SpectraCell Blog

Micronutrients Can Help!

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, May 22, 2013 @ 02:19 PM

Topics discussed in this issue...                                            

  • Research suggests nutrient depletions from commonly prescribed drugs are actually the cause of many side effects
  • Study sheds light on how oleic acid improves immunity
  • Serine for arthritis?
  • CoQ10 shows potential as an anti-depressant
  • When it comes to colorectal cancer risk, cysteine = good, homocysteine = bad

Research suggests nutrient depletions fromprescribed drugs commonly prescribed drugs are actually the cause of many side effects - A recently published review details the enzymatic pathways that various drugs interrupt and how certain drugs deplete very specific nutrients. Nutrient depletions are implicated as a cause of common side effects and even non-compliance. 

 

oleic acidStudy sheds light on how oleic acid improves immunity - By affecting compounds released during an immune response, oleic acid quells inflammation and improves overall immunity. Specifically, oleic acid, abundant in olive oil, inhibits the production of several pro-inflammatory substances, such as Interleukin 2 (IL-2), natural killer cells (NK), interferon-gamma (INF-γ) and vascular cell adhesion molecules (VCAM). Oleic acid also reduces the amount of arachidonic acid (AA) present in cells, which in turn minimizes pro-inflammatory cytokine production.


arthritisSerine for arthritis? - Human cells from rheumatoid arthritis patients were exposed to phosphatidylserine and then evaluated for levels of inflammation.  The phosphatidylserine significantly lowered inflammation levels in vitro.  The same researchers tested phosphatidylserine’s effect on arthritic pain in an animal model and found that phosphatidylserine, which has well-established roles in neurotransmitter function, also decreased arthritic and pain symptoms.

 

CoQ10

CoQ10 shows potential as an anti-depressant - Four different doses of CoQ10 were administered for three weeks in an animal study on depression caused by chronic stress.  Depressive behaviors evaluated as were physiological markers of oxidative stress in the brain. Depressive symptoms were decreased and there was a dose-dependent reduction in damaging chemicals in the brain that are linked with depression. The authors concluded “CoQ10 may have a potential therapeutic value for the management of depressive disorders.”


cysteineWhen it comes to colorectal cancer risk, cysteine = good, homocysteine = bad. - In this clinical trial, levels of the toxic amino acid homocysteine and levels of the beneficial antioxidant cysteine were measured in over 900 women with colorectal cancer and compared to a similar group of over 900 women without cancer.   Those with the highest homocysteine (over 9.85 μmol/L) were 1.5 times more likely to have colorectal cancer than those with the lowest levels (>6.74 μmol/L).  Conversely, women with the highest levels of cysteine in the blood had a much lower risk of colorectal cancer than those with the lowest levels of cysteine.

 
For the complete article with journal abstracts,
full text and flyers click here

Topics: SpectraCell, serine, micronutrients, micronutrient testing, Homocysteine, Coenzyme Q10, Oleic Acid, Arthritis, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Asparagine, Cysteine, Antidepressants, Cancer, Autoimmunity, cancer cells, autoimmune diseases

Nutritional Considerations of Diabetes

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Feb 06, 2012 @ 11:57 AM

DiabetesUNDERSTANDING DIABETES

According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. With this type of diabetes, cells do not receive enough insulin. As a result, cells starve for energy, and, over time, a glucose buildup in the blood stream causes negative effects on a person’s eyes, kidneys, nerves and/or heart.

Today’s fast-paced society has led to quicker, higher carbohydrate alternatives as food sources. As a result, there is a greater threat of developing diabetes due to cells becoming insulin-resistant.

Micronutrients such as niacin, magnesium, calcium, zinc, carnitine, inositol, alpha-lipoic acid, as well as vitamins E, B6 and D all play an important role in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Though diabetes is a serious disease - with the right treatment - living a longer, healthier life can be made easier.

THE ROLE OF MICRONUTRIENTS IN DIABETIC HEALTH

NIACIN
Niacin (nicotinamide) may help to preserve residual B-cell function in individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This B-vitamin is believed to be one of the components of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF).

MAGNESIUM
This mineral is involved in more than 300 enzymatic functions in the body. Magnesium deficiency has been associated with insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia and hypertension, which have all been associated with diabetes mellitus. Magnesium has been found to be one of the more common micronutrient deficiencies in diabetes.

VITAMIN E
Low levels of vitamin E are associated with increased incidences of diabetes. Research suggests that individuals with diabetes mellitus have decreased levels of antioxidants. Increased antioxidant requirements may be a result of increased free radical production during periods of hyperglycemia.

ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID (THIOCTIC ACID)
This antioxidant has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin E and vitamin C. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to enhance glucose uptake in skeletal muscle tissue, thus improving glucose regulation in diabetic mellitus individuals. In addition, this antioxidant can be beneficial in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy.

VITAMIN D
Obesity is often associated with vitamin D deficiency and also with type 2 diabetes. Research indicates that diabetic individuals (both type 1 and type 2) have a higher risk for bone fracture. This vitamin deficiency has clearly been associated with lower bone density. Subjects with hypovitaminosis D are at higher risk of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

CHROMIUM
This trace mineral is fundamental in proper insulin function and is believed to facilitate the attachment of insulin to the cell’s insulin receptors. A lack of chromium can lead to insulin resistance, which leads to elevated blood levels of insulin and glucose. Elevated levels of glucose in the blood can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular complications. Food processing
removes most of naturally occurring chromium. However, chromium can be supplemented or found in brewer’s yeast, nuts, meat, whole grains, green beans and broccoli.

HOMOCYSTEINE
Homocysteine elevation is a risk factor for overall mortality in type 2 diabetic individuals independent of other risk factors. Adequate levels of pyroxidine (vitamin B6), folate and vitamin B12 are required for normal homocysteine metabolism.

MicronutrientsINOSITOL
This nutrient is found in high concentrations in peripheral nerves. There is some evidence that inositol may be effective in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.

VITAMIN B6
Research shows that a deficiency of vitamin B6 may result in abnormal glucose tolerance, degeneration of the pancreatic beta cells, reduced insulin response to glucose and reduced serum and pancreatic insulin levels. In addition, vitamin B6 deficiency has been associated with polyneuropathies.

CALCIUM
Studies have shown that individuals with a low intake of calcium have an increased risk of non-insulin dependant diabetes mellitus. Numerous studies have also revealed that diabetes may be associated with abnormal regulation of intracellular calcium.

ZINC
This mineral has been associated with over 200 enzymatic functions in the body. Increased fasting blood glucose levels have been associated with low zinc. Zinc has been shown to be important in the synthesis, storage and secretion of insulin. Increased urinary zinc excretion has also been associated with diabetic individuals.

CARNITINE
This amino acid in the form of acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to benefit those individuals with diabetic polyneuropathy. One of the proposed mechanisms is that this amino acid may restore the depleted nerve myoinositol content and decrease free radical production.

Topics: Homocysteine, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, zinc, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, diabetes, Calcium, inositol, Chromium, Niacin

A New Twist on a Common Supplement: Using Omega 3’s to Lower Homocysteine

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 @ 09:54 AM

Omega 3's and HomocysteinGuest Blog by: Dr. Arland Hill (D.C.)

Homocysteine continues to gain acceptance as a risk factor in a number of conditions.  Once thought to be associated with mostly cardiovascular disease, homocysteine is now recognized as a contributor to numerous states of dysfunction, including arthritis, cognitive decline, osteoporosis and many more.  Given the vast reaching effects of homocysteine, having an ideal treatment protocol in place to address elevations seems necessary, if not even absolutely crucial.

Examination of the literature to lower homocysteine can be confusing at times, with some studies showing lack of efficacy of B vitamins.  However, these studies were not without criticism and ultimately a return to the basics of physiology has shown B vitamins to be an efficacious intervention.  When looking at the methionine cycle and delving deeper into the biochemistry of homocysteine, it becomes rather clear that without methyl donors, B Vitaminshomocysteine conversion to methionine gets stalled and homocysteine begins to build up.  As such, the methyl donors B12 and folate have become the primary interventions for homocysteine lowering therapy.

For some however, B12 and folate therapy are not enough.  Most of these individuals fall under the category of having a variant for the methyltetrahydrofolate reductase enzyme, commonly abbreviated MTHFR.  Variants in this enzyme impair the ability to reduce folate, thus making the conversion of homocysteine to methionine inefficient and promoting accumulation.  This is seemingly overcome fairly easily in elevated cases by the use of L 5-methyltetrahydrofolate.  Upon normalization of homocysteine in this manner, levels can generally be kept in an ideal range by the use of folate, a non-synthetic, as compared to folic acid.

As relatively straightforward as this all seems, the story does not end here.  A deeper look at the influences on our genes shows the complexity of modulating homocysteine.  There must exist a constant balance between homocysteine and methionine.  If the objective is to lower homocysteine, downregulating the enzymes that lead to its conversion and upregulating those that convert it to methionine would appear ideal.  To do this very thing, one should look no further than omega 3’s.  The polyunsaturated omega 3’s, known to most of us as fish oils, canOmega 3s directly affect the expression of the genes that control the enzymes linked to homocysteine metabolism.  Since the omega 3’s do not directly insert into the biochemical pathway of the methionine cycle, their actions clearly have to be based on another mechanism of action, one we now recognize as genetic.

Consider the therapeutic potential here for a number of patients.  Let’s take the aforementioned conditions for which homocysteine is known to affect.  Equally validated in the literature to support cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cognitive decline, and osteoporosis, omega 3’s will not only reduce inflammation but will also modify genetic expression of those enzymes metabolizing homocysteine.  This makes testing and adding omega 3’s to any clinical protocol at minimum a consideration given the considerable effects of homocysteine and the therapeutic potential of omega 3’s.

Please review the website below for more information: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22260268

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

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

Topics: Homocysteine, B Vitamins, supplements, Omega 3s, Dr. Arland Hill

Reducing Homocysteine Risk with Comprehensive Testing

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 @ 10:07 AM

Follow-up Guest Blog by Arland Hill, DC, MPH, DACBN

The metabolic marker homocysteine has gained attention as an area of treatment for various conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to general skin health.  Homocysteine as a marker for disease risk modification has been seen as a factor not ideally suited for pharmacological intervention, but more so for nutrient supplementation.  This makes sense as the methylation pathways, of which homocysteine is a marker for, are dependent on the nutrients folate, B12, B6 and SAMe.  Moreover, being able to realize the interplay between these nutrients is critical when it comes to repletion so as to make sure that nutrient deficiencies are not obscured or induced by therapeutic repletion dosages.  This states the necessity of having a valid nutrient testing method.

Micronutrient TestingSpectraCell’s micronutrient assessment allows for targeted intervention with regards to homocysteine, a marker identifiable on the Lipoprotein particle profile.  By being able to see the individual micronutrients, various pieces of the metabolic pathway picture can be put together.  This allows the clinician to know exactly which treatment options to reach for to have the greatest impact on homocysteine.  Of course, all of this is based on the notion that homocysteine is an inflammatory marker than responds mostly to nutrients.  While nutrients are indeed a very critical part of homocysteine lowering therapy, they are hardly the entire story.

More recent studies have shown that while homocysteine will respond to those nutrients that can act as methyl donors, it will also respond to more classical anti-inflammatories such as omega 3 fatty acids and plant based extracts.  This underscores the point that in some ways homocysteine acts similar to other inflammatory markers in responding to more classical non-pharmacologic anti-inflammatories.  But how do you know if either of these are an option for homocysteine lowering?  For this information, we transition back to those tests offered by SpectraCell.  The micronutrient test offers a novel marker known Spectroxas Spectrox which allows for the assessment of total antioxidant function.  As plant based phytonutrients are known for their potent anti-inflammatory properties, a lower Spectrox marker, indicating lower antioxidant / anti-inflammatory capacity, would confirm that usng plant based antioxidants would be a viable treatment option.  One such example of this in when homocysteine is showing increased clotting potential.  Introduction of resveratrol would have multiple effects in this scenario including elevation of total antioxidant function and the Spectrox marker, lower clotting potential and reduction of homocysteine.  Similar effects can be seen with omega 3 fatty acids which collective studies have shown will lower homocysteine.  A useful tool to determine omega 3 status is the Omega 3 Index, a test which can guide treatment intervention.

Then there are the tough cases where homocysteine levels are excessively high compared to the normal ranges.  At this point, consideration should be given to the potential for genetic variants for folate metabolism, specifically with regards to MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase).  Those patients that are showing excessively high levels of homocysteine are likely to be carriers of the gene variants, thus warranting MTHFR genotyping.

The more we have come to know about homocysteine, the more we understand that looking at the past day status quo of treatment, while valid, is not comprehensive.  Moreover, it is insufficient to fully determine the appropriate intervention to recommend as homocysteine lowering therapy.

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.

Contact our bloggers at spec1@spectracell.com.

Topics: SpectraCell, micronutrients, micronutrient testing, Homocysteine, Antioxidants, lipoprotein particle profile, LPP, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, MTHFR Genotyping, Spectrox

Homocysteine is About More than Just Cardiovascular Risk

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Jun 14, 2011 @ 11:48 AM

Guest Blog by Arland Hill, DC, MPH, DACBN

 Homocysteine LevelsHomocysteine came to light in the research on the back of cardiovascular disease. Well respected clinician and researcher Kilmer McCully, MD noted the correlation between cardiovascular disease initiation and development and elevated homocysteine levels. Since this discovery, homocysteine research has uncovered additional areas whereby elevations in homocysteine may be a risk factor for damage.

Homocysteine, an amino acid with several health implications, is a measure of a process known as methylation. Methylation, which is the donation of a methyl or single carbon group, has multiple roles in the body. Some of these include hepatic detoxification, DNA and RNA replication and neurological function. The idea that homocysteine as a measure of cardiovascular is its most useful role short-changes the multitude of other areas where homocysteine has clinical significance.

NeurologyHomocysteine has received recent attention in the area of neurology. Various forms of dementia and neurodegeneration have been linked to homocysteine. Moreover, none of the elucidated pathways have to do with cardiovascular disease or inhibited blood supply to the brain. The two most classical neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease both have links to homocysteine. Alzheimer’s, which is characterized by amyloid and tau protein formation, results in degeneration of the hippocampal region of the brain, where short term memory is formulated and processed into long term memory. Though not completely related to homocysteine accumulation, it does appear that formation of these proteins is in part related to homocysteine. Likewise, elevations in homocysteine are also associated with Parkinson’s and degeneration of the dopamine producing areas and pathways. Worst yet though is that the common treatment for Parkinson’s, levadopa, increases homocysteine levels, making the need for homocysteine lowering therapy even more critical. It can be stated that excess levels of homocysteine increase the risk of whole brain atrophy. However, the impact of homocysteine hardly stops here.

Homocysteine is known to damage soft tissues, but what about the hard tissues of the body such as bone. Elevations alter the structural aspect of the bone making it less dense and ultimately weaker setting the stage for osteoporosis.

Blood CellsThe red and white blood cells are not protected from the effects of homocysteine either. Homocysteine has been shown to directly promote blood clotting through induction of thrombin, a promoter of platelet aggregation. Neutrophils, the first line defense against bacteria and foreign substances, when active present receptors that are sensitive to homocysteine. This promotes additional stimulation of other immune system cells resulting in a heightened response that can be overactive.

Homocysteine can also directly impact how you feel and look. Insulin resistance, a state commonly assessed by higher insulin levels, is tied to homocysteine. Homocysteine elevations impair the ability of the liver to store excess glucose, thus forcing it to stay in the blood stream. This ultimately makes the insulin resistance presentation worse, and since the cells do not get the energy they need, fatigue sets in. To add insult to injury, homocysteine damages both your external skin that the world sees, and also your internal organs. In a nutshell, this can be viewed as universal aging.

If you want to look your best, feel your best, and have an overall state of general wellness, homocysteine levels should be viewed routinely.

Dr. Arland Hill

Arland 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: Homocysteine, Cardiovascular Health, wellness, Neurology, Aging, Osteoporosis, Insulin Resistance, Methylation, Alzheimers, Amino Acid, Parkinsons disease

Vitamin B12: Function, Deficiency Symptoms and Repletion

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 @ 04:13 PM

Vitamin B12Function:

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is needed to form blood and immune cells, and support a healthy nervous system. A series of closely-related compounds known collectively as cobalamins or vitamin B12 are converted into active forms methylcobalamin or 5’-deoxyadenosylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin interacts with folate metabolism, preventing folate derivatives from being trapped in unusable states. Adenosylcobalamin is involved in the metabolism of odd-chain fatty acids and branchedchain amino acids.

Deficiency Symptoms:

Deficiency symptoms of vitamin B12 are both hematological (pernicious anemia) and neurological. A megaloblastic anemia may occur because the effects of the vitamin B12 deficiency on folate metabolism. Shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, irritability, sore tongue, decrease in blood cell counts (red, white and platelets) are all clinical signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Neurological symptoms are manifested as a progressive neuropathy, with loss of position sense and ataxia. If vitamin B12 repletion is not initiated, permanent neurological damage, including degeneration of nerves and spinal cord can result. Recent evidence suggests that mental symptoms of depression and fatigue are detectable before anemia develops. Vitamin B12 is necessary to prevent accumulation of homocysteine, a toxic metabolic byproduct linked to cardiovascular disease and connective tissue abnormalities. Hypochlorhydria and gastrointestinal disturbances are frequently associated with vitamin B12 deficiency.

Repletion Information:

Dietary sources for cobalamins are strictly from animal foodstuffs. Vitamin B12 is not found in plant foodstuffs. Dietary supplements can also contain vitamin B12 The 1989 RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.0 μg for adults. No toxic effects of oral vitamin B12 intake have been demonstrated, even in doses over 1000 μg daily. Since the absorption and intracellular activation of oral vitamin B12 are frequently difficult, consideration should be given to injectable forms of vitamin B12. Some patients may require more frequent or larger doses than usual before repletion occurs.


Topics: SpectraCell, micronutrient testing, Homocysteine, Fatigue, Vitamin B12, deficiency, Depression, Neurology, Cobalamin, Metabolism

Webinar: Nutritional Considerations of ADHD & Autism

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Dec 17, 2010 @ 10:16 AM

PreseMother and childnted by: Dr. Ron Grabowski

Learn how micronutrient testing and nutritional considerations can be implemented into your practice to improve patient care. This webinar focuses the nutritional considerations of ADHD & Autism.

Presentation Topics:

  • What laboratory tests should be ordered with an autistic individual?
  • How does homocysteine play a role in Autism?
  • How does zinc play a role with ADHD?
  • What levels of Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be effective with ADHD? 
  • Case Study Review

Watch the webinar on Nutritional Considerations of ADHD & Autism.

Topics: micronutrient testing, Homocysteine, zinc, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, autism, ADHD

Why is MTHFR Genotyping Important?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Nov 05, 2010 @ 01:46 PM

MTHFR is an enzyme responsible for converting 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to the product 5-methyltetrahydrofolate - it is involved in the metabolism of folate and homocysteine. The product of the reaction catalyzed by MTHFR converts homocysteine (a potentially toxic amino acid) to methionine (a useful and necessary amino acid).
 
MTHFR Genotyping is Important because:
  • Certain mutations in the gene coding for MTHFR produce an enzyme that has reduced activity.
  • Reduced activity can lead to elevated levels of homocysteine (a.k.a. hyperhomocysteinemia), especially when folate levels are low.
  • High homocysteine (>13umol/L) may double the risk of developing illness or complications.
  • MTHFR genotyping can provide information about potential causes of elevated homocysteine and approaches for addressing it.
  • Based on MTHFR and homocysteine results, physicians can develop dietary and medical recomendations - increased intake of folate alone or in combination with vitamins B6 and B12 are recommended.
    • Based on results, recommendations for methotrexate dosage can be adjusted.
Risks Associated with MTHFR Variants/High Homocysteine:
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cerebral Vascular Disease (Stroke)
  • Venous and Arterial Thrombosis
  • Methotrexate Toxicity for Cancer Therapy
Who Should be Tested?
  • Those with high homocysteine levels.
  • Those who have a familial history of cardiovascular disease, stroke or thrombosis.
  • Those who are candidates for long-term methotrexate therapy.
What Are the Variants resized 600

 

 

 

 

 

What Are the Possible Genotypes resized 600

Do you currently use MTHFR Genotyping in your practice? Which patients do you target for this assessment?

Topics: Homocysteine, MTHFR Genotyping, Genotyping