in type 2 diabetic individuals independent of other risk factors. Adequate levels of pyroxidine (vitamin B6), folate and vitamin B12 are required for normal homocysteine metabolism.

MicronutrientsINOSITOL
This nutrient is found in high concentrations in peripheral nerves. There is some evidence that inositol may be effective in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.

VITAMIN B6
Research shows that a deficiency of vitamin B6 may result in abnormal glucose tolerance, degeneration of the pancreatic beta cells, reduced insulin response to glucose and reduced serum and pancreatic insulin levels. In addition, vitamin B6 deficiency has been associated with polyneuropathies.

CALCIUM
Studies have shown that individuals with a low intake of calcium have an increased risk of non-insulin dependant diabetes mellitus. Numerous studies have also revealed that diabetes may be associated with abnormal regulation of intracellular calcium.

ZINC
This mineral has been associated with over 200 enzymatic functions in the body. Increased fasting blood glucose levels have been associated with low zinc. Zinc has been shown to be important in the synthesis, storage and secretion of insulin. Increased urinary zinc excretion has also been associated with diabetic individuals.

CARNITINE
This amino acid in the form of acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to benefit those individuals with diabetic polyneuropathy. One of the proposed mechanisms is that this amino acid may restore the depleted nerve myoinositol content and decrease free radical production.

Topics: Homocysteine, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, zinc, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, diabetes, Calcium, inositol, Chromium, Niacin

Nutritional Relationships of Hypothyroidism

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Feb 01, 2012 @ 10:16 AM

Nutritional RelationshipsBelow is a list of nutrients which significantly affect Hypothyroidism:

  • Glutathione - Hypothyroidism decreases efficacy of some antioxidants, such as glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase
  • B Vitamins - A deficiency in B6, B12 or B9 (folate) can cause elevated homocysteine, which is linked with hypothyroidism. Folic acid levels have been linked to levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
  • Vitamin C and E - Partially restores thyroid function when liver detoxification ability is compromised.
  • Vitamin A - Activates gene that regulates TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)
  • Zinc - Increases thyroid hormone T3 in deficient subjects.
  • Copper - Low levels seen in experimentally induced hypothyroidism; Indirectly affects thyroid status by its antioxidant role via superoxide dismutase.
  • Selenium - Converts thyroid hormone T4 (thyroxine) into T3 (triiodothyronine); Deficiency reduces T3 levels causing classic hypothyroidism symptoms such as fatigue, depression or weight gain.
  • Asparagine - This amino acid is part of the structure of thyroid stimulating hormone which regulates communication with other hormones.
  • Carnitine - Decreased tissue levels of carnitine in both hypo- and hyperthyroidism contribute to muscle fatigue.
  • Lipoic Acid - Improves endothelial function in people with subclinical hypothyroidism; Protects thyroid cells from oxidative stress; May interfere with T4 therapy
  • Choline - Hypothyroidism negatively affects choline function in the brain, which can affect mood and cognition.


Topics: Asparagine, zinc, Carnitine, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Selenium, B Vitamins, Copper, Lipoic Acid, Glutathione, Hypothyroidism