SpectraCell Blog

The Role of Micronutrients in Cognitive Function

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Aug 05, 2011 @ 09:55 AM

Cognitive FunctionALPHA LIPOIC ACID – This nutrient protects against the neuronal injury that occurs in the presence of toxic proteins found in brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients. Research clearly indicates that lipoic acid is a potent neuroprotective antioxidant which strengthens memory and stimulates nerve growth.

B VITAMINS – Folate, Vitamin B6 and B12 are important in methylation processes. Deficiencies in one of these vitamins can raise homocysteine levels which is linked to increased Alzheimer’s risk. Vitamin B1 protects against mitochondrial dysfunction that causes dementia. B12 improves frontal lobe functions such as language, especially in the elderly.

CARNITINE – The amino acid carnitine has potent antioxidant properties. Its role in the transport of fatty acids to the mitochondria explains its beneficial effects on fatigue, which include both physical and mental fatigue. Several trials have demonstrated a consistent improvement in memory, focus and cognition with carnitine supplementation.

CHOLINE – Another member of the B-complex, choline is the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is intimately involved in memory. Choline deficiency can induce mitochondrial dysfunction in the brain that clinically presents as cognitive impairment.

CHROMIUM – In a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, chromium supplementation for twelve weeks enhanced cerebral function in older adults, possibly as a downstream effect of improved glucose disposal in patients with insulin resistance.

COPPER – Intracellular copper deficiency increases the formation of amyloid deposits in the brain. Specifically, copper accumulates in amyloid plaques while remaining deficient in neighboring brain cells indicating that copper deficiency is a plausible cause of Alzheimer’s.

GLUTATHIONE – This antioxidant is used up faster in brain tissue in the presence of choline deficiency.

GLUTAMINE and ASPARAGINE – Both act as neurotransmitters in the brain.

INOSITOL – A member of the B-complex of vitamins, inositol regulates cell membrane transport, thus explaining its key interaction with several hormone and regulatory functions. Research suggests it can protect against the formation of abnormally folded toxic proteins seen in Alzhiemer’s patients. Inositol treatment also has beneficial effects on depression and anxiety.

OLEIC ACID – This fatty acid found primarily in olive oil and is the precursor to oleamide, which interacts with several neurotransmitters and has demonstrated anti-depressant like properties. Oleic acid also facilitates absorption of vitamin A into cells.

SERINE – This amino acid is the major component of phosphatidylserine, an integral part of cell membranes in the brain. Phosphatidylserine increases the release of several neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine and epinephrine, thus improving the rate at which mental processes occur, without the hyperactivity or compulsive behavior that often occurs with drugs that stimulate a single neurotransmitter.

VITAMIN A – In the Physician’s Health Study II, vitamin A supplementation (50mg) improved cognition and verbal memory in men. Short term (1 year) effects of cognitive function were not seen, but significant benefit occurred in those on long-term treatment (18 years.)

VITAMIN C – Next to adrenal glands, nerve endings contain the highest levels of vitamin C in the body. High intakes of vitamin C are associated with lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

VITAMIN E – In addition to antioxidative properties, vitamin E reduces death to cells in the hippocampus and protects brain from glutamate toxicity. High dietary intake of vitamin E may lower Alzheimer’s risk.

ZINC – Low functional status of zinc is linked to negative alterations of the immune-inflammatory system, which can cause depression, impair learning and memory and a reduce neurogenesis. Zinc also regulates synaptic plasticity.

Additional nutrients tested by SpectraCell’s Micronutrient Test – BIOTIN, CALCIUM, COENZYME Q10, CYSTEINE, MAGNESIUM, SELENIUM, VITAMINS B2, B3, B5, D, K and SPECTROX™ (a measure of total antioxidant function)

 

 

Topics: serine, micronutrient testing, Oleic Acid, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Asparagine, zinc, Carnitine, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, B Vitamins, Copper, inositol, Glutamine, Glutathione, Chromium

Turn on Your Metabolism with Micronutrient Testing

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Jun 01, 2011 @ 09:32 AM

Guest Blog by Arland Hill, DC, MPH, DACBN

Did you know that nutrient testing can help you zero in on some of the possible reasons that your metabolism may not be functioning optimally?  Nutrient deficiencies act as blockades to normal metabolic function.  The systems and pathways dependent on those nutrients which are found to be deficient are not able to function at an ideal rate.  As such the potential for symptoms such as increased weight gain, difficulty gaining muscle and fatigue, just to name a few may develop.

Some of the more common ways in which metabolism can be affected include the inability to properly process our macronutrients, or proteins, fats and carbohydrates, through the energy production pathways, and inability to manage glucose.

Energy is not just a subjective feeling about the way you feel when you wake up in the morning or throughout the day. Energy molecules, specifically known as ATP, are used by all cells of the body to carry out their needs.  This includes the cells of the immune system having the ability to immune challenges and the cells of the liver breaking down toxins to highlight a few.  The energy production cycles depend on multiple nutrients, but most noted are the B vitamins, specifically the lower B vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B5.  For fats, carbohydrates, or proteins to go from the food that we eat to the ability to do work, they must be ultimately broken down and guided through pathways that rely on the aforementioned nutrients.  However, these are not the only nutrients that take part in the energy production process.  Lipoic acid, magnesium and coenzyme Q10 are also needed.

Another potential area that may affect metabolic function includes the inability to regulate glucose.  This can be misleading at times as glucose is typically the marker that is focused upon.  The body tries to regulate glucose tightly, often at the expense of other markers increasing such as insulin and triglycerides.  However, nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin D, zinc, chromium and SpectraCell’s novel glucose-insulin interaction marker may be early indicators of the need to take action prior to waiting for glucose levels to go awry.

While nutrient deficiencies may not be the only cause for dysfunction of the above mentioned areas, it often plays a role that should at least be investigated.

Dr. Arland HillArland Hill, DC, MPH, DACBN - Complete Care Chiropractic and Wellness

For more information about Dr. Hill, please visit his website or his blog. Or, contact him at 281-557-7200.



Topics: SpectraCell, Coenzyme Q10, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, zinc, Vitamin D, Magnesium, B Vitamins, Fatigue, nutrition testing, Glucose Intolerance, deficiency, Chromium, Weight Gain, Energy, Metabolism

'Nutrient Deficiencies Say More than Just the Absence of a Nutrient' by Dr. Arland Hill

Posted by Tara Stepan on Thu, May 12, 2011 @ 10:35 AM

 

Dr. Arland HillMicronutrient testing can be a real asset to the practicing clinician trying to help restore basic metabolic needs of their patients.  After all, nutrients power the various metabolic processes.  Without their availability, metabolic function is slowed or in some cases even brought to a stand still depending on the level of the nutrient deficiency.  Research has shown that over time, lack of nutrients can be lead to dysfunction and ultimately disease states.  Sometimes just restoring a single nutrient deficiency can have profound impact on the health of the patient and really help turn a corner, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

The true utility of SpectraCell’s micronutrient testing lies not in the analysis of individual nutrient deficiencies, but rather in the concept of observing patterns of nutrient deficiencies.  This is not to say that looking at individual nutrient deficiencies is not valid, but rather is an emphasis on the idea that with pattern identification, one can better have an idea of where to focus attention.

To better understand this concept, it is ideal to take a clinical scenario that may present.  Let us look at dysglycemia, or blood glucose dysregulation.  Those dealing with this condition are a fast growing segment of the population.  Yet these individuals don’t just manifest dyslglycemia overnight.  Rather they transition through a continuum that often begins with symptomatic reactive hypoglycemia, leading on to insulin resistance and ultimately diabetes if left untreated.  What if you had a method to tell your patients that they were in this pattern and that by addressing some of their nutrient deficiencies, you could help delay or even prevent the onset of dysglycemia.  A micronutrient test showing a nutrient pattern of nutrient deficiencies including B3, zinc, chromium, alpha lipoic acid and of course glucose-insulin interaction would suggest this very thing.

This is just one example, but it illustrates the breadth of information contained in the reports of the micronutrient test.  The reports provided by SpectraCell are not just a window into the intracellular health of the patient, but a tool with predictive abilities when appropriately assessed.  Noting the patterns within the test moves beyond the notion of just nutrient restoration, but allows one to see systems that must be supported to regain complete health and wellness.

Arland Hill, DC, MPH, DACBN                                                                 Complete Care Chiropractic and Wellness

 

Topics: SpectraCell, micronutrient testing, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, zinc, B Vitamins, wellness, Nutrition, diabetes, Glucose Intolerance, health, Chromium, metabolic processes, Dysglycemia, Blood Glucose Dysregulation