SpectraCell Blog

Nutritional Considerations of Diabetes

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Feb 06, 2012 @ 11:57 AM

DiabetesUNDERSTANDING DIABETES

According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. With this type of diabetes, cells do not receive enough insulin. As a result, cells starve for energy, and, over time, a glucose buildup in the blood stream causes negative effects on a person’s eyes, kidneys, nerves and/or heart.

Today’s fast-paced society has led to quicker, higher carbohydrate alternatives as food sources. As a result, there is a greater threat of developing diabetes due to cells becoming insulin-resistant.

Micronutrients such as niacin, magnesium, calcium, zinc, carnitine, inositol, alpha-lipoic acid, as well as vitamins E, B6 and D all play an important role in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Though diabetes is a serious disease - with the right treatment - living a longer, healthier life can be made easier.

THE ROLE OF MICRONUTRIENTS IN DIABETIC HEALTH

NIACIN
Niacin (nicotinamide) may help to preserve residual B-cell function in individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. This B-vitamin is believed to be one of the components of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF).

MAGNESIUM
This mineral is involved in more than 300 enzymatic functions in the body. Magnesium deficiency has been associated with insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia and hypertension, which have all been associated with diabetes mellitus. Magnesium has been found to be one of the more common micronutrient deficiencies in diabetes.

VITAMIN E
Low levels of vitamin E are associated with increased incidences of diabetes. Research suggests that individuals with diabetes mellitus have decreased levels of antioxidants. Increased antioxidant requirements may be a result of increased free radical production during periods of hyperglycemia.

ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID (THIOCTIC ACID)
This antioxidant has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin E and vitamin C. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to enhance glucose uptake in skeletal muscle tissue, thus improving glucose regulation in diabetic mellitus individuals. In addition, this antioxidant can be beneficial in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy.

VITAMIN D
Obesity is often associated with vitamin D deficiency and also with type 2 diabetes. Research indicates that diabetic individuals (both type 1 and type 2) have a higher risk for bone fracture. This vitamin deficiency has clearly been associated with lower bone density. Subjects with hypovitaminosis D are at higher risk of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

CHROMIUM
This trace mineral is fundamental in proper insulin function and is believed to facilitate the attachment of insulin to the cell’s insulin receptors. A lack of chromium can lead to insulin resistance, which leads to elevated blood levels of insulin and glucose. Elevated levels of glucose in the blood can lead to diabetes and cardiovascular complications. Food processing
removes most of naturally occurring chromium. However, chromium can be supplemented or found in brewer’s yeast, nuts, meat, whole grains, green beans and broccoli.

HOMOCYSTEINE
Homocysteine elevation is a risk factor for overall mortality in type 2 diabetic individuals independent of other risk factors. Adequate levels of pyroxidine (vitamin B6), folate and vitamin B12 are required for normal homocysteine metabolism.

MicronutrientsINOSITOL
This nutrient is found in high concentrations in peripheral nerves. There is some evidence that inositol may be effective in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy.

VITAMIN B6
Research shows that a deficiency of vitamin B6 may result in abnormal glucose tolerance, degeneration of the pancreatic beta cells, reduced insulin response to glucose and reduced serum and pancreatic insulin levels. In addition, vitamin B6 deficiency has been associated with polyneuropathies.

CALCIUM
Studies have shown that individuals with a low intake of calcium have an increased risk of non-insulin dependant diabetes mellitus. Numerous studies have also revealed that diabetes may be associated with abnormal regulation of intracellular calcium.

ZINC
This mineral has been associated with over 200 enzymatic functions in the body. Increased fasting blood glucose levels have been associated with low zinc. Zinc has been shown to be important in the synthesis, storage and secretion of insulin. Increased urinary zinc excretion has also been associated with diabetic individuals.

CARNITINE
This amino acid in the form of acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to benefit those individuals with diabetic polyneuropathy. One of the proposed mechanisms is that this amino acid may restore the depleted nerve myoinositol content and decrease free radical production.

Topics: Homocysteine, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, zinc, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, diabetes, Calcium, inositol, Chromium, Niacin

Understanding Obesity and Nutrition

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Mon, Jan 30, 2012 @ 10:22 AM

Obesity and NutritionIn the past, obesity was understood in fairly simple terms: excess body weight resulting from eating too much and exercising too little. Obesity is now regarded as a chronic medical disease with serious health implications caused by a complex set of factors.

Micronutrients and Obesity:

Obesity is a complex, chronic disease involving multiple components. It is the second leading cause of preventable death in America, second only to cigarette smoking, and increase the risk of illness from over 30 medical conditions including diabetes, hypertension, cancer, infertility, arthritis and heart disease. Prescription medications and procedures used to treat many of
these conditions often induce micronutrient deficiencies as well.

Availability of NutrientsAvailability of Nutrients:

Obesity often reduces the availability of certain nutrients. In a recent study, over 50% of obese patients were evaluated for Vitamin D status and found to be deficient. Since fat cells have
their own nutritional requirements, fat cells will draw from nutritional reserves in much the same way other organs do in order to perform normal cellular functions. The combination of reduced availability and increased demand for nutrients caused by excess fat cells ultimately causes multiple deficiencies that need to be corrected.

Regulation of Hormones Linked to Obesity:

Niacin (Vitamin B3) treatment has been shown to increase hormone levels that regulate metabolism of glucose and fatty acids. Decreased levels are associated with obesity and heart disease. Vitamin B5 helps breaks down fat cells so they can be used up by the body.

Low Zinc status is also associated with obesity. This may be due, in part, to the relationship between Zinc and leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite. Zinc depletion reduces leptin levels, while Zinc repletion reverses this effect.

Obesity and NutritionFat Cell Formation:

Studies suggest that a form of Vitamin E (tocotrienol) inhibits pre-fat cells from changing into mature fat cells, resulting in a decrease in body fat. Calcium intake has also been associated with weight loss through its ability to inhibit the formation of fat cells. It also promotes the oxidation, or burning of fat cells, therefore reducing the risk of obesity.

The Effect of Amino Acids on Body Composition:

Carnitine is an important nutrient that helps muscle cells utilize energy and burn calories. Evidence shows that supplementation with carnitine when combined with an exercise program may induce positive changes in body composition by reducing (belly fat) more efficiently than without supplementation. Glutamine has been shown to reduce fat mass and improve glucose uptake in skeletal muscle and the relatively unknown amino acid Asparagine can improve insulin sensitivity by increasing the amount of sugar taken into muscle tissue to be burned for fuel.

Obesity and Insulin Resistance - Partners in Crime:

Obesity severely impairs the body’s ability to efficiently burn dietary carbohydrates. This is caused primarily by the body’s inability to use insulin, which is the hormone that helps the transport of sugars into muscles where they can be used for fuel instead of being stored as fat. Optimal micronutrient and mineral status are necessary for proper insulin function.

Vascular Health and ObesityVascular Health in Obesity:

Blood vessels in overweight individuals are typically not as pliable and healthy as normal weight people. Vitamin C supplementation has been demonstrated to improve vascular function in overweight people. Similarly, minerals such as Magnesium, Zinc, Calcium and Copper have all shown positive effects on blood pressure and vascular health. Overweight people tend to have high blood pressure, which is intensified by vitamin deficiencies. Since so many nutrients (Folate, Biotin, Carnitine, Vitamins A, C, and E and several minerals) are involved in the maintenance of healthy blood vessels of both normal weight and overweight people, a comprehensive evaluation of how they are performing in the cells of obese patients is crucial.

Oxidative Stress and Inflammation:

Numerous studies link oxidative stress and inflammation with  obesity. Visceral adiposity (belly fat) is particularly high in dangerous enzymes that cause oxidative stress. Weight loss certainly counteracts this phenomenon and studies show that the amount of weight lost directly correlates to decreases in oxidative stress. Belly fat also causes inflammation of the liver, which is particularly common in obese people. One recent study  demonstrated that Coenzyme Q10 decreased obesity-induced inflammation of the liver. Similarly, inflammation in blood vessels of obese patients contributes to heart disease and stroke, which can be alleviated in part through proper antioxidant supplementation. It is imperative that antioxidant status be optimized, especially in obese patients. SpectraCell’s micronutrient testing measures several specific antioxidants and gives an overall picture of how well all the antioxidants are working together.

Malabsorption Issues After Bariatric SurgeryMalabsorption Issues After Bariatric Surgery:

The impaired ability to absorb nutrients after bariatric procedures routinely causes multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies in patients. Due to fat malabsorption after bariatric surgery, deficiencies in fat soluble Vitamins (A, D, E and K) are extremely common. Neurological complications such as confusion, impaired muscle coordination, even seizures may occur after bariatric procedures, due to a lack of B Vitamins, especially Thiamine. These complications can occur acutely or decades later. A comprehensive evaluation of nutritional status in bariatric patients is critical in maintaining post-op health.

Also, share with us your experience with the role micronutrients have played in obesity with your patient population! Do you have a particular success?

Topics: Coenzyme Q10, Asparagine, zinc, folate, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Copper, Calcium, biotin, Glutamine, Vitamin B5, Hormones, Oxidative Stress, Insulin Resistance, Niacin, Obesity

CASE STUDY: Female with Fibromyalgia

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Aug 09, 2011 @ 03:37 PM

FibromyalgiaPatient was initially seen in January of 2006. She had been diagnosed five years prior with fibromyalgia by her rheumatologist after ruling out other rheumatologic and autoimmune diagnoses. At that time, she was prescribed dulaxetine and gabapentin. Her pain was described as “constant” and “often intense”, limiting her daily activities. She has a history of poor sleep habits and constantly feeling unrefreshed in the morning. Otherwise, osteoporosis and depression were her only other comorbidities. Her daily intake of nutritional supplements included: 1000mg of strontium carbonate, 1200mg of calcium citrate, 400IU of vitamin D in divided doses. Upon physical examination, fifteen of the eighteen FMS points were positive upon 5kg of digital pressure. Sphygmomanometry-evoked allodynia (SEA) occurred at 140 mm Hg of pressure. Only mild hypertonicity was found throughout her upper trapezii and paraspinal musculature. SpectraCell testing revealed functional intracellular deficiencies of vitamin B6, vitamin D, magnesium, and coenzyme Q10. Her total antioxidant function measured 51.2%. Based upon these deficiencies, she was administered the following daily nutritional supplement protocol:

  • B-Complex weighted with extra B6 (250mg)
  • 500mg of magnesium glycinate
  • 1000IU of vitamin D3
  • 200mg of Coenzyme Q10

She was also instructed to consume one cup of pomegranate juice per day. Foods containing the deficient nutrients were advised to be consumed.

SpectroxFollow up SpectraCell testing was performed six months later.

All deficiencies were resolved except for CoQ10. Her SPECTROX™ results increased to 68.1%. Sphygmomanometry-evoked allodynia (SEA) occurred at 170 mm Hg of pressure. Overall, her fibromyalgia symptoms were greatly improved. She was able to perform more of her activities without “suffering the consequences”. She still had some pain from the fibromyalgia, but this was only a “shadow” of the previous pain. In addition, she is waking up in the morning with more energy. Her rheumatologist has taken her off gabapentin and duloxetine. It was recommended to increase CoQ10 to 300mg per day and continue at a lower dose of the daily protocol until following up with another SpectraCell test in one year.

describe the imageB6 and magnesium synergistically assist the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin (which, in turn, is converted into melatonin). As a result, improvements in sleep and mood resulted. Magnesium has been used as a treatment for FMS for many years. However, SpectraCell can differentiate those patients who will better respond, thereby saving everyone time, money, and pain. Magnesium is the body’s ‘calcium channel blocker’ in the NMDA receptor, preventing the release of Substance P and various inflammatory cytokines. CoQ10 is the electron transporter than facilitates ATP production. Although in previous studies serum levels of CoQ10 (not intracellular levels) were found to be normal in FMS patients, one study demonstrated that many patients did improve when administered Coq10. Perhaps, intracellular studies would have clarified which patients were truly deficient and, therefore, would benefit for CoQ10 therapy. Vitamin D has entered as a potential key substance in evaluating fibromyalgic patients. Studies have shown that serum levels of 25-OH vitamin D correlate inversely with depression and pain of FMS. One of the symptoms of moderate Vitamin D deficiency is wide spread muscle pain. It is now commonly used in various autoimmune disorders. Being that Vitamin D is a potent antioxidant, this might have been responsible for part of the improvement in this patient’s SPECTROX™ test.

For more information on our micronutrient test, click here.

For additional case studies, click here.

 

Topics: SpectraCell, micronutrient testing, Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin D, Magnesium, B Vitamins, Fibromyalgia, Spectrox

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

Turn on Your Metabolism with Micronutrient Testing

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Jun 01, 2011 @ 09:32 AM

Guest Blog by Arland Hill, DC, MPH, DACBN

Did you know that nutrient testing can help you zero in on some of the possible reasons that your metabolism may not be functioning optimally?  Nutrient deficiencies act as blockades to normal metabolic function.  The systems and pathways dependent on those nutrients which are found to be deficient are not able to function at an ideal rate.  As such the potential for symptoms such as increased weight gain, difficulty gaining muscle and fatigue, just to name a few may develop.

Some of the more common ways in which metabolism can be affected include the inability to properly process our macronutrients, or proteins, fats and carbohydrates, through the energy production pathways, and inability to manage glucose.

Energy is not just a subjective feeling about the way you feel when you wake up in the morning or throughout the day. Energy molecules, specifically known as ATP, are used by all cells of the body to carry out their needs.  This includes the cells of the immune system having the ability to immune challenges and the cells of the liver breaking down toxins to highlight a few.  The energy production cycles depend on multiple nutrients, but most noted are the B vitamins, specifically the lower B vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B5.  For fats, carbohydrates, or proteins to go from the food that we eat to the ability to do work, they must be ultimately broken down and guided through pathways that rely on the aforementioned nutrients.  However, these are not the only nutrients that take part in the energy production process.  Lipoic acid, magnesium and coenzyme Q10 are also needed.

Another potential area that may affect metabolic function includes the inability to regulate glucose.  This can be misleading at times as glucose is typically the marker that is focused upon.  The body tries to regulate glucose tightly, often at the expense of other markers increasing such as insulin and triglycerides.  However, nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin D, zinc, chromium and SpectraCell’s novel glucose-insulin interaction marker may be early indicators of the need to take action prior to waiting for glucose levels to go awry.

While nutrient deficiencies may not be the only cause for dysfunction of the above mentioned areas, it often plays a role that should at least be investigated.

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: SpectraCell, Coenzyme Q10, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, zinc, Vitamin D, Magnesium, B Vitamins, Fatigue, nutrition testing, Glucose Intolerance, deficiency, Chromium, Weight Gain, Energy, Metabolism

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

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

The Role of Micronutrients in Heart Disease

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 @ 01:56 PM

Is Your Heart at Risk?

 

 

There is compelling evidence that deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are a major contributor to cardiovascular disease and its symptoms. Similarly, the use of many drugs in treating heart disease often lead to various nutrient deficiencies.

Micronutrients and High Blood Pressure:

High blood pressure can result in physical damage to thMicronutrients and High Blood Pressuree walls of our blood vessels. Although the causes of hypertension often overlap, micronutrient deficiencies can cause or worsen this condition. Several mineral deficiencies such as zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium have been linked to high blood pressure.

Research also suggests that a high level of oxidative stress eventually takes its toll on our arteries, ultimately causing hypertension. Several studies of coenzyme Q10 lowered blood pressure significantly. The antioxidant vitamins C and E help blood vessels maintain their flexibility, allowing them to easily dilate and contract. The powerful antioxidant lipoic acid reduces blood pressure by inhibiting inflammatory responses in the blood vessels. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to hypertension because it contributes to endothelial dysfunction, a condition where the lining of blood vessels cannot relax properly and secrete substances that promote inflammation of the blood vessel lining.

Prevent Arterial "Scarring":

Vitamin B6, B12, folate, serine and choline are all necessary to properly metabolize homocysteine and reduce the risk of arterial scarring. In fact, B-vitamin therapy has been an effective treatment for reducing heart disease and blood pressure.

Keeping the Heart Muscle StrongKeeping the Heart Muscle Strong:

The heart’s requirement for energy compared to other muscle tissues is incredibly high. Carnitine is an amino acid that facilitates the transport of fatty acids into heart cell mitochondria, thus helping the heart meet its strong demand for chemical energy. It also helps muscles, including the heart, recover from damage, such as from a heart attack. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is another key component in energy metabolism by helping the heart increase its pumping strength. Deficiencies of vitamin B1 have been found in patients with congestive heart failure, as long-term use of diuretic drugs, which are often prescribed to those patients, deplete the body’s storage of thiamine. Coenzyme Q10 is also required by cardiac tissue in large amounts to properly function. Statin drugs deplete the body of CoQ10, so deficiencies of CoQ10 in statin-users are particularly common.

Heart Disease is an Inflammatory Process:

Scientists now emphasize that heart disease is actually an inflammatory condition within the blood vessels. Inflammation and oxidative stress work together damaging arteries and impairing cardiac function. Several antioxidant nutrients minimize this inflammatory process.

Glutathione is the most potent intracellular antioxidant and actually helps to regenerate other antioxidants in the body. Cysteine, glutathione, B2, selenium, Vitamin E and Vitamin C work together to reduce oxidative stress throughout the entire cardiovascular system.

How Well Do Your Arteries Fight Oxidative Stress?:

An optimal antioxidant status is particularly important in the Preventing Atherosclerosisprevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Since many antioxidants work together synergistically, measuring a single antioxidant may not provide an accurate picture of total antioxidant function. SpectraCell’s SPECTROX™ score will provide a complete and accurate picture of the overall antioxidant status of patients.

Preventing Atherosclerosis:

One of the major culprits in heart attacks and stroke is the buildup of plaque within the arteries throughout the body. Lipoproteins become dangerous when they are oxidized, making them “sticky” and causing blockage of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Micronutrient deficiencies accelerate atherosclerosis. One study showed that oleic acid (found primarily in olive oil) reduces oxidative damage to lipoproteins. It also facilitates absorption of vitamin A in the gut, which is important because vitamin A is linked to lower levels of arterial plaque, primarily due to its antioxidant effect in protecting lipids from oxidation.

Vitamin K supplementation to deficient people slowed the progression of plaque formation in major arteries. Vitamin B3 (niacin) lowers blood cholesterol (fats in the blood), inhibits the oxidation of LDL, and is currently the most effective drug available for raising the heart-protective, good HDL cholesterol. One study on chemicals made from vitamin B5 (pantothenic acids) showed a decrease in blood triglycerides and cholesterol, and evidence suggests that vitamin E can even retard existing atherosclerosis. Another study showed that inositol, a member of the B vitamin family, decreases dangerous small, dense lipoproteins that easily penetrate blood vessel walls and cause atherosclerosis.

Preventing StrokePreventing Stroke:

A recent study on more than 20,000 people concluded that adequate vitamin C levels reduced risk of stroke by over 40%. Similar studies on calcium, magnesium, folate and biotin all concluded that adequate levels of these nutrients contribute to a reduction in the incidence of stroke.

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

Topics: serine, micronutrients, micronutrient testing, Coenzyme Q10, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, zinc, folate, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, B Vitamins, Copper, Antioxidants, Heart Disease, Vitamin K, Calcium, Triglycerides, biotin, inositol, Heart Attack, Glutathione, High Blood Pressure, Oxidative Stress, Spectrox, Stroke, Lipoprotein Particles, LDL and HDL

SpectraCell's 2011 Educational Webinar Series

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 @ 12:23 PM

2011 Webinar SeriesJoin SpectraCell's 2011 Educational Webinar Series Every 3rd Thursday of the Month

Topics:

  • February 17th - Using Advanced Diagnostic Tools for Cardiovascular Health by Peggy Watson, M.D.   REGISTER HERE...
  • March 17th - Case Study Review: Treating Your Most Common Patient Complaints by Ron Grabowski, R.D., D.C.   REGISTER HERE...
  • April 21st - Using Advanced Diagnostic Testing in a Concierge Practice by Shelena C. Lalji, M.D.   REGISTER HERE...
  • May 19th - Nutritional Considerations of Hormone Balance by Ron Grabowski, R.D., D.C.   REGISTER HERE...
  • June 16th - Clinical Implications of Vitamin D and Calcium Deficiencies by Ron Grabowski, R.D., D.C.   REGISTER HERE...

Time:

8pm eastern - 7pm central - 6pm mountain - 5pm pacific

REGISTER TODAY!

www.SpectraCell.com/Webinars

Topics: SpectraCell, micronutrient testing, Vitamin D, Cardiovascular Health, diagnostic tools, Calcium, deficiencies, Case Study, Hormones, Concierge Practice

Vitamin D Update from the Institute of Medicine

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, Dec 28, 2010 @ 03:46 PM

Change in Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for Vitamin D

new vitamin d reportIn 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.

A Word About Vitamin D from the Sun

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.

 

References:

  • Institute of Medicine. Report Brief: Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. November 2010
  • Holick Michael. Vitamin D Deficiency. N Engl J Med 2007;357:26-281.
  • Holick et al. Vitamin D is as effective as vitamin D3 in maintaining circulating concentrations of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2008;93:677-681.

Topics: SpectraCell, Vitamin D, Nutrition, Calcium, Recommended Daily Allowance