SpectraCell Blog

Feeling Fabulous or Fatigued?  (Hint – it’s all in your cells!)

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 @ 12:30 PM

healthy woman.jpgCellular health – whether referring to brain cells, bone cells, or fat cells – impacts the health of the entire body. Health issues may arise and manifest differently for each person depending on one’s unique biochemistry. Some common examples of these manifestations include excess weight, headaches, and dry skin, driven by poor cellular metabolism. Quite literally, health and wellness begin at the cellular level. 

A paradigm shift in women’s healthcare is happening right now.  You may have noticed that much of the focus in medicine today has shifted from disease to prevention; however, what we commonly think of as “preventive” medicine (mammograms, PAP smears) is actually pre-symptomatic screening for earlier disease detection and diagnosis.  Prevention can be facilitated by the optimal nourishment of cells with micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), as these fuel the cell and are involved in hundreds of metabolic reactions and physiological process. Some of these include detoxification, energy production, neurotransmitter balance, sleep quality, cognition, and immunity. Therefore, micronutrients profoundly affect mood, skin, hormone balance – every organ, endocrine, and body system is impacted. In fact, the nutrient-hormone connection is huge.  Did you know that many female cancers – breast, uterine, ovarian – may occur when estrogen is metabolized into toxic by-products that are not eliminated? To keep estrogen metabolism in the body safe, women are encouraged to focus on these micronutrients:

  • Magnesium activates the enzyme that removes toxic forms of estrogen.
  • Vitamin B6 protects genes from estrogen-induced damage.
  • Vitamin B3 increases adiponectin, a weight loss hormone.
  • Vitamin A regulates leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite.
  • Cysteine prevents toxins in breast tissue from becoming cancerous.

These nutrients and dozens others behave like hormonal housekeepers, and lacking even one of these can set the stage for compromised health: vitamin deficiency can manifest as fairly benign conditions (lack of energy or poor sleep), or more serious illness (allowing the uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells to grow and invade healthy tissue).

Because we are all biochemically unique, micronutrient deficiencies may lead to different symptoms in different women. Find out yours, and take steps to correct them, by taking your micronutrient test today.

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Topics: micronutrients, vitamin deficiencies, intracellular, Women's Health, Cellular Health, nutrient deficiencies, estrogen metabolism, Nutrient-Hormone Connection

Vitamin A Deficiency in Utero May Increase Risk of Alzheimer's Later in Life

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 12:26 PM

old man.jpgIn this provocative mouse study, researchers demonstrated that marginal vitamin A deficiency in utero may have large implications on cognitive function later in life, particularly in the development of Alzheimer's disease. It revealed that vitamin A deficiency increases the potential for amyloid beta to form in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid beta is a type of protein that forms tangles in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, eventually leading to plaque formation and ultimately manifesting as major cognitive dysfunction and severe memory loss.

Specifically, amyloid precursor protein (generally benign when it stays intact) becomes amyloid beta when it is acted upon by a special enzyme that cleaves it. Vitamin A deficiency increases the activity of this enzyme, thus increasing the production of amyloid beta in the brain. When therapeutic doses of vitamin A was administered to mice, memory was restored, suggesting that “vitamin A supplementation might be a potential approach for Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.” 

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Topics: micronutrients, Vitamin A, Vitamin A and Alzheimer's, Vitamin A Deficiency, Alzheimer's Disease

Study Sheds Light on How Omega-3 fatty Acids Minimize Cellular Aging

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 @ 12:52 PM

omega3-foods-720x480.jpgThe role of omega-3 fatty acids in health has been well established, and new research helps explain the association. In a recent study, mice given fish oil containing high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA) demonstrated the activation of several cellular “protections:” (1) the activity of protective enzymes in the liver and heart tissue increased significantly; (2) oxidative stress (as measured by F2-isoprostanes) and damage to sensitive brain tissue (cerebral lipid peroxidation) were dramatically decreased; (3) telomere shortening in the liver and testes was reduced; and (4) DHA helped prevent the expression of cancer-causing genes. Researchers suggest communication that links oxidative stress, telomeres, and cancer genes into what they call a “redox-telomere-antioncogene axis.”

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Topics: micronutrients, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Omega-3 and Aging

The Importance of Micronutrient Testing by Dr. Ron Grabowski, DC, RD

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 @ 02:34 PM

 

 

Hear Dr. Grabowski’s take on the value of intracellular micronutrient testing, and how micronutrient deficiencies can reflect patterns seen in a variety of diseases.


 

Topics: micronutrient testing, Nutritional Deficiency, micronutrient deficiency

Functional Indicators of Zinc Status Are More Telling Than Plasma Levels

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 @ 12:45 PM

zinc food sources.jpegEighteen healthy adult men participated in a six-week controlled consumption study, in which all food or beverage they consumed was provided for them over the course of the study. For the first two weeks, the men were given food with very low amounts of zinc plus a chemical (phytate) that reduces zinc absorption. Then the amount of zinc in their prepared food was increased by over 60%. Measures of zinc status – both functional and static – were taken at the beginning and end of the trial. After the increase in dietary zinc, plasma levels remained the same. However, functional measures of zinc status increased. Specifically, total absorbed zinc as well as serum levels of protective proteins involved in cellular repair increased. Over a thousand proteins were measured, and those that increased in function were proteins that help repair DNA damage and quell inflammation, many of which are zinc-dependent. Although plasma zinc remained the same, functional indicators of zinc status improved after an increase in zinc consumption. 


 

Topics: micronutrients, zinc, Zinc Deficiency, Functional Zinc Status

Serum Level of Folate May Not Tell the Whole Story

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Mar 09, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

depression (1).jpgIn a group of 33 young adults with treatment-resistant depression, plasma, urine and cerebral spinal fluid were measured for several metabolites. These were compared to levels of 16 healthy control subjects. Folate deficiency in cerebral spinal fluid was the most common deficiency seen in patients with pharmacological treatment- resistant depression. It is worth noting that serum levels of folate were normal in these same patients. All patients with cerebral spinal folate deficiency showed improvement in depressive symptoms when treated with folinic acid, suggesting that serum measurement of folic acid may be misleading as it does not reflect a functional deficiency. In fact, when folic acid deficiency was confirmed (in this case via cerebral spinal fluid), an unexpectedly large proportion of patients with potentially treatable depression were identified.

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Topics: micronutrient testing, folate, Serum levels of folate, Folate Deficiency

Nutrients and Circadian Rhythms

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Mar 08, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

sunlight.jpegIn case you hadn’t already heard, daylight saving time is almost upon us (effective local time 2:00 a.m. Sunday, March 12th). If you, like many others, notice that your circadian rhythm becomes disrupted during this yearly occurrence, and find that it takes you a few days or even weeks to adjust, you may want to take time now to plan ahead.  

Natural light affects the daily timing of physiological processes, and micronutrients in turn have an effect on our circadian (circa = around, dian = day) rhythms (AKA “body clock” or the sleep/wake cycle) in several ways. In fact, the process of re-adjusting to a new circadian rhythm (“entrainment”) – as in the case of jet lag, shift work, or daylight saving – may be facilitated by vitamin B12, or exacerbated by B12 deficiency. The therapeutic benefits of vitamin B12 have been observed in persons suffering from insomnia, normalizing their sleep-wake cycles. Minerals also play a role: magnesium can impact human circadian rhythms by mimicking the action of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. This might be the explanation behind magnesium’s link to better sleep. Other micronutrients, especially B vitamins such as folate, niacin, and vitamin B6, are cofactors in the production of serotonin, dopamine, and tryptophan, neurotransmitters that have a role in regulating sleep patterns.

 



 

Topics: Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B12 Deficiency, Circadian Rhythms

Supplemental Calcium Linked to Dementia in Certain Women

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Mar 07, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

dementia.jpgA study followed 700 Swedish women between the ages of 70 and 92 years, who were all initially free from dementia. After five years, the researchers collected data on which women took calcium supplements (and dosage), as well as which women were clinically diagnosed with dementia. The odds among women who took supplemental calcium of developing dementia were twice that for women who did not take calcium. Further, among the women with a history of stroke, the odds of developing dementia among those who also supplemented calcium were six times the odds compared to women who did not take calcium. Although limited in sample size, the study results suggest that in elderly women, calcium supplementation may be potentially harmful, especially if they have a history of stroke or vascular problems.

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Topics: micronutrients, Calcium, Calcium and Dementia, Dementia

Folic Acid’s Link to Neural Tube Defects Gains Attention

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Mar 03, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

pregnant-woman-outside.jpgFolic acid has long been known for drastically reducing the risk of neural tube defects in babies, but new research sheds light on possible consequences of the “if some is good, more is better” approach to supplementation. In a recent study, scientists investigated the effects of moderate folic acid supplementation on reproductive outcomes in mice. 

Female mice were fed either folic acid-supplemented or control diets before and during pregnancy. Researchers found that in female mice with a certain genetic deficiency involved in methylation (called MTHFD1 R653Q), the incidence of embryonic defects and developmental delays actually increased when given supplemental folic acid, compared to mice on a control diet. These findings suggest gene-nutrient interactions (in this case, folic acid with MTHFD1 R653Q), thereby complicating recommendations for supplemental nutrients during pregnancy. Assessing your micronutrient levels before and during pregnancy with a SpectraCell Micronutrient Test is a convenient way to discover and replete micronutrient deficiencies before they become a problem, which can benefit both mother and child.

For additional reading refer to the abstract, Moderate folic acid supplementation and MTHFD1-synthetase deficiency in mice, a model for the R653Q variant, result in embryonic defects and abnormal placental development, published in the November 2016 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.



 

Topics: Folic Acid, Folic Acid and Pregnancy, Folic Acid and Neural Tube Defects

Magnesium Supplementation May Enhance Glucose Metabolism in Diabetics

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Mar 02, 2017 @ 11:42 AM

Mg.jpgIn a meta-analysis of eighteen randomized controlled trials, reviewers assessed the effect of magnesium supplementation versus placebo in patients diagnosed with diabetes or those identified as being at high risk for diabetes. Compared to placebo, magnesium supplementation reduced blood sugar levels in diabetics. Similarly, in people who had not yet developed diabetes but who were at higher risk for it, magnesium supplementation lowered blood sugar levels following a glucose challenge. They also tended to trend toward lower markers for insulin resistance, leading authors to conclude that “magnesium supplementation appears to have a beneficial role” in markers of glucose metabolism.

For additional reading, refer to the abstract, Effect of magnesium supplementation on glucose metabolism in people with or at risk of diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of double-blind randomized controlled trials published in the December 2016 issue of European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

 



 

Topics: Magnesium, diabetes, Magnesium Supplementation, Magnesium and Glucose Metabolism