SpectraCell Blog

The Little Known Nutrient That May Be Helpful for PTSD Victims

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Dec 27, 2016 @ 10:22 AM


depressed man.jpgSerine, an amino acid, is a micronutrient with which many people are unfamiliar. This may be a reason why its role in mental health remains largely underappreciated. Serine’s major role is in the production of neurotransmitters. Specifically, it increases the “feel-good” hormones dopamine and serotonin, but it does so without the corresponding hyperactivity or compulsive behavior that often occurs with drug therapies that stimulate a single neurotransmitter. It also buffers the adrenal response to physical, mental and emotional stress. In doing so, it protects the body and mind against cellular damage from chronically high cortisol. Serine deficiency has been linked to the severity of depression; in one study, the administration of serine reduced combat-related anxiety in a clinical trial on 22 post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients. 

 Click here to download our nutrient correlations wheel on Depression. 

Topics: serine, micronutrients, root cause of depression, nutrients and depression, amino acids that affect depression, nutrients and PTSD, serine and neurotransmitters, serine and depression, what causes depression, PTSD

Why This Mineral (or Lack of It) May Be The Key to Thyroid Problems

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Dec 14, 2016 @ 11:10 AM

thyroid.jpgThe thyroid gland, located in the neck, produces a variety of thyroid hormones. These regulate virtually every aspect of metabolism: body temperature, mood, sex hormones, energy levels, and even impact one’s appearance, from hair and nails to skin and waistline.  Less understood about thyroid hormones is that there are two basic types – T3 and T4 (so named for the number of iodine molecules each has) –  and they serve different biological functions.  T4, which is made in the thyroid gland, serves as the precursor hormone to T3. It is entirely possible, even common, for the thyroid gland to produce plenty of thyroid hormone in the form of T4, but not be converted into T3. Because T3 is the more biologically potent thyroid hormone and acts directly on bodily tissues, one may exhibit signs of hypothyroidism (fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold, thinning hair, mood swings, etc) even when T4 is in the normal range. 

It is worth noting that the conversion of precursor thyroid hormone T4 into active thyroid hormone T3 occurs outside the thyroid gland, mostly in the liver and kidneys. This conversion into active thyroid hormone occurs through the action of enzymes that are dependent on the mineral selenium (these enzymes are called deiodinases because they remove aniodine in T4 to convert it to T3).  Therefore, a selenium deficiency can cause a person to be low in active thyroid hormone, even if their thyroid gland is producing plenty of precursor thyroid hormone.  To complicate things, TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is often found to be “normal” despite poor thyroid conversion. In essence, a reliance on simple thyroid tests may suggest a person is not hypothyroid when in fact they are hypothyroid due to a selenium deficiency.  Both low zinc and antioxidant status can also impair the conversion of T4 (precursor) to T3 (active) hormone.  The most concentrated dietary source of selenium is the Brazil nut, because the soil where Brazil nuts are grown is particularly rich in selenium.

Find out whether you have a selenium deficiency today!

Get Tested

Topics: micronutrient testing, Selenium, Hypothyroidism, Metabolism, thyroid symptoms and solutions, thyroid treatment, Thyroid Issues, selenium testing, how selenium affects thyroid, thyroid hormones, T4, thyroid gland, healthy metabolism, thyroid disease, key to thyroid problems, what causes thryoid problems, selenium deficiency, thyroid stimulating hormone, T3, antioxidant status, thyroid dysfunction

The Good and Bad News About Chromium and Blood Sugar

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Dec 01, 2016 @ 11:01 AM

broccoli.jpgChromium is a trace metal that plays a role in metabolizing carbohydrates.  It is the central molecule of glucose tolerance factor (GTF), a compound that helps insulin attach to a cell’s receptors. This allows glucose to be taken up by a cell and used for fuel, rather than continue circulating in the bloodstream and eventually wreaking havoc on blood vessels and organs. 

When chromium is deficient in the body, glucose cannot be metabolized properly. This sets the stage for insulin resistance. The good news is that when a chromium deficiency is corrected, blood sugar regulation improves. Unfortunately, supplemental chromium, such as chromium picolinate, may not be absorbed efficiently. Chromium competes for the binding site of a protein that transports iron, which may also inhibit absorption. The solution? Increase your dietary intake of chromium-containing foods. Among the best sources of this mineral are broccoli, barley, oats, and green beans. You’ll want to limit your intake of foods high in simple sugars, on the other hand, as these actually increase the rate of excretion, thus promoting chromium deficiency.

Find out whether you are chromium deficient today by asking about our Micronutrient Test


 

Topics: micronutrients, micronutrient testing, Chromium, micronutrient deficiency, micronutrient profile, barley, green beans, chromium picolinate, blood sugar, chromium deficiency, super foods, broccoli, oats