Micronutrient Testing

SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc., is a specialized clinical testing laboratory company. We were established in 1993 to commercialize a patented, groundbreaking technology for micronutrient testing.  The technology was developed at the University of Texas, by the Clayton Foundation for Research, as a diagnostic blood test for helping clinicians assess the intracellular function of essential micronutrients.

Since acquiring the rights to the technology, SpectraCell has become the premier provider of tests for identifying subclinical nutritional deficiencies. Our corporate headquarters recently expanded its state-of-the-art facilities in Houston, TX to encompass 30,000 square feet of laboratory and administrative space. This expansion was undertaken in response to the growth in demand for nutritional and cardiovascular testing that you, our clients, have generated, for which we are sincerely appreciative.

Our expanded laboratory enables us to handle increasing volumes while also providing the framework in which we can continue to develop additional tests while continuously maintaining our standards of high scientific quality. In short, we expect to serve you even better in the future. We serve the entire United States and several foreign countries.

A Window on Intracellular Function

We are passionate about our business - and committed to our client practitioners and their patients. We believe that optimal individual nutritional status is vital for promoting general health and preventing many specific diseases.

 

Nutritional Status & Health

The micronutrient tests measures how micronutrients are actually functioning within your patients’ white blood cells. These tests allow nutritional assessment of your patients for a broad variety of clinical conditions including arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular risk, diabetes, various immunological disorders, metabolic disorders and micronutrient deficiencies.

Clinical Applications - How will this help my patients?

Identifying the right patient is simple. Our diagnostic profiles offer a window to the cell that can provide improved healthcare for all patients. However, the potential for clinical benefit is particularly evident in these patient groups:

 MNT Flow Chart - diagram showing factors,...

DISEASE THERAPY AND MANAGEMENT: Diagnose and treat nutritional risk factors that contribute to the therapy/management of many degenerative disease conditions. 

FAMILY HISTORY: Provide prevention measures for patients with family history of common chronic disease conditions. 

HIGH RISK GROUPS: Certain high risk groups are more susceptible to vitamin, mineral and antioxidant deficiencies that can affect treatment outcomes and overall health.

PROACTIVE RISK ASSESSMENT: Provide customized prevention by early detection of nutritional deficiencies for proactive patients. 

CHALLENGING CASES: Gain insight into generalized complaints with no apparent specific disease source and to provide treatment options based on biochemical individuality.

Micronutrient comprehensive nutritional panel

SpectraCell’s Tests Are More Advanced Than Other Laboratory Tests

Before the introduction of our tests, many diagnostic and risk assessments were based on clinical observation and measurements of static levels of certain nutrients in serum. Static serum levels are not always representative indicators for assessing cell metabolism and utilization.

SpectraCell’s micronutrient testing offers a unique means to scientifically assess the intracellular requirements of micronutrients that play an important role in overall health and wellness of your patients. Our tests measure the biochemical function of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, providing a powerful clinical assessment tool for your practice.

Our panels are designed to provide you with the most comprehensive nutritional analysis available. As the only lab that can offer a truly functional intracellular testing, SpectraCell also provides you with targeted nutrient repletion recommendations for the deficiencies identified.

SpectraCell’s Patented Technology

SpectraCell’s patented, chemically-defined control media contains the minimal amount of each essential micronutrient that is needed to support optimal lymphocyte growth or mitogenic response. The functional intracellular status of micronutrients involved in cell metabolism is evaluated by manipulation of the individual micronutrients in the media followed by mitogenic stimulation and measurement of DNA synthesis.

The same technology also provides a total antioxidant function test (SPECTROX™) which assesses the ability of cells to resist damage caused by free radicals and other forms of oxidative stress. Due to the considerable number of cellular antioxidants with extensive interactions, redundancies, repair and recharging capabilities, measuring total function is the most accurate and clinically useful way to assess your patients’ capacity to resist oxidative damage. 

Since lymphocytes are produced in the bone marrow and stored in the peripheral locations for long periods of time (the average life span of a lymphocyte is approximately four to six months), SpectraCell’s measurements provide a powerful portrait of each patients’ long-term nutrient status. This is analogous to the use of a glycosylated hemoglobin test to evaluate blood glucose levels over a one to three month period.

Interpreting Test Results

SpectraCell provides easy-to-read test reports for the clinician and the patient. We’ve incorporated numerical and graphic representations for each result, and we offer repletion suggestions based on each patient’s deficiencies. We’ve included easy-to-understand supplement information that explains the role of each nutrient found deficient, deficiency symptoms, how to obtain that nutrient in food and toxicity and RDI standards for adults.

sample results

IMMUNIDEX™  Immune Response Score - A unique Clinical Tool

A patient’s IMMUNIDEX™ score is one measurement to evaluate a person’s cell-mediated immune system performance. Specifically, it measures T-cell lymphocyte proliferation. Since immune function is a systemic measure of general health, a higher IMMUNIDEX™ score is generally desired since it means a person can respond efficiently not only to exogenous threats such as pathogens or allergens, but also to endogenous threats like tumors. The immune system, comprised of both cell-mediated (Th1) and humoral (Th2) components, when balanced and performing optimally, affords us critical protection and promotes health and wellness.

Micronutrient deficiencies will undermine a person’s immune function, and thus lower the IMMUNIDEX™. Since the highly complex immune system is dependent on the intracellular availability of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, correcting specific micronutrient deficiencies typically raises the IMMUNIDEX™ and contributes to tangible clinical benefits, such as reduced infections and may assist in achieving Th1/Th2 balance.

 

Hormones

 

SpectraCell Laboratories offers comprehensive male and female hormone panels that reveal the overall state of hormonal balance in a patient.  Like nutrients, hormones

influence all aspects of health and disease – mood, sleep, metabolism, immunity, heart health and appearance.  Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted into the blood and directly affect tissues with that hormone’s receptors. An imbalance of one hormone can initiate a cascade of events that alters other hormones, so a comprehensive look at hormone status is key.

 

 

Steroid Hormones

 

  • Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS)

  • Estradiol (E2)

  • Estriol (E3)

  • Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG)

  • Luteinizing hormone(LH)

  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)

  • Prolactin

 

Hormone Imbalance can cause:

  • Fatigue & energy levels

  • Cardiovascular health(blood pressure, clotting, lipids)

  • Neurology (migraines, sleep, pain)

  • Mental health (depression, anxiety, cognitive function)

  • Immunity (infections, autoimmune disease)

  • Metabolism (blood sugar regulation, tissue repair)

  • Bone density (osteoporosis)

  • Physical appearance (skin, muscles, hair

 

 

CardioMetabolic

 

Poor blood sugar regulation and unhealthy triglyceride and lipoprotein levels often present long before the diagnosis of type 2 Diabetes.  SpectraCell’s CardioMetabolic panels offer definitive diagnostic and clinically relevant evaluation to help define risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and progression toward type 2 diabetes. These check points, along with an overall cardiometabolic risk score, help patients understand that not just one factor, but, rather a constellation of risk factors, contribute to the genesis and progression toward poor blood sugar control and/or ASCVD.  Results of testing allow doctors to know when guidance, educational referral, or treatment is necessary.

 

Lipid Profile indicates whether a person’s cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins are predominantly healthy or atherogenic. The Lipoprotein Particle Profile is particularly useful in stratifying cardiometabolic risk in asymptomatic people. SpectraCell’s report segments the Lipid Profile into a standard Lipid Panel & the gold standard Lipoprotein Particle Numbers.

 

Lipid Panel

The basic Lipid Panel is a very general marker for cardiometabolic risk. This standard lipid panel is helpful when viewed in the context of other biomarkers, particularly lipoprotein particle numbers. Lowering LDL-cholesterol is currently the primary target of treatment. However, elevated triglycerides and low HDL-cholesterol are highly associated with metabolic syndrome, which negatively impacts a pre-diabetic risk score.

 

Lipoprotein Particle Numbers

Measuring cholesterol alone is insufficient for accurately assessing cardiometabolic risk. SpectraCell’s Lipoprotein Particle Profile (LPP™) is an advanced technology which accurately measures both the density and number of lipoprotein particles. This information reveals potential cardiovascular problems that are often missed when only using a standard lipid panel to assess risk.

 

Why is it important to know lipoprotein particle numbers?

Cardiovascular risk increases with a higher LDL particle count. With a higher non-HDL lipoprotein count the probability of particle penetration of the arterial wall rises regardless of the total amount of cholesterol contained in each particle. On average, the typical LDL particles contains 50 percent cholesterol.

 

More than 20 percent of the population has cholesterol-depleted LDL, a condition in which a patient’s cholesterol may be “normal” but their lipoprotein particle number, and hence their actual risk, could be much higher than expected. This is especially common in

persons whose triglycerides are high and HDL is low. In the population with a cholesterol-depleted LDL, there can be up to a 40 percent error in risk assessment.

 

SpectraCell Laboratories’ LPP™ test provides physicians with the actual LDL particle count, allowing healthcare providers to accurately determine and diagnose cardiovascular risk in their practice.

 

MTHFR

MTHFR is an enzyme responsible for converting 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate to the product                         

5-methyltetrahydrofolate – it is involved in the metabolism of folate and homocysteine. The product of the reaction catalyzed by MTHFR converts homocysteine (a potentially toxic amino acid) to methionine (a useful and necessary amino acid)

 

Why is MTHFR Genotyping important?

Certain mutations in the gene coding for MTHFR produce an enzyme that has reduced activity.

Reduced activity can lead to elevated levels of homocysteine (a.k.a. hyperhomocysteinemia), especially when folate levels are low. High homocysteine (>13umol/L) may double the risk of

developing illness or complications. MTHFR genotyping can provide information about

potential causes of elevated homocysteine and approaches for addressing it.

 

Based on MTHFR and homocysteine results, physicians can develop dietary and medical recommendations.  Increased intake of folate alone or in combination with vitamins B6 and B12

are recommended.

 

Risks associated with MTHFR

Variants / High Homocysteine:

  • Cardiovascular Disease

  • Cerebral Vascular Disease (Stroke)

  • Venous and Arterial Thrombosis

  • Methotrexate Toxicity for Cancer Therapy

     

    Prothrombin

    Prothrombin  is  a  protein  that  causes  blood  to  coagulate and form blood clots.  A genetic mutation (called G20210A) in the production of this protein is a risk factor for thrombosis (blood clots) including deep venous thrombosis (DVT). This mutation in the gene encoding the clotting factor prothrombin is found in about 1 in 50 persons in the US. It raises the risk of thrombosis significantly for both males and females in all age groups.The Prothrombin G20210A mutation increases circulating prothrombin levels. This appears to create a hyper-coagulable state.

     

    Risks associated with Prothrombin

    This gene provides instructions for making a protein called prothrombin (also called coagulation factor II). Coagulation factors are essential proteins for normal blood clotting. After an injury, clots protect the body by sealing off damaged blood vessels, preventing additional blood loss.

    This mutation causes the gene to be overactive and leads to the excess production of prothrombin, which may lead to high rates of blood clot formation.

     

    People who have prothrombin mutation G20210A have a 2-to-3 fold increase in the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). Persons who have this mutation plus the factor V Leiden mutation have a 10-to-20 fold increase in thrombotic risk.  Other factors also increase the risk of blood clots in people with prothrombin thrombophilia (a disorder that causes over coagulation of the blood). These factors include increasing age, obesity, trauma, surgery, smoking, the use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) or hormone replacement therapy, and pregnancy.

     

    Who should be tested?

  • Those who have had a blood clot in one of the deep veins of the body (also called deep vein        thrombosis or DVT)

  • Those who have have a blood clot that has traveled to the lung (called a pulmonary embolism    or PE)

  • Those who have had a blood clot in an unusual site (such as the mesenteric or cerebral sinus vein)

  • Those who have suffered a heart attack or stroke at a young age

  • Those who have a history of recurrent pregnancy loss or stillbirth.

    Factor V Leiden

     

    What is factor V Leiden?

    Factor V Leiden refers to a mutation in the gene that manufactures a protein called factor V which is involved in the process of blood coagulation.  The factor V protein is also called coagulation factor V, and sometimes proaccelerin or labile factor.

    Risks associated with factor V Leiden

    People with the factor V Leiden gene have an increased risk of developing a type of blood clot called a deep venous thrombosis (DVT). The factor V protein functions as a cofactor that activates an enzyme called thrombin.  Thrombin in turn cleaves fibrinogen to form fibrin, which functions to cross link and form the dense meshwork that makes up the majority of a blood clot when activated.

     

    Factor V Leiden thrombophilia also increases the risk that clots will break away from their original site and travel through the bloodstream.  These clots can lodge in the lungs, where they are

    known as pulmonary emboli. Although factor V Leiden thrombophilia increases the risk of blood clots, only about 10 percent of individuals with the factor V Leiden mutation ever develop abnormal clots.

     

    Women with the factor V Leiden R506Q gene mutation (called R506Q) have increased risk of clotting in pregnancy in the form of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.  They also

    may have a small increased risk of preeclampsia, may have a small increased risk of low birth weight babies, may have a small increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth due to either clotting in the placenta or umbilical cord.  Please note: Many women with this mutation go through one or multiple pregnancies with no difficulties, while others may have complications or develop clots during pregnancy.

     

    If you have factor V Leiden and have developed blood clots, medications can lessen your risk of developing additional blood clots and help you avoid potentially serious complications.

     

    Who should be tested?

    • Those who have had an unexplained blood clot, especially under the age of 50.

    • Those who have recurrent DVT/VTE (venous thromboembolism) episodes.

    • Those who have a strong family history of thrombosis.

    • Women considering pregnancy

     

    Telomere

     

    What  does Telomere Testing  measure?

    Telomeres are sections of genetic material at the end of each chromosome whose primary function is to prevent chromosomal “fraying” when a cell replicates.  As a cell ages, its telomeres

    become shorter.  Eventually, the telomeres become too short to allow cell replication, the cell stops dividing and will ultimately die - a normal biological process. SpectraCell’s Telomere Test can determine the length of a patient’s telomeres in relation to the patient’s age.

     

    How are the results reported?

    The Patient Telomere Score is calculated based on the patient’s average telomere length in peripheral whole blood cells.  This average is then compared to telomere lengths from a population sample in the same age range as the patient to determine the patient’s percentile score.

    What do the results mean to the patient and the doctor?

    Age adjusted telomere length is the best method to date to assess biological age using structural analysis of chromosomal change in the telomere. Serial evaluation of telomere length is an indicator of how rapidly one ages relative to a normal population.  Therapies directed at slowing the loss of telomere length may slow aging and age-related diseases.

     

    What are the nutritional implications on telomere length and repair?

    An inflammatory diet, or one that increases oxidative stress, will shorten telomeres faster.  This includes refined carbohydrates, fast foods, processed foods, sodas, artificial sweeteners, trans

    fats and saturated fats.  A diet with a large amount and variety of antioxidants that improves oxidative defense and reduces oxidative stress will slow telomere shortening.  Consumption of 10 servings of fresh and relatively uncooked fruits and vegetables, mixed fiber, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, cold water fish, and high quality vegetable proteins will help preserve

    telomere length.  In addition, it is advised to reduce total daily caloric intake and implement an exercise program. Fasting for 12 hours each night at least 4 days per week is recommended.

     

    What lifestyle modifications are likely to be helpful?

    One should achieve ideal body weight and body composition with low body fat (less than 22 % for women and less than 16 % for men).  Decreasing visceral fat is very important.  Regular aerobic and resistance exercise for at least one hour per day, sleeping for at least 8 hours per night, stress reduction, discontinuation of all tobacco products are strongly recommended. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may decrease the rate of telomere loss.

     

    When should retesting be considered?

    Testing should be done once per year to evaluate the rate of aging and make adjustments in nutrition, nutritional supplements, weight management, exercise and other lifestyle modifications known to influence telomere length.

     

    What role will nutritional supplements play in slowing telomere shortening?

    Oxidative stress will shorten telomere length and cause aging in cellular tissue.  Antioxidant supplements can potentially reduce oxidative stress very effectively, which will ultimately improve oxidative defenses, mitochondrial function, reduce inflammation and slow vascular aging.  Targeted supplementation is key, as antioxidants work synergistically and must be balanced to

    work most effectively and avoid inducing a pro-oxidant effect.  Increasing antioxidant capacity at the cellular level is critical to maintaining telomere length.

     

    Recent evidence suggests that a high quality and balanced multivitamin will also help maintain telomere length.  Specifically, studies have linked longer telomeres with levels of vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidant resveratrol.  In addition, homocysteine levels have been inversely associated with telomere length, suggesting that reducing

    homocysteine levels via folate and vitamin B supplementation may decrease the rate of telomere loss. Similarly, conditions such as cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, diabetes,

    hypertension, atherosclerosis and even dementia affect telomere length.  Correcting subclinical nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to such diseases is crucial for telomere maintenance.