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PCOS: Addressing the Root Cause

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, May 13, 2019 @ 02:08 PM

AdobeStock_98525490What exactly is PCOS?

One of the most common endocrine disorders in young women and leading cause of infertility in American women of childbearing age is the condition known as PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Like other syndromes, PCOS is actually a cluster of symptoms, most notable of which is an unusually high level of androgen hormones (male sex hormones) in women. The name originates from the presence of ovarian “cysts”, which are actually immature egg follicles that never descend into the uterus, remaining in the ovary and thus appearing as cysts. Ovulation does not occur in women with PCOS, so these follicles that normally turn into a corpus luteum (egg ready for fertilization) remain undeveloped and consequently, infertility results.

What role do androgens play in this unique syndrome?

The key diagnostic criteria for PCOS is high androgen levels, although the role of androgens in women is commonly misunderstood. The most potent androgen hormone is testosterone, and thus androgen hormones are typically thought of as male hormones, although androgens (including but not limited to, testosterone) exist and serve an important role in women as well. But in PCOS patients, the androgen levels have become too high relative to other hormones. DHEA and androstenedione (important precursor hormones to estrogen) are also androgens, existing in both male and females.

How does PCOS present clinically?

Clinical manifestations of PCOS include acne, oily skin, unusual facial hair in women from the high testosterone (also known as hirsutism), infertility, insulin resistance and obesity. From a hormone perspective, women with PCOS will have high testosterone levels. In addition, they tend to be obese. Since fat cells contain the hormone aromatase which converts testosterone to estrogen (this occurs in adipose tissue of both men and women and is called aromatization), PCOS women can have high testosterone and high estrogen. Another hallmark of PCOS is insulin resistance (precursor to diabetes) which contributes markedly to weight gain and obesity. Since insulin resistance is indicative to poor glycemic control, reversing the blood sugar regulation dysfunction that occurs in PCOS is paramount to treatment.

Other hormone indications in PCOS patients is high luteinizing hormone (LH) and low follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Hyperandrogenic women (high testosterone) with PCOS tend to have low serum SHBG concentrations as well.

What role do micronutrients play in treating PCOS?

PCOS is first and foremost a hormone-linked syndrome. Micronutrients profoundly affect hormones, including insulin – the hormone responsible for shuttling blood glucose into cells. When insulin is chronically high, it becomes the key contributor to weight gain and metabolic dysregulation that is associated with PCOS.

Inositol is a B-complex associated nutrient that plays a very important role in cell to cell communications, which work hand-in-hand with hormone signaling. Studies indicate that exogenously administered inositol improves insulin activity (dosages of 1200 mg D-chiro-inositol were assessed).1 Evidence even goes to far as to suggest that insulin resistance in PCOS is due to inositol deficiency and that repletion of this key nutrient can significantly improve circulating hormone levels and ovulation rate.

Lipoic acid is another key nutrient in the treatment of PCOS. It enhances glucose uptake into muscles, improves insulin sensitivity and lowers triglycerides. Similarly, vitamin D deficiency is common in PCOS. This vitamin, which is actually considered a pro-hormone helps normalize the menstrual cycle. Chromium has been shown to benefit clinical manifestations of PCOS as well by facilitating the binding of insulin to receptors in the body, thus improving insulin sensitivity.

In reality, any nutrient that affects hormone production, weight management, fertility or glycemic control will potentially impact PCOS as well.

How to address the problem

Having a complete hormone panel run, along with a micronutrient analysis would be a good starting point in understanding what imbalances need to be addressed and how to correct them. Order your tests today! 

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Interested in learning more about PCOS? Register for our upcoming webinar on The PCOS Environmental Roadmap: How to Reverse PCOS and Begin Recovery.

References

1. Nestler JE, Jakubowicz DJ, Reamer P, et al. Ovulatory and metabolic effects of D-chiroinositol in the polycystic ovary syndrome. N Engl J       Med 1999;340:1314-1320.

2. Masharani U, Gjerde C, Evans J et al. Effects of controlled-release alpha lipoic acid in lean, nondiabetic patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. J       Diabetes Sci Technol 2010;4:359-364.

3. Fang F, Ni K, Cai Y et al. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on polycystic ovary syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized      controlled trials. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2017;26:53-60. 

4.  Lydic M, McNurlan M, Bembo S et al. Chromium pioclinate improves insulin sensitivity in obese subjects with polycystic ovary syndrome. Fertil     Steril 2006;86:243-246.

Topics: Nutrition, endocrine disorder, Functional Medicine, Hormone Imbalance, Intracellular Micronutrient Testing, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PCOS, PCOS and Micronutrients, PCOS and Insulin Resistance

The Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Children

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 @ 10:30 AM

adhd-2

In the early 1980s, researchers first linked ADHD to essential fatty acid deficiency. Recent years have seen an unprecedented rise in autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Since our nerves and brain are composed mainly of fats, poor omega 3 fatty acid status can alter neurotransmitter function and inhibit brain performance on many levels. This deficiency has a greater impact on males because their requirements for essential fatty acids are , in general, much higher – one reason why autism occurs more frequently in boys.1164,1168

Brain and nerve growth throughout childhood is extraordinarily rapid. The need for omega 3 fatty acids remains critical all the way through adolescence and into adulthood. Our brains can actually create nerve pathways in response to new experiences and learning environments. Called “neuronal plasticity,” this phenomena is crucial for long-term memory and learning and proper levels of the omega 3 fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) are needed for this to occur.1151The ratio of omega 6 fatty acids, which differ in structure and function, to omega 3 fatty acids also affects neuronal plasticity. Scientists now agree that the ratio of omega 6 fats to omega 3 fats is as important as the actual levels, especially in autism and ADHD. A lower ratio is better and when this ratio is improved, symptoms of autism and ADHD often improve.1155,1159

One Oxford University study demonstrated that fatty acid supplements given to children for 3 months who struggled with ADHD resulted in improvements in reading, spelling and behavior, which were not seen in a placebo group. When the placebo group in this study were given the same supplementation of essential fatty acids as a second part of this trial, the same improvements were eventually seen.1117

Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin are commonly prescribed for ADHD but studies show that supplements can be equally effective in treating symptoms of ADHD.1118

Differences in the fatty acid levels between people with ADHD and those without it are not wholly explained by differences in intake of either supplements or fatty acid-rich foods. This suggests that people with autism or ADHD are perhaps genetically predisposed to fatty acid deficiencies, and therefore metabolize fatty acids differently from normal controls. Children with low scores on behavioral assessment tests consistently have lower omega 3 fatty acids levels, and when supplemented with fish oils, the symptoms of ADHD in these children such as hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inability to pay attention – dramatically improve.1115,1125

The longer a child goes with Autism, the harder they are to reach. Evaluate your child's micronutrient status today! 

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For a copy of SpectraCell's Nutrition Correlation chart on autism, click here. 

 

REFERENCES

1164Gow AV et al. Total red blood cell concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with emotion-elicited neural activity in adolescent boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids 2009;80:151-156.

1168Colter AL, Cutler C, Meckling KA. Fatty acid status and behavioural symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adolescents: a case-control study. Nutr J 2008;7:8.

1151Ramakrishnan U, Imhoff-Kunsch B, DiGirolamo AM. Role of docosahexaenoic acid in maternal and child mental health. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:958S-962S.

1155Bell JG et al. The fatty acid compositions of erythrocyte and plasma polar lipids in children with autism, developmental delay or typically developing controls and the effect of fish oil intake. Br J Nutr 2010;103:1160-1167.

1159Schuchardt JP, Huss M, Stauss-Grabo M, Hahn A. Significance of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for the development and behaviour of children. Eur J Pediatr 2010;169:149-164.

1118Harding KL, Judah RD, Gant C. Outcome-based comparison of Ritalin versus food-supplement treated children with AD/HD. Altern Med Rev 2003;8:318-330.

1117Richardson AJ, Montgomery P. The Oxford-Durham study: a randomized, controlled trial of dietary supplementation with fatty acids in children with developmental coordination disorder. Pediatrics 2005;115:1360-1366.

1115Burgess JR, Stevens L, Zhang W, Peck L. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71:327S-330S.

1125Stevens L, et al. EFA supplementation in children with inattention, hyperactivity, and other disruptive behaviors. Lipids 2003;38:1007-1021. Scores on behavioral assessment tests consistently have lower omega 3 fatty acids levels, and when supplemented with fish oils, the symptoms of ADHD in these children such as hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inability to pay attention – dramatically improve.1115,1125


 

Topics: Cysteine, zinc, folate, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, autism, Glutamine, Glutathione, Vitamin B1, nutrition and autism, nutrition speaks, autistic symptoms, micronutrient deficiencies, autism speaks, integrative approach to autism, alternative therapy for autism

Micronutrients: The Gateway to Cellular Health

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Mar 15, 2019 @ 03:34 PM

Cellular Function 101

Why is cellular function important?

Picture1Cell function is a direct indicator of cellular health. When cells are healthy and functioning optimally, a person is healthy. When cells are dysfunctional – for whatever reason – disease will result. This disease can manifest subtly with symptoms like weight gain or general fatigue, or it can manifest more acutely with symptoms like tumors or infections.

Virtually all the biochemical reactions that happen every second throughout the entire body occur inside cells. This is where enzymes, proteins, neurotransmitters and hormones are made. Inside the cell (intracellular) is where nutrients are utilized and energy is produced. If a cell does not function, the metabolic processes necessary to sustain life are compromised.

The cumulative effects of cell dysfunction = disease, fatigue, pain.

The cumulative effect of optimal cell function = health, vigor and energy.

Is there a way to measure cell function?

Yes. It is possible to measure cell function by measuring its metabolic response to an outside stimulus. In other words, a cell’s ability to adapt, grow and metabolize is a direct indicator of how well is it functioning. By subjecting a cell to a stressor (via altering its environment) and measuring its metabolic response, cell function can be quantified. The specific term for this is cellular response to mitogenic stimulation, which is a direct measure of cell function.

What type of cell is typically used to measure cell function?

SpectraCell® uses t-lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) to measure cell function, which is best measured with a nucleated cell that is closely tied to immune function. Lymphocytes satisfy both of these requirements. In fact, lymphocyte proliferation is widely accepted in the medical community as an accurate marker of cell function.

How do micronutrients affect cell function?

Profoundly. Micronutrients are the tools that a cell needs to do the biochemical work of living beings. All the metabolic reactions that happen inside the cell are dependent on micronutrients. Vitamins acts as coenzymes to biochemical reactions – if there is not enough of a vitamin present in the cell, the cell cannot do its job. This is also true for minerals, amino acids, fatty acids and certain metabolites. Similarly, if antioxidants are deficient, the oxidative stress that is a necessary byproduct of cell respiration will damage the cell. Antioxidants are tools needed to repair the cell.

By definition, a micronutrient deficiency = cellular dysfunction. Because even if there is a low amount of said nutrient but the cell still functions optimally, then the cell is not functionally deficient in that nutrient. Conversely, if there is an “ample” amount of the nutrient in the cell, but the cell still does not function as well as if it had more of said nutrient, then a functional deficiency of that particular nutrient exists – no matter how much is in the cell.

Micronutrient levels are irrelevant when measured in isolation. What matters is how micronutrient affects cell function (as measured by lymphocyte proliferation). This is what is meant by a functional micronutrient deficiency.

To learn more, register for this month's webinar Cellular Health and Longevity: Why SpectraCell?! 

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Topics: Cellular Health, Nutritional Testing, Functional Micronutrient Testing, Micronutrients and Cellular Health, Cell Function and Disease, Nutrition Month, Cell Function, Intracellular Micronutrient Testing

A Powerful but Overlooked Strategy to Prevent Breast Cancer

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Oct 05, 2018 @ 03:24 PM

prevent_breast_cancerBreast cancer is often caused by a compromised ability to detoxify estrogen. Although this hormone is essential– it contributes to skin, bone, psychological, and reproductive health – excess estrogen and the conversion of estrogen into dangerous metabolites can drive cancers in hormone-sensitive tissues (breasts, cervix, uterus, and ovaries).

Estrogens are a group of structurally similar hormones that are metabolized continuously in the body. Sometimes these forms are protective, and sometimes they are metabolized into harmful forms that can stimulate tumor formation or initiate breast cancer. Whether estrogen becomes protective or damaging depends on micronutrient availability in bodily tissues that drive these metabolic pathways. One example is vitamin B6. This nutrient helps detoxify excess estrogen so that it does not cause tumors. Similarly, magnesium drives the enzyme that removes toxic forms of estrogen from the body. Cysteine – a powerful antioxidant - prevents estrogen from being oxidized into a dangerous form that promotes breast cancer. In short – when the appropriate micronutrients are biologically available, toxic forms of estrogen can be minimized, thus diminishing the potential for breast tumor development. 

Download our Estrogen - Nutrient Correlations Wheel

Topics: estrogen and breast cancer, hormone balance, breast cancer awareness, Breast Cancer and Nutrition, Micronutrients and Breast Health, breast cancer prevention

Protecting Our Telomeres with Targeted Nutrition and Lifestyle Changes

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 @ 03:29 PM

healthy girlMost people may not realize that there are two fundamental ways to protect telomeres:  (1) reduce the rate at which they shorten, also known as decreasing the telomere attrition rate and (2) to actually lengthen telomeres. Although it is commonly, albeit somewhat incorrectly, believed that once telomeres shorten they cannot get longer, recent evidence suggests otherwise. Common sense lifestyle choices can actually lengthen telomeres. This is comparable to reversing aging, versus simply slowing it down. For example, in a study started a decade ago, a group of men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer agreed to undergo comprehensive lifestyle changes for five years and be monitored during the course of the study. The lifestyle changes involved increased exercise, better nutrition, and better management of psychological stress - all choices within the reach of every person. After five years, telomere length improved. 

For those who want to take protection of their telomeres to the next level, targeted nutrition is key.  The effect micronutrients have on telomeres is profound.  For example:

CalciumRequired cofactor to prevent DNA replication errors.

FolateInfluences telomere length via DNA methylation.

Vitamin B3Extends lifespan of human cells in vitro; Slows telomere attrition rate by reducing reactive oxygen species in mitochondria.

B2, B6 and B12Crucial for proper DNA methylation.

CysteineStem cell treatment with N-acetyl cysteine corrects DNA damage in telomeres.

ZincImportant cofactor for DNA repair enzymes; key role in regulating inflammation.

CopperKey cofactor in the potent antioxidant superoxide dismutase that is known to protect telomeres.

MagnesiumInduced deficiency shortened telomeres in rat livers; Regulates chromosome separation in cell replication.

SeleniumIn vitro supplementation extended telomere length in liver cells; selenoproteins protect DNA.

GlutathioneInterference of glutathione dependent antioxidant defenses accelerates telomere erosion.

Vitamin CProtects DNA from oxidation. In vitro studies show it slows down age-related telomere shortening in human skin cells.

 Vitamin EEnhances DNA repair as well as removal of damaged DNA; Shown in vitro to restore telomere length on human cells.

Vitamin DPositively associated with telomere length due to its anti-inflammatory role.

ManganeseRequired cofactor in Mn superoxide dismutase, a deficiency in which decreases telomerase activity.

 

Discover how you can improve your telomere length with Micronutrient testing. 

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References:

Ornish et al. Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2008;9:1048-57. 

Ornish et al. Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow-up of a descriptive pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 2013;14:1112-1120.

 

Topics: Longer Telomeres, Age Management, Cellular Age, Telomere Homeostatis, Micronutrients and Telomere Length

Telomere Homeostasis: Live Better, Longer!

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Aug 03, 2018 @ 02:01 PM

TelomereTelomeres are sections of genetic material that form a protective cap at the end of each chromosome in every cell of the body. When a cell divides, the telomere gets a tiny bit shorter, until there is no more telomere left to protect DNA from “unraveling,” and the cell dies. Cellular death causes the body to age, whether the cell is from cardiac muscle, skin, or brain tissue, thus making telomeres a novel biomarker for biological age. The longer one’s telomeres, the younger one’s biological age. Several things affect telomere attrition rate – both positive (good nutrient status, healthy blood sugar and lipid metabolism, normal weight, exercise, etc.) and negative (micronutrient deficiencies, inflammation, cellular stress, a sedentary lifestyle, etc.).

Telomeres over time

Shammas M. Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging.  Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Jan; 14(1): 28–34. Illustration: Ivel DrFreitas MD, ABIM, ABAARM.

How is micronutrient status linked to the aging process?

Micronutrient status has direct implications for telomere length. This makes it especially important to correct specific deficiencies and maintain micronutrient balance. Measuring total antioxidant capacity via SPECTROX® is equally important as the body’s ability to handle oxidative stress contributes significantly to telomere health/length.

Why measure fatty acids?

OmegaCheck® measures the amount of three very important fatty acids (EPA, DHA, and DPA) in one’s blood. Fatty acids can either contribute to or alleviate inflammation, and the OmegaCheck determines the amount of these pro- and anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Although the protective omega-3 fatty acids influence enzyme and hormone systems throughout the body, they have gained attention primarily for their superb cardiovascular benefits. Since fatty acid status is a surrogate marker for inflammation and oxidative stress, it is not surprising that omega-3 fatty acids can slow cellular aging by preserving telomeres. When it comes to OmegaCheck, higher is better.

Omega-3 fatty acids can slow the aging process. There are many reasons for this: they reduce inflammation, help maintain the cardiovascular system healthy, and protect the brain. However, the existing research points to an entirely different mechanism of action against aging: protection of telomeres.

A recent study on people with active heart disease demonstrated that individuals with high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids also had the lowest rate of telomere attrition, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids protect against cellular aging.1 In another study, the adoption of comprehensive lifestyle changes (including daily supplementation with 3 grams of fish oil, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids) was associated with an increase in telomere length in human leukocytes.2 In animal studies, dietary enrichment of omega-3 fatty acids prolongs life span by approximately one-third.3

Yet another way that omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect on telomeres is through their action on cortisol. Following six weeks of fish oil supplementation, a group of men and women in a study demonstrated significantly reduced4 cortisol, a stress hormone known to reduce the activity of telomerase,5 an enzyme that protects and even lengthens telomeres. Even stress-related cellular aging may be thwarted by omega-3 fatty acids!

SpectraCell's Telomere Analysis

SpectraCell’s telomere 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.

The price of the Telomere Test is affordable and is also covered by insurance. Testing once each year or every other year is suggested to monitor the rate of telomere loss.

The great news is that with the telomere analysis and appropriate lifestyle, habits, you can protect your telomeres and reduce the rate at which they shorten! Discover your estimated cellular age today with a comprehensive, and individualized approach to managing the aging process. 

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1Ramin Farzaneh-Far et al.Association of Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acid Levels With Telomeric Aging in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease. JAMA 2010;303:250-257.

2Ornish D, Lin J, Daubenmier J et al. Increased telomerase activity and comprehensive lifestyle changes: a pilot study. Lancet Oncol 2008;9:1048-1057.

3Jolly CA, Muthukumar A, Avula CP, Troyer D, Fernandes G. Life span is prolonged in food-restricted autoimmune-prone (NZB x NZW)F(1) mice fed a diet enriched with (n-3) fatty acids. J Nutr 2001;131:2753-2760.

4Noreen EE, Sass MJ, Crowe ML, Pabon VA, Brandauer J, Averill LK. Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults. J Int Soc Sport Nutr 2010;7:31.

5Choi J, Fauce SR, Effros RB. Reduced telomerase activity in human T lymphocytes exposed to cortisol. Brain Behav Immun 2008;22:600-605.

Topics: Telomere testing, telomerase, Age Management, Cellular Age, OmegaCheck, Telomere Homeostatis, Micronutrients and Telomere Length

What Makes SpectraCell's Micronutrient Test Unique?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Jul 27, 2018 @ 03:03 PM

cells2-2The one-size-fits-all approach to health is outdated. So too is having to estimate nutrient adequacy, thanks to SpectraCell’s patented lab test. Our proprietary technology takes the guesswork out by offering a comprehensive intracellular micronutrient evaluation.

SpectraCell ALONE offers the technology that provides information about your personal micronutrient profile. It is NOT based on:

• Algorithms

• Assumptions

• Estimates

• Food diaries or food recalls

Here are the reasons that SpectraCell’s micronutrient test is truly unique – NO other test on the market offers this information:

1. Intracellular: In truth, “vitamin status” is somewhat of a loaded phrase because vitamins, like other micronutrients, exist both outside the cell (extracellular) and inside the cell (intracellular). Vitamin status outside a cell may be considered “within range” or “adequate” by conventional terms (e.g. when measured by standard lab testing), while vitamin status inside the cell – where metabolism actually occurs - may be depleted. Since vitamins function inside cells, extracellular measurements (such as serum testing) can be potentially misleading. Intracellular micronutrient levels, as opposed to what is present outside of cells (where it is not physiologically useful), is more clinically significant.

It is clear that serum micronutrient testing can yield important information. One obvious example is serum vitamin B12; when a person’s level is low, this can manifest as fatigue or anemia. Often, however, serum B12 may appear to be “normal,” but clinical symptoms of fatigue or B12 deficiency still exist. Why? Because serum B12 is a reflection of extracellular B12, whereas the intracellular reserve of B12 is what’s important; it matters little how much of a nutrient is present in one’s blood – if it is not getting into the cell, it won’t improve cellular or overall health. Consider this analogy: imagine being totally dehydrated, overwhelmed with thirst. If you jumped into a pool but could not drink the water, you remain thirsty because the water doesn’t make it into your body. Cells will be similarly starved if B12 doesn’t get assimilated.

2. Functional: Mass spectrometry, like other static quantitative measurement methods, assess the concentration of a nutrient present, but do not address its functional impact.  Measuring and reporting micronutrient concentration levels in the absence of a functional assessment offers an incomplete picture and can lead to inaccuracies in identifying and reporting true micronutrient deficiencies.

3. Lymphocyte-based: In our laboratory, we subject living white blood cells (obtained from a simple blood draw) to dozens of nutritional evaluation environments. Lymphocytes contain your complete genetic makeup, working coordinately – not just the gene subsets detected by other testing platforms – and are a reflection of long-term nutrient status and therefore, of cellular health throughout the body.

4. Long-term: The lifespan of these cells (4-6 months) means that taking a full range of supplements days or even weeks before your blood draw will not affect your results (serum micronutrient levels can fluctuate wildly on a daily basis). Your lymphocytes reflect your nutrient intake over a period of months, not days or hours.

5. Comprehensive: Nutrients work synergistically, so a comprehensive lab test is superior to measurement of individual micronutrients. SpectraCell’s micronutrient profile measures the functional level of 31 vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, antioxidants, and metabolites so that patterns of deficiency are clear.

6. Proprietary: Only SpectraCell offers the patented Spectrox® (reflects antioxidant capacity) and Immunidex (a measure of immune system function) as part of the micronutrient profile.

So why has intracellular testing not replaced the serum variety? One simple reason is that serum testing has been used for so long that reference ranges are well established and understood, albeit potentially misleading. Another reason is that intracellular testing is more technologically advanced and fewer labs offer it. Finally, serum testing has been useful for detecting serious nutrient deficiencies that have progressed into obvious symptoms. But it is worth noting that intracellular testing helps detect deficiencies long before overt (and sometimes debilitating) symptoms occur –serum levels often fall in the “normal” range when a true intracellular deficiency exists. 

SpectraCell’s micronutrient test is a true intracellular test – NOT a serum measurement. 

For additional information and medical publications supporting intracellular testing over serum tests, click
here.

Find out your intracellular micronutrient status today!

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Topics: intracellular micronutrient status, Advanced Nutritional Testing, Functional Micronutrient Testing

Vitamin B3 May Lower a Dangerous Type of Lipoprotein

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Jul 18, 2018 @ 12:30 PM

wbz-what-is-atherosclerosisIn a large clinical study called AIM-HIGH (for Atherothrombosis Intervention in Metabolic Syndrome with Low HDL/High Triglycerides and Impact on Global Health Outcomes), researchers evaluated the impact of extended release niacin (vitamin B3) on blood lipids.  In a previous review of patients in this AIM-HIGH trial, niacin showed no benefit to statin-treated patients when analyzed as a whole group.  However, in a subsequent analysis, niacin appeared to benefit patients who had high triglycerides (over 200 mg/dL) and very low HDL (less than 32 mg/dL).  In this analysis, the authors sought to find out the specific changes in lipoproteins that conferred the benefit seen in the subset of patients with high triglycerides and low HDL.         

Lipoprotein particles were analyzed on 2457 participants in the AIM-HIGH trial to establish baseline values and again after one year of treatment with extended release niacin.  Those taking niacin had higher HDL after one year (a good outcome since HDL is protective).  In addition, the analysis of lipoprotein subfractions showed that this benefit – specific to people with high triglycerides and low HDL – was likely due to the reduction in remnant lipoproteins, also known as RLP.

This unique lipoprotein is particularly harmful because unlike LDL particles, which have to undergo oxidation before they can be taken into the arterial intima, RLP lipoproteins can be readily transformed into foam cells which is what comprises arterial plaque.  In fact, RLP is one of the four major risk factors cited by the National Cholesterol Education Program that contribute to heart disease.   This paper suggests that the benefit seen in patients taking niacin was due to a reduction in this particularly harmful lipoprotein called RLP.

Micronutrients are involved in the body’s countless metabolic reactions; therefore, a single deficiency can affect cardiac and metabolic health. Regardless of your medical history and current health, micronutrient testing in combination with our CardioMetabolic evaluation can help your health care provider identify your risk and design a personalized treatment plan for you.

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(Journal of Clinical Lipidology, May 2018)


LINK to ABSTRACT Relationship between lipoprotein subfraction cholesterol and residual risk for cardiovascular outcomes: A post hoc analysis of the AIM-HIGH trial.

 

 

Topics: Vitamin B3, RLP, Micronutrients and Cardiovascular Health, Atherothrombosis, Metabolic Syndrome, Remnant Lipoproteins

Case Study: High Dose of Vitamin B1 Clears Up 26 Years of Painful Headaches

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 @ 12:32 PM

headacheIn this case report, a 41-year-old man who had been suffering from cluster headache since the age of 15 years old was treated with high dose vitamin B1 (thiamine).  He had been diagnosed with cluster headache at a neurological center in Italy. His first headache occurred at age 15 shortly after a motorcycle accident and they increased in frequency over the years, with acute pain and intensity that significantly compromised his quality of life.  Although the patient would experience some headache free months over the years, in January 2016 the headache clusters began occurring daily with no pain-free period for an entire year.  The patient had been treated with sumatriptan, a commonly prescribed drug for cluster headache, which did not work.  He had also been prescribed prednisone, although this not alleviate the pain either.  In December 2016, he was given oral high dose vitamin B1.  Initially, the dose was 250mg, then it was increased to 750 mg after a few days.  Within 10 days, the headache pain disappeared.  He continued the vitamin B1 daily indefinitely.

Interestingly, the neurological center requested that he stop the vitamin B1 in order to test whether the headaches would come back.  He refused this request citing his reluctance to re-experience his headache pain.  However, in May 2017 (five months after B1 treatment started), the patient forgot his vitamin B1 while on a vacation.  Within 48 hours of the last dose, a painful headache occurred.   He resumed vitamin B1 therapy after his vacation and was able to reduce the dose to 500mg with no recurrence of headaches to date.

Cluster headache is a painful condition in which very severe headaches occur with little warning and in “clusters” meaning several headaches will occur in a short time period.  Patients of cluster headache have very little or no warning when they occur unlike migraine which may gradually build in intensity.  Classified as a neurological condition, cluster headache is characterized by very severe and intense pain around the eye, often on only one side of the head.  Some researchers suggest that the role vitamin B1 plays in energy metabolism, brain function and pain modulation make it a potential therapy for this rare neurological disorder.  

(Case Reports in Neurological Medicine, April 2018)

LINK to ABSTRACT Oral High-Dose Thiamine Improves the Symptoms of Chronic Cluster Headache.

LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

Topics: micronutrients, Vitamin B1, micronutrient deficiency, Vitamin B1 Deficiency, Headaches and Nutrition, Vitamin B1 and Headaches

Study Sheds Light on the Link Between Biotin Deficiency and Inflammation

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 @ 02:59 PM

cauliflower copyPrevious research has shown that biotin deficiency increases inflammation but since there are so many causes of inflammation – physiologically speaking – the actual metabolic pathways between biotin deficiency and inflammation are unclear.  In this study, researchers subjected human immune cells to biotin deficiency and compared the result to human immune cells living in a biotin-rich environment.  Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is a key vitamin necessary for proper cellular metabolism. It is a cofactor to cellular energy production and therefore important to cellular health at a fundamental level. 

When the human immune cells were biotin deficient, expression of inflammatory proteins increased.  Specifically, CD4+T cells were used, which are also known as T-helper cells because they are a type of white blood cell that directs the function of other immune cells.  In other words, T-helper cells supervise immune cells, sending signals to attack viruses and bacteria, for example. In biotin deficiency, the number of these regulatory immune cells (CD4+T) decreased.  At the same time, biotin deficiency caused an increase in the metabolic pathway (called mTOR) that regulates cell growth.  mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) is a protein that senses the nutrient and energy status of cells and regulates their metabolism accordingly.  A decrease in mTOR is generally good and can lead to a longer lifespan.  An increase in mTOR is generally bad and can lead to tumors or cancerous growths. 

The results of this study – both in vivo and in vitro – showed that biotin deficiency increased the mTOR pathway, which then resulted in an increase in several inflammatory compounds.  This, combined with the fact that biotin deficiency decreased the number of T-helper cells, meaning fewer immune cells were around to regulate everything, ultimately induced the increase in inflammation seen in biotin deficiency.

(Journal of Immunology, April 2018

LINK to ABSTRACT Biotin Deficiency Induces Th1- and Th17-Mediated Proinflammatory Responses in Human CD4+ T Lymphocytes via Activation of the mTOR Signaling Pathway.

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Topics: micronutrients, micronutrient testing, biotin, B Complex Vitamins, Vitamin B7, Biotin Deficiency