Topics of Discussion:
- How does the gastrointestinal tract affect allergies?
- What nutrients act as antihistamines?
- How do certain medications for asthma affect an individual's nutritional status?
- Why is magnesium so important to the COPD patient?
Guest blog by: Dr. Mike Carragher
Telomere length gives us a unique view of how your cells are aging. Knowing this can help you decide how aggressive your anti-aging program should be.
Telomeres are sections of genetic material at the end of each chromosome whose primary function is to prevent chromosomal “fraying” when a cell replicates. Think of the plastic tip of shoelaces, protecting the shoelace. Telomeres protect chromosomes in the same way. As a cell ages, its telomeres become shorter. Eventually, the telomeres become too short to allow cell replication, the cell stops dividing and will ultimately die – a normal biological process.
Telomere testing measures the ‘biological age’ of your cells. It is one of the newest advancements in age management and anti-aging. It’s a simple blood test. Telomere testing determines the length of a person’s telomeres in relation to their age.
Evaluation of telomere length is an indicator of how rapidly one ages relative to a normal population. Therapies directed at slowing the loss of telomere length may slow aging and age-related diseases. Therefore it has a role in any anti-aging/age management program.
Hormones and Telomere Length
Scientists have found that telomerase, the enzyme that repairs and regulates telomeres, is controlled and activated by hormones. Therefore, in order to keep ourselves healthy and with a high quality of life, I believe we must maintain all our hormones at optimal levels. Letting those hormones drop is to let the telomeres get short. When telomeres get short, cells age. Aging causes disease, and death follows. Studies show that optimal levels of the hormones testosterone and estrogen levels help preserve telomere length.
Optimal Human Growth Hormone (HGH) levels are also associated with telomere length. A 2009 study published by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism looked at 2744 men and found that telomere length was positively associated with serum IGF-1 levels. IGF-1 is the indirect measurement of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in the body. This positive association is reassuring to me when it comes to optimizing HGH levels.
Nutrition and Telomere Length
An inflammatory diet, or one that increases oxidative stress, will shorten telomeres faster. This includes refined carbohydrates, fast foods, processed foods, sodas, artificial sweeteners, trans fats and saturated fats. A diet with a large amount and variety of antioxidants that improves oxidative defense and reduces oxidative stress will slow telomere shortening. Consumption of 10 servings of fresh and relatively uncooked fruits and vegetables, mixed fiber, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, cold water fish, and high quality vegetable proteins will help preserve telomere length.
Lifestyle and Telomere Length
One should achieve ideal body weight and body composition with low body fat (less than 22 % for women and less than 16 % for men). Decreasing visceral fat is very important. Regular targeted aerobic and resistance exercise, using burst training to optimize human growth hormone release, sleeping for at least 8 hours per night to optimize hormones, stress reduction to optimize cortisol, and discontinuation of all tobacco products are strongly recommended.
Nutritional Supplements and Telomere Length
Oxidative stress will shorten telomere length and cause aging in cellular tissue. Antioxidant supplements can potentially reduce oxidative stress very effectively, which will ultimately improve oxidative defenses, mitochondrial function, reduce inflammation and slow vascular aging. Targeted supplementation is key, as antioxidants work synergistically and must be balanced to work most effectively and avoid inducing a pro-oxidant effect. My favorite antioxidants are Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Melatonin, and Marine Krill Oil.
When Should Testing Be Considered?
I recommend testing once per year to evaluate the rate of aging and make adjustments in hormonal optimization, nutrition, nutritional supplements, weight management, exercise and other lifestyle modifications known to influence telomere length.
To learn more about telomere and micronutrient testing, please visit our website at www.spectracell.com.
Dr. Mike Carragher, M.D.- The Body Well
For more information about our client Dr. Carragher, please visit his blog or contact him at (323) 874-9355.
Micronutrient 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
SpectraCell has recently partnered with Gluten Free Works who is “Helping people get well, look good and stay healthy living gluten free.” ™
Gluten Free Works® helps you understand your food, your diet and your digestion. They show you what causes health problems and how to treat them naturally. One of the tools that they suggest is nutritional testing. They believe that the key to good health for those with gluten sensitivity and/or celiac disease is a gluten-free lifestyle.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is characterized by the inability to tolerate gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. When gluten is ingested by a person with celiac disease, an allergic reaction follows that causes serious damage to the intestinal wall, ultimately creating malabsorption issues and a host of cascading health problems. Some estimate that celiac disease is prevalent in over 2% of the general population.
I take a Multi-Vitamin and Eat a Gluten Free Diet. Isn’t that Enough?
The simple answer is no. Just as every person is different, the “normal” amount of each micronutrient varies from person to person, and even in the same person depending on circumstances in his or her life. We are all biochemically unique, and several factors affect personal micronutrient needs – age, lifestyle, metabolism, prescription drug usage, past and present illnesses, absorption rate, genetics and more.
Especially in the case of celiac disease, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed, comprehensive nutritional testing is super important. Celiac patients are notoriously at higher risk for nutrient deficiencies, largely due to malabsorption issues. But when it comes to supplements, the “more is better” philosophy is just plain wrong. Balance is key. SpectraCell’s Micronutrient test is the answer.
SpectraCell’s Micronutrient Test measures 33 vitamins and minerals in your body. But the SpectraCell test goes even further – it measures functional, long-term levels within the cell, which means SpectraCell’s Micronutrient Test evaluates how well your body actually utilizes each nutrient. Your body may need more of a nutrient than someone else, or perhaps your body lacks the coenzymes needed to transport it, or perhaps it is not absorbed properly after ingestion. That is why an individual assessment of your nutritional status is important.
True healing begins with your body’s foundation – micronutrients – the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your body needs to function optimally every day and over a lifetime.
Predisposition to Nutritional Deficiencies
Researchers followed a group of celiac patients who were on a gluten-free diet for 10 years and they found that half of the adult celiac patients showed signs of poor vitamin status. Since production of digestive enzymes is generally less efficient in celiac patients, absorption of nutrients from food is compromised.
Antioxidant Status of Celiac Patients
Intestinal inflammation, so commonly seen in celiac patients, creates oxidative stress and as a result, the antioxidant status of celiac patients is significantly reduced, mostly by a depletion of glutathione, considered by many the most potent antioxidant in our bodies. In addition, levels of other antioxidants such as cysteine and vitamin C will affect glutathione status. You can see how measuring a single nutrient only gives a small piece of the metabolic puzzle.
Fortunately, SpectraCell’s micronutrient test also gives your SpectroxTM score, which is a measurement of your Total Antioxidant Function. In short, it measures how well your cells stand up to oxidative stress. SpectraCell’s micronutrient test also measures the function of several powerful antioxidants such as lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E. Even a single deficiency can negatively affect your SpectroxTM score. Since oxidative stress is an important factor in the pathogenesis of celiac disease, raising your SpectroxTM score is important.
A Special Role for Glutamine
One hallmark of celiac patients is that they tend to have damage in the lining of their small intestine. This damage increases the permeability of the walls of their digestive tract, allowing normally benign substances into the bloodstream, where they are no longer treated as harmless. An allergenic, or autoimmune, response follows wreaking havoc throughout the body. Glutamine is an amino acid that is particularly effective in mitigating this dangerous cascade of events starting in the gut. Deprivation of glutamine results in increased intestinal permeability since glutamine helps to form tight junctions between cells of the delicate intestinal wall.
Neurological Problems Stem from Nutrient Deficiencies
Researchers estimate that 11-41% of celiac patients have vitamin B12 defiency, which impairs function of the nervous systems. In fact, resolution of vitamin B12 deficiency will in many cases resolve neurological problems associated with celiac disease. Similarly, a deficiency in copper will often manifest as neurological problems or anemia in celiac patients. In fact, some researchers suggest that celiac disease should be considered in patients with copper deficiency, even if there are no gastrointestinal problems.
Celiac patients are at higher risk of B vitamin deficiencies, specifically folate. There are several reasons for this. First, the primary transporter of folate into our bloodstream is found on the tips of the finger-like projections in the intestinal wall called villi. Since intestingal damage (called atrophy) is so common in celiac patients, the process of absorption of nutrients, and especially folate, is severely impaired. Second, the pH of the stomach affects folic acid absorption. The higher the pH, the lower the absorption of folic acid, which is the case in celiac patients. Third, many medications used in inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract are known to be folate depleting.
Bone Building Nutrients for Celiac Patients
Compromised bone health is often an unfortunate consequence of celiac disease largely because a much higher percentage of children with celiac are deficient in magnesium, calcium and vitamin D compared to children without celiac. These nutrients work together in many ways. For example, when there is sufficient vitamin D, 30-40% of intestinal calcium can be absorbed but in the presence of vitamin D deficiency, only 15% of calcium is absorbed, leading to poor bone health among other things. It is easy to see how correcting even a single nutrient deficiency can indirectly help the status of another.
Depletion of Minerals
The impact of mineral deficiencies is extremely broad. For example, zinc deficiency compromises the immune system and is implicated in many skin disorders, which often accompany celiac disease. In a recent study on children with celiac disease, it was found that zinc levels were up to 30% lower in children with untreated celiac, and that over 50% of patients with celiac have low zinc levels. Selenium deficiency is also common in celiac patients. Since thyroid is particularly sensitive to selenium, a deficiency in this mineral, which also serves as a powerful antioxidant, can contribute thyroid dysfunction.
Fatigue in Celiac – Corrected with Supplementation
Fatigue is a very common symptom of celiac disease. Although several nutrients contribute to energy production (such as B vitamins and chromium, for example), the relatively unknown amino acid carntine is intimately involved in energy production and particularly effective in reducing fatigue. Interestingly, levels of carnitine are lower in celiac patients. In fact, one study showed that fatigue was significantly reduced in a group of celiac patients when they were supplemented for six months with carnitine.
A Multi-Faceted Approach
Since so many nutrients are needed to keep our amazingly complex digestive, immune and other systems functioning properly, a comprehensive assessment of your nutritional status is key, especially indisorders like celiac disease where the risk of deficiency is particularly high. The potential improvement of symptoms when even a single deficiency is corrected can often be quite dramatic.
SpectraCell's micronutrient test evaluates how well your body absorbs and utilizes each of these nutrients.
Talk to your doctor about SpectraCell’s micronutrient test or order online from Gluten Free Works.
Topics: SpectraCell, micronutrient testing, Coenzyme Q10, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Cysteine, folate, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, B Vitamins, Folic Acid, Fatigue, Nutrition, immune system, Calcium, deficiency, Glutamine, Neurology, Diet, Minerals, Digestion, Inflammation, Gluten Sensitivity, Gluten-Free, Celiac Disease, Gluten Free Works
Register for our upcoming April 21st webinar on "Using Advanced Diagnostic Testing in a Concierge Practice" by Shelena C. Lalji, M.D.
* Review of today's nutrient lacking foods
* Discuss the correlation between nutrient depletions and prescription medications
* Evaluation and implementation of diagnostic nutritional testing with medical grade supplements
* Detail the role of "8 Steps to Wellness" - providing patients complete health care with diagnostic tools including SpectraCell, BHRT and Allergy testing
* Explain how to incorporate all modalities in self-pay practice for optimal patient care and patient retention and referral
CLICK HERE to register for this webinar
Also, register for future webinars hosted by SpectraCell HERE.
Concierge medicine is a relationship between a patient and a primary care physician in which the patient pays an annual fee or retainer. This may or may not be in addition to other charges.
This is a growing alternative to the conventional practice for many reasons:
To learn more about concierge practices, visit The American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP) at www.aapp.org. This organization is the national association of physicians who provide “concierge medicine,” fee-for-service, and other forms of health care delivery characterized by a direct, financial relationship between private physicians and their patients.
You can also attend the AAPP Summit on Concierge Medicine (April 30, 2011). Find out more HERE.
What is your opinion on the pros and cons of concierge medical practices?
Recently, Forbes Magazine published an article on "Names You Need to Know in 2011: Tim Ferriss".
Why Should You Know Tim Ferriss?
He is an accomplished 33 year old author, entrepreneur and public speaker who recently published a #1 New York Time's Best Seller, "The 4-Hour Body". He is also the author of The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich. He believes in the power of health and wellness to enrich and prolong our lives.
What is "The 4-Hour Body" About?
According to Mr. Ferris, his book is more than just a diet and exercise guide. It is a book which combines the expertise and advise of countless doctors, athletes and peers, as well as his own findings. This book is for men and women to learn more about how they can improve all aspects of their daily lives.
Why Does He Believe in SpectraCell's Micronutrient Testing?
Tim Ferriss "highly, highly recommends" SpectraCell's micronutrient testing which measures 33 vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. He believes in the power of nutrition and its ability to provide better healthcare. There is also overwhelming evidence that vitamin deficiencies are associated with chronic disease processes and the overall condition of one's health. These deficiencies have been shown to suppress immune function and contribute to chronic degenerative processes such as arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
What is SpectraCell's Micronutrient Testing?
SpectraCell’s micronutrient testing offers a unique means to scientifically assess the intracellular requirements of micronutrients. It measure the biochemical function of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, providing a powerful clinical assessment tool.
These tests are designed to provide patients and physicians with the most comprehensive nutritional analysis available. As the only lab that can offer a truly functional intracellular testing, SpectraCell also provides targeted nutrient repletion recommendations for those vitamins and minerals found to be deficient.
Are You a Physician or a Patient Wanting More Information?
Change in Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for Vitamin D
In November 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report setting new dietary intake levels for calcium and vitamin D. These recommendations are replacing the previous references (which were called Adequate Intake values) that were made in 1997. The IOM states that these new DRI values are based on higher quality studies than were previously available.
For vitamin D, the estimated average requirement for both males and females under 70 years old is 400 international units (IU). In order to achieve this requirement, the scientists have set the recommended dietary allowance a little higher at 600 IU per day. For seniors over 70, that DRI is still higher at 800 IU per day.
These recommendations are somewhat higher than the previous 1997 values, although there is considerable controversy over these recommendations. Many healthcare practitioners believe these recommendations are still too conservative. Challenging the Concept of “More is Better” the IOM states that toxicity concerns exist with mega-doses that are becoming more common in supplements. Vitamin D is fat-soluble so it will be stored in the body’s fat tissue and when extra is ingested it is not excreted via urine. Instead, it remains in the body even if it is not needed.
In a press release from the Institute of Medicine, they state that excessive vitamin D can damage the kidneys and heart, although the exact level of toxicity is not clear and likely differs among people. For this reason, the IOM states that the concept of “more is better” should be challenged when referring to nutrients.
SpectraCell agrees with the IOM on this issue that “more is not necessarily better.” In fact, micronutrient testing by SpectraCell reinforces this concept since it measures whether or not a deficiency exists. If a person shows vitamin D deficiency on the micronutrient test, supplementation will likely benefit the patient. If vitamin D functions well (in other words, the person is not vitamin D deficient), they should not take extra vitamin D supplements.
We can get vitamin D from food, supplements or the sun. The surface of the skin has special vitamin D receptors that allow us to manufacture vitamin D from sunlight, or more specifically ultraviolet (UVB) radiation. Unlike ingested vitamin D, excessive exposure to sunlight does not cause vitamin D toxicity because any excess vitamin D from the sun is immediately metabolized into harmless by products and removed from the body. In fact, depending on latitude, time of day, season and skin tone, 5-10 minutes of exposure to sunlight contains about 3000 IU. Supplements usually contain less than 1000 IU.2
Which Form is Best? D2 or D3
There are two major forms of the vitamin: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Some studies suggest that vitamin D2 is only about 30% as effective as D3 in maintaining tissue levels but a 2008 study showed that vitamin D2 is as effective as D3 in maintaining vitamin D concentrations in the body.3 Both D3 and D2 are metabolized in the liver and kidneys to form either the non-active storage form (25- hydroxyvitamin D) or the biologically active form (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D). SpectraCell’s micronutrient test measures vitamin D3.