SpectraCell Blog

Nutritional Considerations of Women's Health

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 @ 11:32 AM

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Your Health

Osteoporosis and WomenOSTEOPOROSIS
Good bone health is not as simple as getting enough calcium. In order to absorb calcium and reduce bone loss, proper vitamin D, K and C levels are crucial. Additionally, several vitamins and minerals are necessary for the prevention of osteoporosis as well as the painful bone disease, osteomalacia. Vitamin K is a major factor in building bone proteins while the amino acid carnitine can improve bone mineral density and zinc deficiency can negatively affect bone integrity.

PMS
Several symptoms of PMS are alleviated by specific nutrients and worsened by deficiencies. Since ovarian hormones influence calcium, magnesium and vitamin D metabolism, the evaluation of how each nutrient is functioning in a woman’s body reveals crucial information. In clinical trials, zinc has reduced and sometimes eliminated menstrual cramping; calcium and vitamin D can mitigate premenstrual headaches; and magnesium plus vitamin B6 supplementation can reduce the anxiety often felt in women suffering from PMS.

Women and HormonesHORMONES & HRT
The delicate balance of hormones is profoundly affected by nutritional deficiencies. Micronutrients can actually function as a hormone (vitamin D for example) or, in most cases, hormones are regulated by nutrients. Research shows that synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can negatively affect mineral levels of calcium, copper, chromium, magnesium, selenium and zinc and certain vitamins, while reducing important antioxidants.

MENOPAUSE
Menopausal women are at a higher risk for micronutrient deficiencies. This is due largely to the fact that as we age, our bodies are less efficient at absorption, but also due to the oxidative stress that accompanies normal aging. As a woman enters menopause, her risk for cardiovascular disease also increases, partly because certain vitamins that protect against heart disease become deficient. For example, folic acid and B vitamin supplementation in women can help blood vessels remain pliable and clear while improving a woman’s lipid profile. In some women, high estrogen levels are associated with low magnesium levels, which consequently affect blood pressure and several negative menopausal symptoms.

BREAST CANCERWomen and Breast Cancer
Several key nutrients are critical for maintaining healthy breast tissue. Low antioxidant status is linked to higher rates of breast and other cancers. In fact, antioxidants such as coenzyme Q10, cysteine and vitamin A have been shown to mitigate DNA damage in cancerous tissue and inhibit hormonal toxicities that can initiate cancerous cells. Other studies have shown that adequate vitamin D and calcium levels can lower risk by more than 70%.

PREGNANCY
The demands for specific nutrients during pregnancy and lactation are particularly taxing on a mother, often draining her nutritional reserves. Since nutritional deficiencies can be passed from a mother to her baby, accurate and targeted diagnostic testing is important before, during and post-partum. Targeted supplementation may also reduce pregnancy complications: coenzyme Q10 and selenium reduce risk of pre-eclampsia, vitamin D can decrease bacterial infections, vitamin A and B2 can alleviate pregnancy anemia, trace elements can reduce pregnancy induced hypertension, and folic acid, biotin and B vitamins may help in the reduction of birth defects.

Reproductive HealthREPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
Overwhelming evidence suggests that infertility issues stem from low antioxidant status. Deficiencies in vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, magnesium, folate as well as the powerful antioxidant cysteine have been linked to infertility. In many cases, targeted repletion is very beneficial with fertility and related issues like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.

SpectraCell’s micronutrient testing assesses your vitamin, mineral and antioxidant deficiencies on the cellular level. This unique testing provides you with individualized results to determine what nutrients your body needs to reduce your risk of chronic diseases and live a healthier life.

Contact us at [email protected] to learn more...

Topics: pregnancy, breast cancer, PMS, Hormones, Osteoporosis, HRT, Menopause, Reproductive Health, Women's Health

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