SpectraCell Blog

SpectraCell's Clinical Updates - Volume 6, Issue 4

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, May 07, 2012 @ 11:59 AM

VitaminsCLINICAL UPDATE - SELENIUM: KNOW IF YOU HAVE TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING
An exhaustive review of the benefits selenium has on human health emphasizes that there is a definite “U-shaped link with status.”  The paper epitomizes the philosophy that more-is-not-always-better for vitamins and minerals.  Although low selenium status has been linked to several diseases – heart disease, infertility, low immunity, poor cognitive function, thyroid disease and cancer – the authors state that although “additional selenium intake may benefit individuals with low status, those with adequate status might be affected adversely and should not take selenium supplements.”  (Lancet, March 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Selenium and human health.

Heavy Metal ToxicityCLINICAL UPDATE - NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY CAUSING HEAVY METAL TOXICITY?
A case study on a 37 year old man suggests that multiple micronutrient deficiencies played a role in the cause of his multiple sclerosis.  The authors state he had several key nutrient deficiencies, which they think impaired his ability to excrete harmful metals.  They sate that “nutritional treatment may be an effective approach to this disease” due to the role of nutrients in various detoxification pathways. (Current Aging Science, Epub ahead of print in August 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT Influence of Essential Trace Minerals and Micronutrient Insufficiencies on Harmful Metal Overload in a Mongolian Patient with Multiple Sclerosis.
 
Blood PressureCLINICAL UPDATE - META-ANALYSIS FINDS VITAMIN C SUPPLEMENTS LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
In a review of 29 randomized controlled trials of oral vitamin C, authors found that vitamin C supplements reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.  The reduction in blood pressure was more pronounced in people with existing hypertension.  In another meta-analysis, magnesium supplementation also lowered blood pressure. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2012; European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Effects of vitamin C supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
LINK to ABSTRACT Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis.

Oxidative Stress and HypothyroidismCLINICAL UPDATE - FOLIC ACID LOWERS OXIDATIVE STRESS IN HYPOTHYROIDISM
In two separate studies, antioxidant function was evaluated after hypothyroidism was induced.  Since basal metabolic rate is lower in hypothyroism and most oxidative stress in the body stems from basic metabolic functions, some researchers hypothesize that hypothyroidism should result in lower levels of oxidative stress.  But in this recent animal study, the authors found higher levels of oxidative stress in the hypothyroid (vs normal thyroid) state, as well as higher levels of homocysteine.  Treatment with folic acid ameliorated these effects.  In another study, authors found that hypothyroidism reduced antioxidant function, although the serum levels of several antioxidants. (vitamins A, C & E) remained constant. (Toxicology and Industrial Health, April 2012; Endokrynologia Polska, 2011)

LINK to ABSTRACT
The effect of folic acid as an antioxidant on the hypothalamic monoamines in experimentally induced hypothyroid rat.
LINK to ABSTRACT Elements of oxidation/reduction balance in experimental hypothyroidism.
LINK to FREE FULL TEXT
LINK to NUTRIENT INTERACTION CHART FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM

ToxicityCLINICAL UPDATE - COQ10 PROTECTS LIVER FROM ACETAMINOPHEN TOXICITY
A single toxic dose of acetaminophen was administered in an animal study and liver damage was monitored.  After 1 hour and after 12 hours, an injection of coenzyme Q10 was given. The results showed that the coQ10 injections protected the liver from acetaminophen-induced damage.  The coQ10 also attenuated the loss of zinc and selenium that occurred after acetaminophen administration. (Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology, March 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Hepatoprotective effect of coenzyme Q10 in rats with acetaminophen toxicity.

Infertility and Vitamin ECLINICAL UPDATE - VITAMIN E MAY HELP INFERTILE WOMEN
103 women with unexplained infertility were divided into two groups – 50 women were given a drug to induce ovulation (clomiphene citrate) combined with 400IU per day of vitamin E and 53 women were induced to ovulate without the administration of vitamin E.  The supplemented group had a significantly thicker endometrium and authors suggest that vitamin E may be beneficial to women with unexplained infertility by improving the “endometrial response” and that it may “modulate the antiestrogenic effect of clomiphene citrate.” (Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, February 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Vitamin E effect on controlled ovarian stimulation of unexplained infertile women.

Carbohydrate MetabolismCLINICAL UPDATE - BIOTIN DEFICIENCY IMPAIRS CARBOHYDRATE METABOLISM
Researchers found that biotin deficiency negatively alters carbohydrate metabolism.  Specifically, biotin deficiency resulted in an impaired glucose and insulin tolerance test, suggesting “defects in insulin sensitivity,” according to the authors. (Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, April 2012)

LINK to ABSTRACT Effects of biotin deficiency on pancreatic islet morphology, insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis.

Read more of our clinical updates in our archive!

 

Topics: Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, Folic Acid, biotin, Hypothyroidism, Oxidative Stress, infertility, Carbohydrate Metabolism, Blood Pressure, Heavy Metal Toxicity

Nutritional Relationships of Hypothyroidism

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Feb 01, 2012 @ 10:16 AM

Nutritional RelationshipsBelow is a list of nutrients which significantly affect Hypothyroidism:

  • Glutathione - Hypothyroidism decreases efficacy of some antioxidants, such as glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase
  • B Vitamins - A deficiency in B6, B12 or B9 (folate) can cause elevated homocysteine, which is linked with hypothyroidism. Folic acid levels have been linked to levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
  • Vitamin C and E - Partially restores thyroid function when liver detoxification ability is compromised.
  • Vitamin A - Activates gene that regulates TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)
  • Zinc - Increases thyroid hormone T3 in deficient subjects.
  • Copper - Low levels seen in experimentally induced hypothyroidism; Indirectly affects thyroid status by its antioxidant role via superoxide dismutase.
  • Selenium - Converts thyroid hormone T4 (thyroxine) into T3 (triiodothyronine); Deficiency reduces T3 levels causing classic hypothyroidism symptoms such as fatigue, depression or weight gain.
  • Asparagine - This amino acid is part of the structure of thyroid stimulating hormone which regulates communication with other hormones.
  • Carnitine - Decreased tissue levels of carnitine in both hypo- and hyperthyroidism contribute to muscle fatigue.
  • Lipoic Acid - Improves endothelial function in people with subclinical hypothyroidism; Protects thyroid cells from oxidative stress; May interfere with T4 therapy
  • Choline - Hypothyroidism negatively affects choline function in the brain, which can affect mood and cognition.


Topics: Asparagine, zinc, Carnitine, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Selenium, B Vitamins, Copper, Lipoic Acid, Glutathione, Hypothyroidism

Using Micronutrient Testing to Improve the Management of Autoimmune Conditions

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 @ 10:09 AM

Autoimmune Disorders and MNTAutoimmune conditions are a rapidly growing segment of the medical population. They go by such names as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease just to name a few. The noted growth of these conditions appears to be related to many factors, including increased stressors, poor diet, and degradation of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract allowing formation of a hyperpermeable gut.

Management of these conditions is not always a straightforward process and most therapies have traditionally centered on reducing inflammation. However, long term management of autoimmune conditions requires not only reducing the total inflammatory burden, but also working to add balance to the immune system. This is dependent on the function of the cells of the immune system. Therefore, having an assessment method that directly targets the cells of the immune system would serve as an invaluable tool in the management of autoimmune conditions.

One of the hallmarks of autoimmune conditions is that they promote the destruction of a large amount of tissue secondary to inflammation. Typically when this occurs, the ability of the cells to resist further destruction is reduced, leaving them even more susceptible. Micronutrient testing offers insight into the ability of the cells to resist tissue destruction. When levels of SpectraCell’s novel Spectrox marker start to drop, it is an indication that the tissues are no longer able to resist the inflammation. This is generally accompanied by lower levels of selenium and vitamin E since these nutrients serve to protect the lipid bilayer cell wall.

Blood CellsThe nutrient test goes beyond simply relaying the degree of destruction associated with autoimmune conditions. It also provides insight into where the destruction may be coming from. Autoimmune diseases are noted for a lack of regulation of the immune system. During states of autoimmunity, the T lymphocytes known specifically as T regulatory cells lose their ability to guide the appropriate type of immune response. The misguidance of the ideal immune response is what eventually manifests as the fulminant inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases. Proper function of the T regulatory cells is dependent on vitamin D, glutathione and omega 3’s. A deficiency in any of these nutrients opens the door to immune system dysfunction and increased autoimmunity. Lower levels of glutathione and vitamin D appear to be most representative of the state of the T regulatory cells and the likelihood of dysfunction. When these levels are low, especially glutathione, it can be noted that the inflammatory burden has become overwhelming. Ironically, the micronutrient test is probably one of the better suited tests to pick up the needed repletion of these nutrients since it is looking directly at the T lymphocytes.

An area that appears to open the door to autoimmunity is a breakdown in the integrity of the gastrointestinal lining, also referred to as a hyperpermeable gut. Nutrients such as glutamine, vitamin A and zinc are needed to maintain the integrity of these cells. As these nutrients trend lower, the suspicion of the gastrointestinal tract as a player in the autoimmunity milieu grows.

While not the only test warranted in managing autoimmunity, micronutrient testing should be one of the first considerations as it provides a window into not only areas that contribute to the autoimmune process, but also details the specific nutrients needed to manage it.

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: micronutrient testing, autoimmune diseases, zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Selenium, immune system, Omega 3s, Glutamine, Glutathione, Inflammation, Spectrox, Dr. Arland Hill

Athletes at Risk for Multiple Nutrient Deficiencies

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Jul 07, 2011 @ 04:20 PM

Guest Blog by Arland Hill, DC, MPH, DACBN

Athlete RunningMost athletes become very driven to excel in the sport in which they compete.  These aspirations require great dedication to not only a regimented training schedule, but also to higher intensity levels and training volume.  Regardless of the sport, great demands are placed on the bodies of athletes.  Most of these are secondary to higher levels of oxygen uptake, constant flirting with catabolism and the need to generate energy more frequently.  Most of these are related to nutrient status in some way and underscore the importance of an athlete maximizing their training routine, but also their diet and supplement regimen to stay at peak performance.

The final stages of energy production are dependent on adequate supplies of oxygen.  Without oxygen, fatigue and lethargy quickly set in and the ability to produce ATP, the primary energy molecule, is quickly curtailed.  While this is an issue for some athletes, the opposite is true for the majority of the athletic population.  Most athletes are constantly pushing themselves, thus the need for greater levels of oxygen.  With more oxygen come higher levels of oxidative stress, also termed free radical production.  This is characteristically noted as low or marginally low vitamin E, selenium, glutathione and Spectrox.  This pattern presents as a result of the damage brought forth by oxidative stress.  The lower nutrient profiles are the efforts of the body to offset this damage.  Ironically, this is a pattern similar to that seen in some chronic disease states.

RunningIt is almost impossible to train at a higher level and not undergo some degree of catabolism.  The key however is to minimize this breakdown process and compliment it with an anabolic, or building response.  Maintenance of an anabolic state is imperative to continued progression.  Many areas are sacrificed when the balance between anabolism and catabolism is lost.  One area that appears to be most affected is protein balance.  Protein balance can be monitored through glutamine stores.  Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue, is rapidly processed during higher intensity activity.  The affects don’t just end at muscle tissue however, but cross over into gastrointestinal health and immune function.  This in part explains why athletes become more susceptible to changes in immune health when they are really pushing themselves.

BikingThe ability to perform at the highest level requires the immediate need to produce energy.  Energy production is not one step, but multiple.  Moreover it is a factor of being able to derive energy from all the major macronutrients; carbohydrates, fats and protein.  These macronutrients require many of the B vitamins as well as some of the minerals to help produce energy.  Apart from those nutrients, the last step in energy production, also known as the electron transport chain, requires reliable amounts of CoQ10.  Conversely, energy production cannot be limited to just the energy production pathways, but must also be linked to the delivery of oxygen as the aerobic energy cycles are far more efficient.  This requires healthy red blood cells, for which the nutrients B12, folate, iron and copper are required.

While athletes trying to achieve excellence must put in the necessary hours of training, they must also properly fuel their body and monitor the need to support it nutritionally.  Routine micronutrient testing provides a window into the metabolic needs of the athlete helping them to achieve maximum performance.

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.

 

 

 

Topics: micronutrient testing, Coenzyme Q10, folate, Vitamin E, Selenium, B Vitamins, Copper, Vitamin B12, supplements, immune system, deficiencies, Glutamine, Glutathione, Iron, Oxidative Stress, Spectrox, Energy, Free Radicals, Athletes, Performance

SpectraCell Partners with Gluten Free Works

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 @ 03:48 PM

Hand and HealthSpectraCell 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?

Multi-VitaminThe 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.

NeurologyNeurological 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.

Folate Deficiency

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.

Gluten Free Works

SpectraCell Laboratories

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