SpectraCell Blog

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cells2-2The one-size-fits-all approach to health is outdated.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!

GET TESTED

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

Your Medication’s Side Effects Might Be a Drug-Induced Nutrient Deficiency

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Apr 24, 2018 @ 03:34 PM

rx drugs

Pharmaceutical medications help millions of Americans cope with clinical symptoms every day, but most are not without side effects.  In fact, the side effects of a medication are often worse than the original condition according to many patients.  One reason for this is that prescription drugs very often cause nutrient depletions, which manifest clinically in very significant ways.  A classic example is coenzyme Q10 deficiency caused by statin medications.  Statins block an enzyme that affects cholesterol production, but the same enzyme is needed to manufacture the important antioxidant coenzyme Q10, which is a key nutrient needed for cellular energy metabolism proper heart function.   So if you block this enzyme (called HMG-CoA reductase for hydroxyl-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A, which is why statins are known generically as HMG-CoA reductase inhbitors), you may lower cholesterol, but as a consequence you may cause a coenzyme Q10 deficiency, which can manifest as low energy and muscle pain. 

Why is this so common?  The reason is simple – the pharmaceutical approach is fundamentally different from the nutrient repletion approach in that medications alter or interrupt metabolic pathways to achieve a clinical result while nutrient repletion supports or helps maintain the optimal function of a metabolic pathway to achieve balance.  In general, medications are palliative in that they focus often on the relief of symptoms.  Conversely, nutrient repletion is curative and the goal is optimal cellular function of which a side effect is relief of symptoms. 

This is not to say that medications have no place in health, but they do have a role in nutrient depletion which can cause the unpleasant and dangerous side effects.  Especially in the age of polypharmacy – when people take more than one medication simultaneously (including over the counter meds) – nutrient depletions caused by drugs deserve a closer look.  Here are some examples of how medications can deplete micronutrients:

  • Meds can interrupt endogenous production of a nutrient (statins and CoQ10)
  • Meds impairs absorption in the gastrointestinal tract (antacids and B12)
  • Meds can create reactive oxygen species and thus “use up” antioxidants (NSAID and cysteine)
  • Meds can increase urinary excretion of nutrients (diuretics and minerals)
  • Meds can alter the gut microbiome (antibiotics and vitamin K)
  • Meds can impairs mitochondrial function and cellular respiration

Adding to the problem is that fact research on drug-induced nutrient depletions is comparatively sparse compared to the giant funding allotted to pharmaceutical development and testing. In addition, there is a lag time between the market introduction of a blockbuster drug and potential nutrient depletion-induced side effect data.  An example of this is research in the past decade that implicates antacids (proton-pump inhibitors) as a causative factor in cardiac events due to their tendency to deplete magnesium.  The strong link between PPI use and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) may be caused by magnesium depletion, which may also explain an increased risk in bone fractures for people on long-term PPI use according to the FDA.  Although research on PPI-induced magnesium deficiency emerged in the last few years,  PPIs have been widely used in the market since 1990.  In some cases, the research on drug-induced nutrient depletions may not emerge for many years after a drug is widely accepted into the market.

If you are taking a medication, have your micronutrient levels tested today.

GET TESTED

For more information on drug-induced nutrient depletions associated with statins and antacids, download our nutrient wheels! 

Statins Nutrient Wheel
Antacids Nutrient Wheel

Topics: Drug-induced Nutrient Depletion, statin, Antacids, micronutrient deficiencies, Advanced Nutritional Testing, Intracellular Analysis, Functional Micronutrient Testing, Functional Medicine, Effects of Statins on CoQ10