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When to Consider The Cellular Micronutrient Assay Test

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When to Consider The Cellular Micronutrient Assay Test

Imagine knowing the exact micronutrients that would make your body function better. More energy, stronger immunity, vitality, and a better mood can all result from correcting subtle micronutrient deficiencies. Rather than taking supplements that are not helpful and end up being just more to process, you could take only those that will benefit on a cellular level and ultimately maintain healthy levels with the intentional use of food as medicine.

The technology to facilitate this degree of individualization is now available with the Cellular Micronutrient Assay test from Cell Science Systems. This test can be used to personalize and target your nutritional therapies.  

At least one micronutrient deficiency, per the NHANES Survey of 2007-2010, affects virtually all American adults. Globally, micronutrient malnutrition affects an estimated 69% of non-pregnant women between 15 and 49 years old. Micronutrient status influences overall health. So, testing and assessing nutritional deficiencies is essential.

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What is a Cellular Micronutrient Assay Test?

The Cellular Micronutrient Assay test uses cellular testing techniques to discover long-term micronutrient insufficiencies.

Many steps in cellular metabolism rely on micronutrients to occur. Without the required nutrients, a given metabolic process will not take place. If many processes become affected by low levels of necessary nutrients, symptoms will appear and can affect overall health.

The Cellular Micronutrient Assay uses immune cells (B and T cells) that have been stimulated to replicate (how they multiply to fight infection). A baseline replication rate is determined, then a portion of the immune cells are given each of the micronutrients in the test individually. It is then observed if the replication rate increases with a given micronutrient and, if so, how much. If the rate of replication increases with a nutrient, it is assumed that an inadequate long-term supply of that nutrient is hindering the optimal function of that immune cell. Very directly, the rate at which immune cells can replicate influences how quickly the immune system can overcome infection.

What Does the Cellular Micronutrient Assay Test Measure?

The Cellular Micronutrient Assay test measures the degree to which the supply of a micronutrient may improve immune cell function. If the function is improved with the addition of a specific micronutrient, it is reasoned that the specific micronutrient is not present at adequate levels to support optimal cellular function (i.e. is deficient to some degree).

The Cellular Micronutrient Assay test shows insight into the longer-term stores (6-9 mo+) of many micronutrients in the cells (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids). This is useful over a serum nutrient test that only indicates what is in the blood (not cells) and is vulnerable to more fluctuation over a day or two.

Nutrients included in the Cellular Micronutrient Assay include the following:

Amino Acids

  • L-Arginine
  • L-Asparagine
  • L-Cysteine HCL
  • L-Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Histidine
  • L-Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • L-Serine
  • Taurine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Tyrosine
  • Valine

Vitamins

  • Biotin (Vitamin B7)
  • Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
  • Delta gamma tocotrienol (Vitamin E)
  • Folate (Vitamin B9)
  • Nicotinamide (Niacin, Vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5)
  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin K1
  • Vitamin K2 (MK4)
  • Vitamin K2 (MK7)

Minerals

  • Boron
  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Lithium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Selenium
  • Strontium
  • Vanadium
  • Zinc

Other Nutrients

  • Carnitine
  • Choline
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Glutathione
  • Inositol
  • Lipoid acid
  • Oleic Acid (omega-9)  

When to Consider The Cellular Micronutrient Assay Test

While full micronutrient deficiency is not as common in industrialized nations as in developing ones, deficiencies occur on a continuum, and sub-clinical deficiencies are quite common. The generally healthy person at the greatest risk of subclinical deficiencies would be someone with demanding work or work/home life, who exercises, and also may often find themselves rushing meals and relying on processed snacks due to time constraints. Stress may be high, and one may depend on a cup (or three) of coffee in the morning to get going. Smoke breaks for stress relief, and abundant wine in the evening to wind down and continue to keep up with the pace. If one also finds themselves exercising heavily or dieting to help manage stress and maintain weight, these would add to the micronutrient demand on the body and increase the probability of deficiency on some level.

There are also stages of life where micronutrient deficiency is more of a risk. These would include early life up to age 5, periods of rapid growth, pregnancy and lactation, and later life past age 65. Micronutrient status is also relevant to fertility, preconception care, perimenopause, and menopause.

Of course, micronutrient deficiency can also result from or contribute to medical conditions. Some digestive issues such as Celiac, Ulcerative Colitis (UC), or Crohn’s can impair the absorption of micronutrients and increase the risk of deficiency even when a dietary analysis would suggest adequate intake. Pancreatic and stomach issues can also affect the absorption of micronutrients.  

Inadequate dietary intake, eating disorders, regular dieting, and heavy alcohol use can contribute to deficiencies. It would make sense to test before and during weight loss efforts. Those following vegan or medically restricted diets would also need more attention to diet to avoid becoming deficient.

Prolonged or chronic illness and states of intense physical or emotional stress, including burnout and extensive exercise, would be other indicators to look at micronutrient status. Testing would be highly relevant in sports nutrition. Pre- or post-surgical assessment may also be useful to ensure adequate healing nutrition.

Symptoms of frank micronutrient deficiencies are broad, but some would include:

  • Fatigue, especially if labs and physical exams remain relatively normal
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Decreased exercise performance
  • Impaired cognitive function (i.e., memory, concentration)
  • Decreased mood

What is the Difference Between The Cellular Micronutrient Assay Test and The Cellular Nutrition Assay Test?

The Cellular Micronutrient Assay Test is one component of the Cellular Nutrition Assay Test, which also includes the Redox Assay and the Antioxidant Protection Assay. Both the Redox and Antioxidant Protection Assays look at the protection of cells from oxidative damage. The Redox Assay looks at the overall antioxidant function in the immune cells. The Antioxidant Protection Assay tests response to specific antioxidants to identify which significantly improve an individual's antioxidant function. All three tests can be completed together as the Cellular Nutrition Assay or individually.  

How to Use the Cellular Micronutrient Assay Test in Clinic

When using the Cellular Micronutrient Assay, a few things will help to optimize the results of this knowledge.

The Cellular Micronutrient Assay test may be of particular use in personalizing and targeting protocols in the following areas:

  • Fertility, preconception care, lactation
  • Perimenopause/menopause
  • High-performance living
  • Managing Burnout
  • Weight management
  • Pre/post-surgery
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Optimizing health status and energy levels

The results indicate the degree of depletion of particular micronutrients. Generally, the approach should be more intensive for critically low nutrients (i.e., iron causing significant anemia) or during highly vulnerable times (i.e., iodine deficiency around pregnancy/early life). In less critical situations or later phases of treatment, once the nutrient status is restored, increasing the intake of micronutrients in foods is often a sustainable long-term approach.

As micronutrient inadequacies in more developed nations are often the result of a calorically dense but nutrient-depleted (SAD) diet, a whole-foods, plant-based diet will likely provide many additional benefits over those of specific nutrient deficiencies.

In both the supplementation and food as medicine routes, it is important to maintain focus on the nutrient for an adequate period of time to reverse the deficiency. This will vary by person and nutrient, but one way of ensuring sufficient progress is to re-test after a period of supplementation/increased dietary intake. As cellular metabolism takes some time to respond to changes, re-testing too soon may be inaccurate. An average follow-up for re-testing could be after six months of intervention. Any urgent deficiencies should be followed up on sooner.

Summary

The Cellular Micronutrient Assay can be an invaluable tool in taking personalized nutrition to the next level. The specificity available offers power in creating targeted and nutritionally-driven health changes. The effects of chronic micronutrient malnutrition, though incredibly common, are often subtle or left unaddressed if the cause can not be found through traditional labs. Immediate benefits of adequate micronutrient nutrition include a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in quality of life. The effects can also be far-reaching, affecting risk for chronic health concerns over time and impacting future generations' health through direct and epigenetic impacts during the pre-conception through early life periods.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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