SpectraCell Blog

Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can help!

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 @ 01:20 PM

Is carnitine the answer for male infertility?male, infertility
A group of men (n=96) who had been diagnosed as infertile for at least 18 months were given the following nutritional formulation daily for four months: L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, fructose, citric acid, selenium, coenzyme Q10, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and folic acid (see abstract for exact dosages).  At the end of the study, sperm motility improved and 16 of the patients had achieved pregnancy.  The authors concluded that carnitine may be the key component of the supplement cocktail for improving sperm quality. (Italian Archives of Urology and Andrology, September 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Prospective open-label study on the efficacy and tolerability of a combination of nutritional supplements in primary infertile patients with idiopathic astenoteratozoospermia.

 

Vitamin D helps leg ulcers heal
In this double-blind, placebo controlled trial, 26 patients Vitamins, Vitamin Dwith leg ulcers were given either placebo or 50,000 IU vitamin D weekly for two months.  Leg ulcer size, blood levels of vitamin D and pain was measured before and after the two month trial.  In the vitamin D group, leg ulcers were reduced in size by 28% while the placebo group had only a 9% reduction in ulcer size. The authors stated “there was a trend toward better healing in those with vitamin D reposition.” (Journal of Brazilian College of Surgeons, October 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Vitamin D and skin repair: a prospective, double-blind and placebo controlled study in the healing of leg ulcers.
LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

 

Complexity of methylation reactions gains insightmethyl donor, nutrients
This review emphasizes how methyl donor nutrients such as choline, folic acid and methionine interact and how consumption (via supplement or food) of one can have sparing effect s on another – such as choline’s  sparing effect on methionine, for example. (Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, January 2013)

LINK to ABSTRACT The nutritional burden of methylation reactions.
LINK to FLYER on NUTRIENT INTERACTIONS in METHYLATION

For more journal articles by disease or nutrient please click here

 

Topics: SpectraCell, serine, micronutrients, Coenzyme Q10, Oleic Acid, Cysteine, autoimmune diseases, zinc, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Selenium, Vitamin B6, B Vitamins, Folic Acid, Antioxidants, lipoprotein particle profile, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, diagnostic tools, vitamin, wellness, pregnancy, Serum, Vitamin K, Vitamin B12, supplements, Multivitamins, Nutrition, diabetes, immune system, E-zinc, N-acetylcysteine, DNA, Calcium, Fertility, Lipoic Acid, deficiencies, health, Case Study, Omega 3s, Depression, Glutamine, Minerals, Neurotransmitters, Stress, Vitamin B1, micronutrient test, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B2, Nutritional Deficiency, Vitamin B3, cardiovascular disease, Hormones, Reproductive Health, Chromium, Manganese, Muscle recovery, Erectile Dysfunction, infertility, Niacin, Prostate, Energy, Methylation, Carbohydrate Metabolism

SpectraCell's Clinical Updates - Volume 6, Issue 5

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, May 31, 2012 @ 03:57 PM

Parkinson's DiseaseCLINICAL UPDATE - COQ10 A NEW BIOMARKER FOR PARKINSON'S DISEASE?
In this study, 22 patients with Parkinson’s Disease were compared to 88 age-matched controls that did not have Parkinson’s.  Functional levels of several antioxidants – coenzyme Q10, glutathione, selenium, vitamin E and lipoic acid – were measured using SpectraCell’s micronutrient testing.  A deficiency of CoQ10 occurred in 32% of Parkinson’s patients while only 8% of controls were deficient in coQ10.  Interestingly, this was not true for any other antioxidants, leaving authors to conclude that measuring coQ10 status could determine which Parkinson’s patients would benefit from coQ10 supplements, which has proven to slow the progression of Parkinson’s in various clinical trials. (Journal of Neurological Science, April 2012; Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, December 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Coenzyme Q10 deficiency in patients with Parkinson's disease.
LINK to ABSTRACT Coenzyme Q10 for Parkinson's disease.

Vitamin D and TestosteroneCLINICAL UPDATE - LOW VITAMIN D AND TESTOSTERONE IS A DEADLY COMBINATION
Testosterone and vitamin D was measured in over 2000 men. Those with a deficiency in both vitamin D and testosterone were more than twice as likely to have a fatal cardiovascular event and over 1 ½ times as likely to have a fatal event that was non- cardiovascular related. (Clinical Endocrinology, February 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Combination of low free testosterone and low vitamin D predicts mortality in older men referred for coronary angiography.

DepressionCLINICAL UPDATE - SMALL CHANGES IN OMEGA 3 INDEX = BIG CHANGES IN DEPRESSION RATES
Omega 3 index and fatty acids were measured in 150 adolescents that had been hospitalized for depression and compared to 161 controls.  For a 1% increase in the omega 3 index, teenagers were 28% less likely to have severe depression.   The omega 3 index is a measure of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoeic acid (DHA) in red blood cells, which is correlates to fatty acid content in other tissues as well. (Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, April 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Red blood cell fatty acids are associated with depression in a case-control study of adolescents.

Choline and OffspringCLINICAL UPDATE - CHOLINE STATUS OF MOM AFFECTS HORMONE LEVELS IN OFFSPRING
Pregnant women were given either 930 or 480 mg/day of choline in their third trimester.  After twelve weeks, the group with higher choline intake had babies with less cortisol in their blood, possibly to due improved methylation of DNA in the placenta, which was also measured.  The authors concluded that maternal choline intake affects genes in the offspring that regulate cortisol production. (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, May 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Maternal choline intake alters the epigenetic state of fetal cortisol-regulating genes in humans.

Pain and ShinglesCLINICAL UPDATE - INTRAVENOUS VITAMIN C REDUCES SHINGLES PAIN
In this study, 16 practioners gave vitamin C intravenously to 67 patients with symptomatic herpes zoster pain.  The dosage was 7.5 grams per 50 mL administered for two weeks.  Pain and skin eruptions associated with the shingles (herpes zoster) virus were significantly reduced for up to 12 weeks following injections. (Medical Science Monitor, April 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Intravenous Vitamin C in the treatment of shingles: Results of a multicenter prospective cohort study.
 
Trans FatsCLINICAL UPDATE - TRANS FATS LINKED TO AGGRESSION
Dietary intake of trans fat was estimated (via dietary survey) on 945 men and women and each rated their irritability and aggressive behaviours with a standardized test.  The authors of the study concluded that ‘this study provides the first evidence linking dietary trans fatty acids with behavioural irritability and aggression.” (PLoS One, 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Trans fat consumption and aggression.
LINK to FREE FULL TEXT

Browse our archive of all past clinical updates from the past 6 years!



Topics: Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin D, Choline, Vitamin C, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, Depression, Aggression, Hormones, Testosterone, Shingles, Trans Fats, Parkinsons disease

Nutritional Considerations of ADHD & Autism

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 @ 01:58 PM

ADHD & AutismADHD and AUTISM ON THE RISE
Recent years has seen an unprecedented rise in autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Although researchers speculate on the reason for this rise, many factors likely contribute, including more accurate diagnosis. However, overwhelming evidence suggests that nutritional deficiencies may be a contributing factor.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS ARE KEY
Our brain and nerves are composed mostly of fat. The most important of these are called omega-3 fatty acids and are found primarily in fish or fish oil supplements. Also called EPA and DHA, they are absolutely necessary for human health, and their concentration in the brain makes them key players in neurological disorders such as autism and ADHD. Brain and nerve growth throughout childhood is extraordinarily rapid, and the need for omega-3 fatty acids remains critical all the way through adolescence and into adulthood. Overwhelming evidence implicates deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids for the rise in autism and ADHD. Research shows that children with low scores on behavioral assessment tests consistently have lower omega-3 fatty acids levels, and when supplemented with fish oils, the symptoms of ADHD in these children such as hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inability to pay attention - dramatically improve.

Omega 3 & 6WHY MEASURE THE OMEGA-6 TO OMEGA-3 RATIO?
We are familiar with the expression that a child’s brain is like a sponge, ready to absorb information at an astounding rate. A truly appropriate analogy, it stems from the fact that our brains can actually create nerve pathways in response to new experiences and learning environments. Called “neuronal plasticity,” this phenomena is crucial for long-term memory and learning. Proper levels of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), is important for membrane fluidity. The ratio of omega-6 fatty acids, which differ in structure and function, to omega-3 fatty acids affect neuronal plasticity as well. Scientists now agree that the ratio of omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats is as important as the actual levels, especially in autism and ADHD. A lower ratio is better and when this ratio is improved, symptoms of autism and ADHD can improve as well.

ZINC – THE MOOD MINERAL
Zinc deficiency is often implicated in ADHD because it is an important co-factor to several neurotransmitters, which directly affect mood and learning ability. Specifically, zinc affects the production of dopamine, a feel-good chemical in our brains that is needed for learning and certain emotions like motivation and pleasure. In fact, studies show that zinc levels correlate with anxiety and behavioral problems, as well as have a significant effect on information processing in boys with ADHD. Since zinc levels are much lower in autistic and ADHD individuals, children with ADHD show positive behavioral and cognitive results after zinc supplementation.In addition, zinc is essential for proper elimination of the toxic metal mercury from our brain tissue, which has also been linked to autism and ADHD.

Vitamins & AutismVITAMINS AND AUTISM
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked with autism and in some cases of severe deficiency, high-dose vitamin D therapy actually reversed some of the autistic behaviors. Some research even suggests that the nutritional status of the mother during gestation can affect behavior in children. One study confirmed that low folate status in pregnancy was associated with hyperactivity in children. Other studies show that persons who carried a common gene that predisposes them to folate and vitamin B12 deficiency (called the MTHFR gene) were more likely to suffer from ADHD. Supplementation with thiamine (vitamin B1) has shown clinical benefit to some autistic children. Specifically, a deficiency in vitamin B1 has been associated with delayed language development in childhood.When deficient, biotin (vitamin B7) can potentially cause neurological problems associated with autism since the brain is quite vulnerable to biotin deficiency.

MAGNESIUM AND VITAMIN B6 – A WINNING COMBINATION
Like most nutrients, magnesium and vitamin B6 work together in improving clinical symptoms of autism and ADHD.

When a group of autistic children were supplemented with magnesium and vitamin B6, 70% of the children showed improvement in social interaction and communication. Interestingly, when the supplements were stopped, the clinical symptoms reappeared. In another study, physical aggression and inattention improved after supplementation with magnesium and vitamin B6 for a few months.

NeurotransmittersTHE ROLE OF NEUROTRANSMITTERS
Neurotransmitters are tiny chemicals that transmit information from the outside world to various parts of our brains and from our brains to the rest of our bodies. Although neurotransmitters, such as choline, glutamine, asparagine and inositol may not be recognized as household names, they profoundly affect emotions, thinking and social behavior. For example, levels of glutamine and asparagine are lower in autistic children and some adults with ADHD.

AN AMINO ACID THAT IMPROVES CARNITINE – BEHAVIOR
Carnitine is an amino acid whose primary function is to transport fatty acids, including the ever-so-important omega-3 fatty acids into cells so they can be used for energy. In autistic individuals, carnitine levels are significantly reduced, which then affects the patient’s ability to use the fatty acids that are so critical to their learning and social development.
A recent study demonstrated that carnitine can reduce hyperactivity and improve social behavior in boys diagnosed with ADHD, and may actually represent a safe alternative to the use of stimulant drugs for the treatment of ADHD in children.

ADHD AND AUTISM – AN OXIDATIVE STRESS DISORDER?
Oxidative stress is a term used to describe damage to our cells that occurs on a daily basis throughout our bodies. Fortunately, our bodies have built-in defenses against the onslaught of internal and external toxins causing oxidative stress in our tissues. Interestingly, several studies show an increase in oxidative stress in both autism and ADHD, resulting in an impaired ability to eliminate toxins. Specifically, adults with ADHD have extremely low levels of some of the most powerful antioxidants in the body. One study linked damage in fatty tissue surrounding our cells to symptoms of autism and ADHD. Minerals such as selenium and copper, antioxidants such as cysteine and vitamin E and several other nutrients ensure the body’s powerful defense systems work optimally.

ADHD & AutismA MULTI-FACETED APPROACH
Since so many nutrients are needed to keep our amazingly complex brain and nervous system functioning properly, a comprehensive assessment of your nutritional status is key. In disorders like autism and ADHD, the potential improvement of symptoms when even a single deficiency is corrected can often be quite dramatic.

For more information, contact us at spec1@spectracell.com or call 800-227-5227.

Topics: zinc, Carnitine, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, vitamin, autism, Omega 3s, Neurotransmitters, ADHD, Nutritional Deficiency, Oxidative Stress, Omega 6

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

Why Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Affect So Many Functions In Our Body?

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, May 06, 2011 @ 03:16 PM

Omega 3 Fatty AcidsThe answer is simple: cell membrane flexibility.  Every cell has a cell membrane.  When this cell membrane is rigid, it does not work well.  When it is flexible, the chemicals that run our bodies - hormones, proteins, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fats, etc - can move in and out of cells efficiently as needed, thus making the cells healthier, since the materials they need to function well are available.  When the cells work well, the tissues that are made of cells work well.  When tissues work well, the whole system works well and ultimately leads to overall improved health of the entire person.

For example, when there are enough omega-3 fatty acids available through either diet or supplementation, they will be absorbed into cells in the heart, making their cell membranes flexible, but strong.  Consequently, the heart and arteries are stronger and therefore the entire cardiovascular system benefits.  In fact, in the same way that omega-3 fats make cell membranes more flexible, the dangerous trans fats do the exact opposite - they are absorbed into the cell membranes making them stiff and unable to do their job.  Just as stiff joints or stiff arteries are unhealthy, so are inflexible cell membranes.  And since cell membranes are an integral part of every tissue in the body, the level of omega-3 fatty acids a person has can affect just about everything (see below).

Omega 3 Benefits Here

SpectraCell's HS-Omega-3 Index® measures the amount of two very important omega-3 fatty acids - EPA and DHA - in a person's red blood cells.

Topics: SpectraCell, HS-Omega-3 Index, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, Cardiovascular Health, Heart Disease, health, DHA, Omega 3s, EPA, Women's Health

The Role of Micronutrients in Neurology

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Mar 09, 2011 @ 10:30 AM

Nervous SystemKnow Your Personal Nutritional Needs:

A single deficiency – mineral, vitamin, antioxidant or amino acid – can set off a cascade of events where metabolic processes are disturbed. Conversely, repletion of such deficiencies can and often do resolve clinical neurological symptoms such as migraines and neuropathy.

Migraine Prevention:

Anyone who has experienced migraine headaches knows how debilitating they can be. Fortunately, nutritional intervention can be very successful in migraine prevention. Although the mechanism of action is not totally understood, several nutrients that facilitate energy production at the cellular level may also benefit the treatment of migraine headaches. Supplementation with coenzyme Q10, a powerful antioxidant that aids energy Headachemetabolism, may reduce both the frequency and intensity of migraine headaches. Similar results occur with magnesium and vitamin B2, since they also help mitochondria (energy-producing centers in our cells) function properly. “Mitochondrial dysfunction” is one possible trigger to migraine headaches.

The role of oxidative stress in causing migraines is not totally understood, but studies do show that low levels of specific antioxidants, such as glutathione and lipoic acid are associated with migraine occurrence. Correcting specific deficiencies specifically B3, B6, B12 and folic acid can produce dramatic results for reducing the pain and frequency of migraine headaches.

A Healthy Nervous System:

Antioxidant therapy has the potential to contributeHealthy Nervous System to preventing or mitigating many neurologic disorders. SpectraCell Laboratories can measure a person’s total antioxidant function with their SPECTROX test, in addition to measuring the performance of individual antioxidants. Since nutrients play multiple roles, a comprehensive assessment of nutritional status is key.

Minimizing Neuropathic Pain:

Damage to nerves in the limbs but outside the spinal cord causes the painful condition called peripheral neuropathy. Although potentially debilitating, there is overwhelming evidence that neuropathy responds well when specific nutrient deficiencies are corrected. In some studies, vitamin B1 and vitamin B12 significantly reduce neuropathic pain. High levels of oxidative stress increase neuropathic pain, which explains why the powerful antioxidants cysteine, vitamin E and lipoic acid may be successful in treating neuropathy. The pain reducing effects of carnitine and omega-3 fatty acids has been proven in several trials.

Keeping Our Nerves "Insulated":

NerveNerves are covered with a protective coating called myelin, much like the insulation that coats electronic wiring. If the myelin sheath deteriorates, neurological problems arise, which is what happens to people with multiple sclerosis (MS). A key enzyme needed to manufacture this protective coating contains serine, an important amino acid needed for neurological health, which is why serine deficiency may cause neurological problems. Research shows that patients with MS have lowered calcium levels and that symptoms of MS are more severe when blood levels of vitamin D are low. Copper deficiency can cause symptoms seen in MS patients as well.

Reducing the Risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's:

Nutritional deficiencies have been linked to sReducing Riskeveral neurodegenerative diseases. For example, research shows that over half of people with Parkinson’s disease are deficient in vitamin D. Research also shows that the administration of coenzyme Q10 slows the neurological deterioration seen in Parkinson’s disease. Similarly, a higher intake of vitamin C and vitamin E can slow the progression of dementia that is seen in Alzheimer’s patients. Evidence confirms that copper deficiency contributes to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Share with us your experience with the role micronutrients have played in neurology disorders with your patient population! Do you have a particular success?

Topics: micronutrients, Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, B Vitamins, Copper, Antioxidants, Migraines, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, deficiencies, Neurology, Oxidative Stress, Spectrox, Alzheimers, Nerves, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons disease

Webinar: Using Advanced Diagnostic Tools for Cardiovascular Health

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Feb 16, 2011 @ 03:53 PM

Cardiovascular WebinarRegister for a seat to February 17's webinar on "Using Advanced Diagnostic Tools for Cardiovascular Health"

Topics Discussed:

- Using advanced lipid testing for better cardiovascular risk assessment
- How the HS-Omega-3 Index® and ApoE Genotyping can better target your treatment strategies
- How to easily implement SpectraCell's LPP™ into your practice
- A busy physician’s guide to rapid report interpretation
- Case study review

 

If this event has passed, please view our WEBINAR LIBRARY for the recorded version of this webinar and many others.

Topics: SpectraCell, lipoprotein particle profile, ApoE Genotyping, HS-Omega-3 Index, LPP, Cholesterol, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, Cardiovascular Health

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