Nutrition is quite simply the single most significant contributor to most of our patients’ health. We often recommend nutritional supplementation and daily vitamins and minerals.
But how do you know if you are getting enough?
Spectracell answers this question. It offers the comprehensive nutritional analysis. But it isn’t measuring nutrition levels. It is measuring function. It tells us, based on cell performance, how your nutrition and supplements stack up.
What Does Spectracell Measure?
The Spectracell test measures the functional levels of 34 different micronutrients. Each of the following nutrients are evaluated:
B Complex Vitamins:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
- Oleic Acid
- Glucose-Insulin Interaction
- Fructose Sensitivity
- Coenzyme Q-10
- Vitamin E (A-tocopherol)
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)
- Vitamin C
- Total Antioxidant Function
How Do They Perform The Test?
- A mixture of lympocytes (white blood cells) is isolated from the blood. We draw 2 blue and black top tubes to send to the lab.
- These cells are grown in a defined culture medium containing optimal levels of all essential nutrients necessary to sustain their growth in cell culture.
- The T-lymphocytes are stimulated to grow with a mitogen (phytohemagglutinin) and growth is measured by the incorporation of tritiated (radioactive) thymidine into the DNA of the cells.
The growth response under optimal conditions is defined as 100% and all other growth rates are compared to this 100% level of growth.
For example – they remove Vitamin B6 from the medium and stimulate the cells to grow by mitogen stimulation. Growth is measured by DNA synthesis and the rate of growth is dependent only upon the functional level of Vitamin B6 available within the cells to support growth. For Vitamin B6 a growth rate of at least 55% of the growth rate observed in the optimal (100%) media is considered normal. Results less than 55% are considered to indicate a functional deficiency for Vitamin B6. Each nutrient has a different reference range that was established by assaying thousands of apparently healthy individuals.
Breaking down the report
The Spectracell report can be a little confusing and overwhelming. There is a lot of information there and understanding the results can be difficult.
- Test Result (% Control) – This column represents the patient’s growth response in the test media measured by DNA synthesis as compared to the optimal growth observed in the 100% media.
- Functional Abnormals – An interpretation is provided for those nutrients found to be deficient.
- Reference Range – This column represents how this patient’s result compares to thousands of patients previously tested. The patient’s result is considered deficient when it is less than the reference range.
- Graphs – The abnormal range of results is noted in the blue area. Abnormal results are indicated in red. The gray cross hatch area is a representation of the range of test results found in a random selection of subjects.
Spectrox Total Antioxidant Function
Spectrox is a measurement of overall antioxidant function. The patient’s cells are grown in the optimal media, stimulated to grow, and then increasing amounts of a free radical generating system (H2O2) are added. The cell’s ability to resist oxidative damage is determined. The increasing levels of peroxide will result in diminished growth rates in those patients with poor antioxidant function capacity.
Individual Antioxidant Levels
In the tests for individual antioxidants, it is determined which specific antioxidants may be deficient and thus affecting the Spectrox antioxidant function result. For these tests, the patient’s cells are preincubated with one of the nutrient antioxidants, i.e. selenium, and then the Spectrox test is repeated to determine if the addition of selenium improves the patient’s antioxidant function. This process is repeated for each individual antioxidant.