SpectraCell Blog

Nutrition Speaks: The Role of Micronutrient Deficiencies in Autism

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 @ 12:06 PM

autism.jpgWhen people think of autism and nutrition, the first thing that comes to mind is often food sensitivities, especially given the widespread attention to the impact of certain additives and common triggers (such as wheat or dairy) on that condition. But it is worth considering that micronutrient levels can have a profound impact on autistic symptoms. The list below includes specific micronutrients suggested to have a role in the development and treatment of autism:

Vitamin D: High-dose vitamin D therapy reversed autistic behaviors in severely deficient children; maternal vitamin D deficiency may predispose children to autism.

Vitamin A: One cause of autism may be a defect in a retinoid receptor protein (G-alpha protein) that is critical for language processing, attention, and sensory perception. Evidence suggests that natural vitamin A fixes this protein defect in autistics.

Folate: Oral folate therapy can resolve symptoms of autism in some cases, particularly in autistics with genes that impair folate-dependent enzymes.

Glutamine: Blood levels of this amino acid - which acts as a neurotransmitter - are particularly low in autistics. Glutamine also helps prevent leaky gut syndrome, which can exacerbate autistic symptoms.

Vitamin C: Improves symptom severity and sensory motor scores in autistic patients possibly due to interaction with dopamine synthesis; it also has a strong sparing effect on glutathione.

Glutathione & Cysteine: Both are commonly deficient in autistic patients. Low antioxidant status impairs detoxification and methylation processes, and has been linked to neurological symptoms in autism, which is often considered an oxidative stress disorder.

Vitamin B1: Deficiency linked to delayed language development; supplementation may benefit autistic patients.

Vitamin B12: Low B12 impairs methylation (detoxification), which can cause the neurological damage responsible for many autistic symptoms. B12 deficiency can cause optic neuropathy and vision loss in autistics; B12 raises cysteine and glutathione levels.

Vitamin B6: Cofactor for the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine; conversion of B6 to its active form is compromised in many autistics. Supplementation trials with B6 resulted in better eye contact, improved speech, and fewer self-stimulatory behavior in autistics. Some consider B6 in combination with magnesium to be a breakthrough treatment for autism.

Magnesium: Cofactor for the neurotransmitters that affect social reactions and emotion; autistics have low levels. Magnesium improves the effectiveness of B6 therapy.

Zinc: Eliminates mercury from brain tissue. The zinc/ copper ratio is particularly low in autistic kids, and low zinc impairs metallothionein, a protein that removes heavy metals from the body.

Carnitine: Transports fatty acids into cells. Low carnitine status, a common feature of autism, impairs the ability to use fatty acids for learning and social development.

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

To evaluate your micronutrient status, order your micronutrient test today!

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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

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

Folate, how vital is it to YOU?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Jan 15, 2014 @ 09:32 AM

Folate also known as folic acid is needed to folate produce blood cells and other new tissue cells. 

Folate is a generic term for a group of pteridine compounds essential for one-carbon unit metabolism.  Folates are involved in the synthesis of DNA, RNA and tRNA necessary for cell growth.  Folates are required for metabolism of methionine, histidine, tryptophan, glycine, serine and formate.  Interactions with vitamin B6 and B12 also occur from common metabolic pathways.  Folate function is necessary to prevent accumulation of homocysteine.  Deficient folate status of pregnant females is also directly linked to incidence of birth defects, especially neural tube defects such as spina bifida. 

Deficiency symptoms:

Symptoms of folate deficiency include birth defects (neural tube defects, spina bifida), fatigue, anorexia, constipation, glossitis, headaches, insomnia, restless legs, paranoia, memory impairment, megaloblastic anemia (identical in appearance to vitamin B12 deficiency), hypersegmentation of neutrophils and with severe deficiency, intestinal lesions.  However, the neurological complications of vitamin B12 deficiency do not occur with folate deficiency. Thus, a regulatory limit on folate levels in dietary supplements of 400 mcg per unit is in effect, to prevent a potential missed diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency.

Those at risk for folate deficiency include: Vitamin B12 deficiency, malnourished, malabsorption, pregnant and lactating women, increased rate of cellular division (burns, trauma, malignancies, hemolytic anemias), alcoholics, anti-convulsant therapy (phenytoin, barbiturates, primidone), folate antagonist therapy (nethotrezate, 5-fluoroacul, pyrimethamine), tuberculosis therapy (isoniazid plus cycloserine), oral contraceptive users, sulfasalzine therapy, elderly, infants and inherited folate disorders.

Repletion Information:

Dietary sources richest in folate (per serving) include:

  • Nutritional Supplements
  • vitamin-fortified cereals
  • wheat germ
  • nuts
  • legumes
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Seeds
  • Liver

Download the nutrient correlation chart on Autism, and anxiety, as well as a case study highlighting 50 year old female with chronic fatigue all include a deficiency in folate.

To find out your micronutrients levels, click here!

Topics: SpectraCell, micronutrient testing, folate, Folic Acid, Vitamins, micronutrient

Fertility Awareness Week - SpectraCell Female Fertility Chart

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 @ 01:52 PM

Folate - Protects genes during rapid cell division which increases likelihood of a healthy 389 Female  Fertility Wheel 2.13 Page 1embryo (via methylation of DNA); Deficiency raises homocysteine which damages reproductive cells.

Vitamin B6  & B12 - Both are needed to convert toxic homocysteine to a benign form; Low homocysteine levels linked to a better chance of pregnancy.

Vitamin C - Increases serum progesterone levels; Induces ovulation in some women; Enhances effect of the fertility drug clomiphene.

Vitamin D - Higher levels linked to better success rates of IVF (in vitro fertilization); Influences production of the sex hormones estradiol and progesterone.

Vitamin E - Protects reproductive cells (follicles); May improve endometrial response (ability of fertilized egg to implant into uterine wall properly) during IVF.

Selenium - Deficiency implicated in miscarriage and infertility; In one trial, 100% of infertile women achieved pregnancy after supplemenation.

Glutathione - Protects eggs (fertilized or not) from damage by reactive oxygen species; Protective action of follicle stimulating hormone on embryonic development is due largely to glutathione synthesis.

Cysteine - N-acetyl cysteine can improve ovulation and pregnancy rates in women with infertility due to PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) that do not respond to fertility drugs; Improves viability of endometrial cells in vitro; Precurso to glutathione.

Antioxidant Status - Reproductive cells, including embryos, are very susceptible to damage from oxidative stress due to the rapid rate of growth; Low antioxidant status can cause infertility or miscarriage.

Minerals - Several enzymes needed to protect a woman's reproductive organs (such as superoxide dismutase) are dependent on the trace elements, zinc, copper and magnesium.

Click here to download your own copy of the Female Fertility Wheel

 

Topics: micronutrient testing, Cysteine, folate, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, Vitamin B6, B Vitamins, Antioxidants, Vitamin B12, Fertility, deficiencies, deficiency, Minerals

Nutrient Correlation Chart on Testosterone

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Apr 04, 2013 @ 02:39 PM

Folate Deficiency reduces circulating testosterone; Evidence suggests testosterone may Nutrient Correlation chart on Testosteroneregulate folate metabolism.1,2,3

Vitamin B6 Regulates sex hormones; Vitamin B6 reduces prolactin which stimulates hypothalamus to increase testosterone; B6 also a cofactor for dopamine synthesis which influences testosterone levels.4,5,6,7

Vitamin D Actually a hormone, vitamin D regulates the synthesis of testosterone; Supplementation can significantly increase total, free and bioactive testosterone levels. 8,9,10,11,12

Vitamin K Deficiency reduces testosterone production because the rate-limiting enzyme for testosterone synthesis (Cyp11a) is vitamin K dependent. 13,14,15

Vitamin E Long term administration of some forms of vitamin E may reduce testosterone levels.16,17

Vitamin C Studies suggest it protects prostate from testosterone induced tumors.18,19,20

Carnitine Boosts dopamine, which is directly related to testosterone levels; May prevent testosterone decline after intense physical stress.21,22,23,24

Magnesium Makes testosterone more biologically active in the body; Raises free and total testosterone levels in men.25,26,27

Zinc Deficiency lowers testosterone levels; Inhibits prolactin secretion (testosterone
inhibiting hormone); Supplementation increases testosterone depending on baseline levels.28,29,30,31

Click here to download your copy of the Nutrient Correlation chart on Testosterone

 

Topics: SpectraCell, zinc, folate, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, Vitamins, Nutrient, Hormones, Testosterone

Nutrient Correlation Wheel on Estrogen

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Mar 27, 2013 @ 10:52 AM

Estrogen wheel

Choline - Estrogen stimulates the breakdown of phosphatidylcholine (cell membrane) so those with low estrogen (postmenopausal women) require more choline; Detoxifies excess estrogen via methylation pathway.1,32,33

Folate -  Deficiency reduces estrogen levels; Excess folate is linked to some types of estrogen-related breast cancer; Detoxifies excess estrogen via methylation pathway; Regulates estrogen’s effect on genes.1,2,3

Vitamin B6 - Protects genes from estrogen-induced damage thus lowering risk of hormone related cancers; Detoxifies excess estrogen via methylation pathway; Estrogen-based oral contraceptives cause B6 deficiency.4,5,6,7

Vitamin D - Regulates synthesis of estradiol and estrone; Enhances estrogen’s protective effect on bones.8,9,10

Vitamin C - Increases the most potent estrogen (estradiol) in women on hormone therapy; Lowers aromatase (enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen) in ovaries.11.12.13

Vitamin K - Inhibits estrogen activity by binding to estrogen receptors; Lowers the ratio of estradiol (strong estrogen) to estrone (weaker estrogen).14,15

Vitamin E - Deficiency impairs estrogen detoxification pathway; Some forms of vitamin E inhibit estrogen action, especially in breast tissue; Low levels linked to higher estrogen.1,16,17

Vitamin A - Helps metabolize the biologically active estrogen (estradiol) to an inactive form (estrone).18,19

Calcium -  Calcium-D-glucarate lowers estradiol levels; Helps breakdown estrogen in the liver and convert it to a less toxic form.1,20,21

Selenium - Estrogen levels affect how selenium is distributed to various tissues in the body.22,23

Magnesium - Cofactor for the enzyme that removes toxic forms of estrogen (catechol-O-methyltransferase); Estrogen alters magnesium levels throughout menstrual cycle.1,24,25,26

Zinc - Estrogen lowers risk of zinc deficiency; Zinc dependent proteins metabolize estrogen.26,27,28

Cysteine -  Prevents oxidation of estrogen into a dangerous form that causes breast cancer.29,30,31

 Click here to download your own Nutrient Correlation Wheel on Estrogen
 

Topics: SpectraCell, Cysteine, zinc, folate, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Selenium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, Calcium, Hormones, Estrogen

Theories, Research and Treatment with Vitamins and Antioxidants

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Mar 07, 2013 @ 09:31 AM

New theory on how vitamins work gains attention

A group of researchers in Europe proposed a new theory on how vitamins work in the body,vitamins displacing the former accepted view that vitamin molecules work directly on cells in the body. Their research, which used radiation and electron pulse technology, led them to conclude that antioxidant vitamins emit dissolved electrons that quench free radicals. They concluded that the well-known vitamin effects are attributed to “vitamin free radicals rather than the vitamin molecules per se, as generally accepted.”(Nutrition, January 2013)

Link to Abstract Vitamin-induced intracellular electrons are the mechanism for their well-known beneficial effects: A review.

Treatment resistant depression responds to folate therapy

Two randomized, double-blind trials were conducted in which depression, treatmentdepression patients who had a partial or no response to a SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) were given l-methylfolate for 60 days. In the first trial, the dosage of folate was 7.5mg/day for 30 days, then 15mg/day for 30 days. In the second trial, the dosage of folate was 15mg/day for 60 days. Patients in the second trial showed significantly greater efficacy of SSRI drugs (lower depression scores and significantly decreased symptom severity) compared to the first trial (where the dosage of folate was lower) and compared to placebo. (American Journal of Psychiatry, December 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT  (L)-methylfolate as adjunctive therapy for SSRI-resistant major depression: results of two randomized, double-blind, parallel-sequential trial.
LINK to FLYER on NUTRIENT INTERACTIONS IN DEPRESSION

Antioxidant therapy benefits both anxiety and depression

Blood levels of the antioxidant (specifically, vitamins A, C and E) were measured in eighty patients ofantioxidant a psychiatric hospital that were diagnosed with stress-induced generalized anxiety disorder and depression. Supplements of each vitamin were given for six weeks and blood levels of each vitamin were measured again. After six weeks, blood levels of vitamin A and C had increased and there was a “significant reduction in anxiety and depression scores of patients.”(Indian Journal of Psychiatry, July2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Role of antioxidants in generalised anxiety disorder and depression. 
LINK to FREE FULL TEXT
LINK to FLYER on NUTRIENT INTERACTIONS IN ANXIETY
LINK to FLYER on NUTRIENT INTERACTIONS IN DEPRESSION

Is B12 the magic bullet for hepatitis?

This paper concludes that B12 is particularly beneficial for hepatitis C viral therapy. Specifically, adding Vitamin B12vitamin B12 (5mg given intramuscularly every 4 weeks) to the conventional therapy of pegylated interferon plus ribavirin improved treatment response after 3 months. This confirms earlier research that shows vitamin B12 ca inhibit the hepatitis C virus in vitro.(Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy, November 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Vitamins? The magic bullet against hepatitis C.
LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

Vitamin D amplifies progesterone's neuroprotective effect after traumatic brain injury

Both progesterone and vitamin D have demonstrated neuroprotective effects on the brain after abrain injury traumatic injury in past studies, so a group of researchers sought to evaluate the effect of combining them. This randomized clinical trial compared progesterone treatment alone and combined with vitamin D to a placebo group and found that the “recovery rate of patients with severe brain trauma in the group receiving progesterone and vitamin D together was significantly higher than that of progesterone [only] group, which was in turn higher than that of placebo group.”(Advanced Biomedical Research, 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Comparison of the administration of progesterone versus progesterone and vitamin D in improvement of outcomes in patients with traumatic brain injury: A randomized clinical trial with placebo group.

Vitamin C help patients recover from hearing loss

72 patients with sudden hearing loss of unknown cause participated in this study. 36 patients served hearing lossas a control group that received steroid treatment for 15 days and 36 patients received the same steroid treatment plus high dose vitamin C intravenously daily for 10 days. Auditory evaluations were administered and the recovery rate of the group receiving vitamin C was more than twice that of the control group. (European Archives of Oto-rhino-laryngology, December 2012) 

LINK to ABSTRACT Effect of high dose intravenous vitamin C on idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss: a prospective single-blind randomized controlled trial.

Mechanism behind serine's role for proper brain function is uncovered

Serine is a crucial amino acid needed to form proper synapses in the brain. It acts as abrain neurotransmitter and regulates NMDA(N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors in the brain, which regulate mood and sleep, explaining its role in psychiatric and neurological disease. A recent study showed that serine supplementation could reverse oxidative stress-induced deficits in cognitive function.(Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metbolic Care, January 2013), (Aging Cell, April 2012), (Journal of Biological Chemistry, June 2012), (Biochemical Journal, 2003)

LINK to ABSTRACT D-Serine: physiology and pathology.
LINK to ABSTRACT Reversal of age-related oxidative stress prevents hippocampal synaptic plasticity deficits by protecting D-serine-dependent NMDA receptor activation.
LINK to ABSTRACT Resurgence of serine: an often neglected but indispensable amino acid.
LINK to ABSTRACT L-serine in disease and development. 
LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

For more educational resources visit our Clinical Education Center  

 

Topics: SpectraCell, Antidepressants, Autoimmunity, autoimmune diseases, folate, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Folic Acid, Antioxidants, Vitamin B12, immune system, Vitamins, Fertility, Case Study, Hearing, Depression, Brain, Hepatitis, anxiety

Nutrition Correlation Chart on ADHD

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 @ 04:54 PM

 

Antioxidant StatusADHD Disease wheel resized 600
Oxidative imbalance is prevalent in ADHD patients and likely plays a causative role; Deficiency of glutathione common in ADHD.3,4,5,6

Folate
Low folate status in pregnancy linked to hyperactivity in children; People with the MTHFR (methyl tetrahydrafolate reductase) gene are predisposed to folate deficiency and more likely to have ADHD.1,2

Vitamin B6
Evidence suggests high dose supplementation of B6 is as effective as Ritalin for ADHD, probably due to its role in raising serotonin levels.7,8,9

Magnesium
Deficiency linked to poor function of the neurotransmitters that control emotion, social reactions, hyperactivity and attention; Synergistic effect with vitamin B6.8,9,10

Zinc
Cofactor for dopamine synthesis which affects mood and concentration in ADHD; Low zinc depresses both melatonin and serotonin production which affect information processing and behavior in ADHD.11,12,13,14

Carnitine
Reduces hyperactivity and improves social behavior in people with ADHD due to its role in fatty acid metabolism; Some consider it a safe alternative to stimulant drugs.15,16,17

Serine
Administration of phosphatidylserine with omega 3 fatty acids improved ADHD symptoms (attention scores) significantly better than omega 3 fatty acids alone, suggesting a synergistic effect; Phosphatidylserine increases dopamine levels.18,19,20

Glutamine
Precursor for the calming neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) that affects mood, focus and hyperactivity; Disruption of the glutamine-containing neurotransmission systems may cause ADHD.21,22,23

Choline
Precursor to neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which regulates memory, focus and muscle control (hyperactivity).24,25,26

Antioxidant Status
Oxidative imbalance is prevalent in ADHD patients and likely plays a causative role; Deficiency of glutathione common in ADHD.3,4,5,6

To download a copy of the ADHD Nutrition Correlation Chart, click here.

Topics: SpectraCell, serine, micronutrients, zinc, folate, Carnitine, Magnesium, Choline, Vitamin B6, Antioxidants, nutrition testing, Nutrition, Glutamine, micronutrient test, ADHD, Children

SpectraCell's Nutritional Correlation Chart on Autism

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Feb 06, 2013 @ 01:54 PM

Autism Nutritional WheelVitamin D - High dose vitamin D therapy reversed autistic behaviors in severely deficient children; Maternal vitamin D deficiency may predispose children to autism.3,4,5

Vitamin A - One cause of autism may be a defect in a retinoid receptor protein (G-alpha protein) which is critical for language processing, attention and sensory perception; Evidence suggests natural vitamin A fixes this protein defect in autistics.1,2

Folate - Oral folate therapy can resolve symptoms of autism in some cases, particularly in autistics with genes that impair folate dependent enzymes.31,32,33

Glutamine - Blood levels of this amino acid which acts as a neurotransmitter are particularly low in autistics. Glutamine also helps prevent leaky gut syndrome, which can exacerbate autistic symptoms.28,29,30

Vitamin C - Improved symptom severity and sensory motor scores in autistic patients possibly due to interaction with dopamine synthesis; Vitamin C also has a strong sparing effect on glutathione.26,27

Glutathione & Cysteine -  Commonly deficient in autistic patients, lack of these antioxidants impair detoxification and methylation processes; Low levels linked to neurological symptoms in autism which is often considered an oxidative stress disorder.21,22,23,24,25

Vitamin B1 - Deficiency linked to delayed language development; Supplementation may benefit autistic patients.19,20

Vitamin B12 - Low B12 impairs methylation (detoxification) which causes the neurological damage responsible for many autistic symptoms; Deficiency of B12 can cause optic neuropathy and vision loss in autistics; B12 raises cysteine and glutathione levels.16,17,18

Vitamin B6 - Cofactor the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine; Conversion of B6 to its active form is compromised in many autistics; Supplementation trials with B6 resulted in better eye contact, speech and fewer self-stimulatory behavior in autistics; Some consider B6 in combination with magnesium to be a breakthrough treatment for autism.14,15

Magnesium - Cofactor for the neurotransmitters that affect social reactions and emotion; Autistics have low levels; Improves effectiveness of B6 therapy.11,12,13

Zinc - Eliminates toxic mercury from brain tissue; Zinc/ copper ratio is particularly low in autistic kids; Low zinc impairs  the protein (called metallothionein) that removes heavy metals from the body.8,9,10

Carnitine - Transports fatty acids into cells; Low carnitine (common in autism) impairs the ability to use fatty acids for learning and social development.6,7

 For a copy of Spectracell's Nutrition Correlation chart on Autism click here

Topics: micronutrients, micronutrient testing, Cysteine, Antidepressants, zinc, folate, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, B Vitamins, Antioxidants, diagnostic tools, supplements, autism, Vitamins, DNA, deficiencies, health, deficiency, Depression, Glutamine, Neurology, Glutathione, Diet, Minerals, Digestion, Brain, Nervous System, Neurotransmitters, Aggression, Stress, Vitamin B1, degenerative illness, micronutrient test

NEW! SpectraCell's Asthma Quick Reference Chart

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 @ 10:12 AM

Asthma WheelDuring last week's webinar, "Nutritional Considerations of Allergies & Asthma", we created and offered a copy of our new "Asthma Quick Reference Nutrient Chart".  This visual tool is an excellent resource to emphasize to your patients the many inter-related roles that nutrition plays in disease prevention and management.

View and/or download our flyer on Asthma HERE.

You can also view the rest of our library of quick reference nutrient charts HERE. Each chart is available as an individual handout and includes references posted on the reverse side. Our clients can order supplies by calling us at 800-227-5227 or visiting our Physician Access Center.


Topics: Coenzyme Q10, zinc, folate, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Selenium, Vitamin B6