SpectraCell Blog

Nutrient Interactions: An Important Consideration of Intracellular Analysis

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Apr 05, 2017 @ 02:54 PM

Hear Dr. Grabowski’s take on the value of intracellular micronutrient testing, and how nutrient-nutrient interactions are a critical component in designing an effective therapeutic supplementation plan. 

 

 


 

Topics: micronutrients, Intracellular Analysis, Nutrient Interactions, Supplmentation

Feeling Fabulous or Fatigued?  (Hint – it’s all in your cells!)

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 @ 12:30 PM

healthy woman.jpgCellular health – whether referring to brain cells, bone cells, or fat cells – impacts the health of the entire body. Health issues may arise and manifest differently for each person depending on one’s unique biochemistry. Some common examples of these manifestations include excess weight, headaches, and dry skin, driven by poor cellular metabolism. Quite literally, health and wellness begin at the cellular level. 

A paradigm shift in women’s healthcare is happening right now.  You may have noticed that much of the focus in medicine today has shifted from disease to prevention; however, what we commonly think of as “preventive” medicine (mammograms, PAP smears) is actually pre-symptomatic screening for earlier disease detection and diagnosis.  Prevention can be facilitated by the optimal nourishment of cells with micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), as these fuel the cell and are involved in hundreds of metabolic reactions and physiological process. Some of these include detoxification, energy production, neurotransmitter balance, sleep quality, cognition, and immunity. Therefore, micronutrients profoundly affect mood, skin, hormone balance – every organ, endocrine, and body system is impacted. In fact, the nutrient-hormone connection is huge.  Did you know that many female cancers – breast, uterine, ovarian – may occur when estrogen is metabolized into toxic by-products that are not eliminated? To keep estrogen metabolism in the body safe, women are encouraged to focus on these micronutrients:

  • Magnesium activates the enzyme that removes toxic forms of estrogen.
  • Vitamin B6 protects genes from estrogen-induced damage.
  • Vitamin B3 increases adiponectin, a weight loss hormone.
  • Vitamin A regulates leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite.
  • Cysteine prevents toxins in breast tissue from becoming cancerous.

These nutrients and dozens others behave like hormonal housekeepers, and lacking even one of these can set the stage for compromised health: vitamin deficiency can manifest as fairly benign conditions (lack of energy or poor sleep), or more serious illness (allowing the uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells to grow and invade healthy tissue).

Because we are all biochemically unique, micronutrient deficiencies may lead to different symptoms in different women. Find out yours, and take steps to correct them, by taking your micronutrient test today.

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Topics: micronutrients, vitamin deficiencies, intracellular, Women's Health, Cellular Health, nutrient deficiencies, estrogen metabolism, Nutrient-Hormone Connection

Vitamin A Deficiency in Utero May Increase Risk of Alzheimer's Later in Life

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 12:26 PM

old man.jpgIn this provocative mouse study, researchers demonstrated that marginal vitamin A deficiency in utero may have large implications on cognitive function later in life, particularly in the development of Alzheimer's disease. It revealed that vitamin A deficiency increases the potential for amyloid beta to form in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid beta is a type of protein that forms tangles in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, eventually leading to plaque formation and ultimately manifesting as major cognitive dysfunction and severe memory loss.

Specifically, amyloid precursor protein (generally benign when it stays intact) becomes amyloid beta when it is acted upon by a special enzyme that cleaves it. Vitamin A deficiency increases the activity of this enzyme, thus increasing the production of amyloid beta in the brain. When therapeutic doses of vitamin A was administered to mice, memory was restored, suggesting that “vitamin A supplementation might be a potential approach for Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.” 

DOWNLOAD ABSTRACT


 

Topics: micronutrients, Vitamin A, Vitamin A and Alzheimer's, Vitamin A Deficiency, Alzheimer's Disease

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.”

DOWNLOAD ABSTRACT


 

Topics: micronutrients, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Omega-3 and Aging

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

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.

DOWNLOAD ABSTRACT


 

Topics: micronutrients, Calcium, Calcium and Dementia, Dementia

How Do Amino Acids Affect Fat Metabolism?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 @ 02:42 PM

weight-loss.jpgWhen it comes to nutrients and bioactive substances, most people are familiar with vitamins and minerals, but less knowledgeable about amino acids. These biologically important compounds, much like vitamins and minerals, can impact fat metabolism and weight loss in profound ways.  These are some examples of amino acids with roles in weight management:

  1. Asparagine: First isolated and so named due to its presence in asparagus, this amino acid increases insulin sensitivity, which helps the body store energy in muscle instead of storing it as body fat. Asparagine supplementation has been shown in studies to reduce fatigue after intense exercise.
  1. Carnitine: A combination of the individual amino acids lysine and methionine, carnitine is a compound whose primary role is to transport fatty acids into a cell so that they can be burned for fuel.  Carnitine can help reduce visceral adiposity (fat around the midsection) by increasing the availability of fatty acids for energy.
  1. Glutamine: This amino acid improves glucose uptake by muscle, which can ultimately reduce fat mass.
  1. Cysteine: Supplementation with this sulfur-containing amino acid has been shown to reduce fat in obese patients.  It also has powerful antioxidant properties, which helps keep oxidative stress (linked to obesity) at bay.

Despite their lower profile, amino acids can have an equally powerful effect on overall health as vitamins and minerals.  SpectraCell’s Micronutrient Test measures these and many other micronutrients. Detecting and addressing deficiencies are critical steps in enhancing metabolism, promoting health, and looking and feeling your best – be sure to get tested today!

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Topics: micronutrients, Metabolism, Amino Acids That Affect Metabolism, Amino Acids

Minerals and Metabolism – What Is the Association?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Feb 09, 2017 @ 12:52 PM

woman running1.jpgMinerals are substances required within cells to catalyze metabolic reactions. These chemical reactions largely determine the ability of the body to carry out metabolism and ultimately, health status. When it comes to weight management, mineral deficiencies can compromise metabolism. Below are some examples, among many, of familiar minerals with a role in this process:

  1. Zinc: A zinc deficiency can reduce the hormone leptin (this hormone regulates appetite and promotes satiety), therefore signaling you to stop eating for the short-term following a meal. Leptin is released in a dose-dependent manner in response to insulin. Any alteration in the efficiency of either hormone (insulin or leptin) can potentially affect the other.
  1. Calcium: This bones health mineral inhibits the formation of fat cells and burns fat cells by oxidizing fatty acids for energy.
  1. Chromium: This mineral makes cells more sensitive to insulin, thus helping reduce body fat and increase lean muscle.
  1. Magnesium: Low magnesium in cells impairs a person’s ability to use glucose for fuel, instead storing it as fat.  Correcting a magnesium deficiency stimulates metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity, and may also inhibit fat absorption.
  1. Copper: A copper deficiency can lead to the inability to metabolize fructose efficiently, which can lead to decreased energy levels and high blood triglycerides. Copper also has a role fatty acid metabolism; repletion can help optimize metabolism.
  1. Selenium: In some, a selenium deficiency can reduce thyroid hormone levels since it is a cofactor for the conversion of precursor thyroid hormone (T4) to active thyroid hormone (T3). Reduced thyroid function resulting from selenium deficiency will lower metabolism throughout the body.
  1. Manganese: This mineral is a cofactor to the powerful antioxidant, superoxide dismutase, which works to quell inflammation, one of the key contributors to obesity and weight gain.

Since they work synergistically, mineral balance is key. The “if-some-is-good, more-is-better” approach can be dangerous when it comes to micronutrients because too much of one can induce a deficiency in another. This is why a comprehensive analysis of micronutrient status is essential. SpectraCell’s Micronutrient Test measures not only these minerals, but several other micronutrients including vitamins, antioxidants, amino and fatty acids, and metabolites. 

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Topics: micronutrients, Vitamins, Minerals and Metabolism, Weight Management, Metabolism-Boosting Vitamins

Folic Acid Deficiency Exacerbates Damage From Stroke

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 @ 12:04 PM

stroke.jpgPrevious studies have linked low folic acid with an increased risk of ischemic stroke (stroke caused by oxygen deprivation) but new research sheds light on how damage occurs. In this animal study, scientists demonstrated that after a stroke, brain tissue is damaged both from lack of oxygen and through the prolonged activation of autophagy, a process whose function is to degrade dysfunctional parts of a cell. When folic acid is deficient, autophagy is accelerated to the point where nerve cells die, thus exacerbating damage to the brain after an initial stroke.

For more details, download the abstract entitled Folic acid deficiency increases brain cell injury via autophagy enhancement after focal cerebral ischemia.



 

Topics: micronutrients, Folic Acid, Oxidative Stress, Folic Acid and Strokes, Folic Acid Deficiency, micronutrient deficiency, Reducing Inflammation, Stroke Prevention

Micronutrients: The Key to Effective Weight Loss

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 @ 12:30 PM

weight-management-ebook.jpgWe’ve all heard the proverbial advice for achieving a healthy body and maintaining our weight: exercise and “eat right.”  But for those who really want to delve further into the science behind an enviable metabolism, we offer a list of vitamins with an explanation of their role in the body’s ability to burn fat and build muscle.

  1. Vitamin A: This vitamin is particularly good at regulating how genes are expressed. Although genes do determine to an extent how the body stores or burns fat, our genes are, simply stated, not our destiny. Two persons with the same gene may express it very differently, depending on their individual cellular environment. This is where vitamin A enters the picture. It can actually enhance the expression of certain genes that lower a person’s tendency to store food as fat. If one is vitamin A deficient, s/he may be pre-disposed to storing fat tissue. On the other hand, correcting a vitamin A deficiency may have a different, more positive effect, as studies have indicated that vitamin A may reduce the size of fat cells.
  1. Vitamin D: Similar to vitamin A, vitamin D (commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”) affects genetic expression, including the way that fat cells develop. A vitamin D deficiency is strongly linked to poor carbohydrate metabolism: instead of efficiently burning carbohydrate for fuel (which consequently helps impart energy and mental focus), the body instead stores carbohydrate as fat. Correcting a vitamin D deficiency can boost metabolism by reversing this deleterious effect.  
  1. Vitamin E: This micronutrient affects metabolism by inhibiting immature fat cells from developing into mature fat cells, which are more “stubborn,” metabolically speaking. The cumulative effect of this is a reduction in fat storage.
  1. Vitamin B3Also called niacin, vitamin B3 can increase the hormone adiponectin, which is secreted by fat cells. Adiponectin’s main function is to signal cells to burn fuel. It also has a role in helping muscles use glucose for energy rather than storing it as fat.
  1. Vitamin B5: Some evidence suggests that vitamin B5 (AKA pantothenate or pantothenic acid) might be helpful for weight loss because it has been associated with less hunger when dieting. At the cellular level, vitamin B5 activates the enzyme lipoprotein lipase, which breaks down fat cells.

This list is by no means exhaustive: in fact, there are multiple micronutrient influences on weight loss. These micronutrients work both individually and synergistically, and repletion often promotes clinical benefits throughout the body. It should come as no surprise that micronutrient adequacy also supports heart health and energy levels. Therefore, discovering (then correcting) micronutrient deficiencies becomes a critical first step in improving overall health. 

 Tired of not getting the results you want? Interested in learning how you can improve the efficacy of your weight management routine? Get tested and find out how your micronutrient status stacks up!

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Topics: micronutrients, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B3, Vitamins and weight loss, Role of micronutrients in weight management, Effective weight loss, Effective weight management