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SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc.

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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

Lipoprotein(a) and L-carnitine

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 @ 02:24 PM

Lipoprotein(a) and L-carnitine

heart-health.gifMost people assume that standard cholesterol testing offers an adequate assessment of heart disease risk. If you, like many, have never heard of a lipoprotein profile test, you may be surprised to learn that this test assesses an important risk factor called Lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a) (“lipoprotein little a”). Influenced by genetics and strongly linked to heart disease and blood clotting problems, this risk factor unfortunately is not part of routine cholesterol tests or standard lipid panels. In fact, lipoprotein(a) is so strongly linked to heart disease, that it is one of the four lipid-related risk factors cited by the National Institutes of Health National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) as worthy of monitoring. Unfortunately, Lp(a) has been notoriously difficult to treat pharmacologically, as statins have shown little efficacy in lowering Lp(a) levels*.

In a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients with elevated cholesterol and elevated Lp(a) were divided into two groups, each with 29 people: Group 1 received a statin only and Group 2 received the same statin plus 2 grams/day of L-carnitine, a supplement that plays a key role in fatty acid transport within cells. After 12 weeks, the group receiving only a statin showed about a 7% reduction in Lp(a), but the group receiving the L-carnitine in conjunction with the statin demonstrated over 19% reduction in Lp(a) levels. Authors suggest that co-administration of L-carnitine (whose primary function is fatty acid metabolism), may enhance efforts to lower Lp(a) compared to using a statin alone.

* See our blog post, “Shedding some light on cholesterol,” from January 19, 2017. 

For additional reading refer to the abstract L-Carnitine/Simvastatin Reduces Lipoprotein (a) Levels Compared with Simvastatin Monotherapy: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study published in the January 2017 issue of Lipids

 



 

Topics: Heart Disease, Heart Health, Lipoprotein(a), L-carnitine, Lower Lipoprotein(a), Standard Cholesterol Testing

Exercise: A Fountain Of Youth?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 @ 02:25 PM

Young Woman_Old Woman.jpgEveryone knows that exercise is good for health: after all, it not only does the obvious (burns calories and builds strength), it furthermore helps balance hormones, lifts mood, and fights depression. Did you know that it also has a role in maintaining memory and cognitive function as we age?  A new study has shed light on yet another interesting way that exercise helps keep one young.  Researchers recently found that physical activity may help preserve telomeres, the strands of DNA at the end of chromosomes that protect genetic material from unraveling (like the plastic tips on the ends of shoelace). Each time a cell divides (a process that happens during cellular growth or repair), telomeres in that cell get a tiny bit shorter as DNA is lost, and shorter telomeres = faster aging. The cell is programmed to die when telomeres get too short. The cumulative effect of this process in cells throughout the body manifests as diseases of aging, and this is the reason for the preponderance of studies connecting telomere length with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases. 

Fortunately, there are ways to protect these cellular “clocks.” Recent research suggests that a sedentary lifestyle is associated with shorter telomeres. In one study, scientists observed 1,481 older women (average age was 79 years old) and correlated telomere length with sedentary time. They found that among generally inactive women, the more sedentary the lifestyle, the shorter the telomeres (meaning they were aging faster). However - despite stretches of time engaged in sedentary activities (working at a desk, for example) - engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity somewhat regularly appears to offer protection against shorter telomeres. In other words, 30 minutes of activity in a day despite inactivity most of the rest of the day (as in working at a computer or watching TV) did not contribute to cellular aging.  From a cellular standpoint, it truly does appear that a little exercise goes a long way.

Interested in knowing your true biological age? Find out with our Telomere Test
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Topics: telomere length, Telomere testing, Fountain of Youth, biological age, premature aging