There are various methods for testing micronutrient levels inside the human body. Some methods are more accurate for detecting deficiencies, and different biomarkers for the same nutrient can give additional perspective regarding the status of that particular nutrient level. Conventional labs are limited in the available testing options, often giving us only direct measurements of serum nutrient levels. While this can provide us with an exact amount of a particular nutrient within that blood sample, it may not accurately reflect long-term nutrient storage and functionality within the body on a cellular level.
Vibrant America is the only specialty lab that offers a micronutrient panel that measures intracellular and extracellular micronutrient levels within red and white blood cells. Their Micronutrients Panel ensures a comprehensive analysis of nutritional health so that health practitioners can prescribe personalized dietary and supplemental recommendations to optimize health and function.
What is the Micronutrients Panel by Vibrant America?
Using mass spectrometry analytical technique, Vibrant measures serum, red blood cell, and white blood cell levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids, and amino acids to comprehensively assess intracellular and extracellular micronutrient levels. It is one of the only micronutrient panels on the market that offers both intracellular and extracellular testing for a comprehensive nutritional evaluation. Utilizing intracellular and extracellular levels screens for nutrient deficiencies and gives valuable information about the functionality of a given nutrient on a cellular level.
What Does the Micronutrients Panel by Vibrant America Measure?
The Micronutrient Panel by Vibrant America measures over 50 biomarkers related to vitamin, mineral, amino acid, and omega-fatty acid status. Analytes included on this panel include:
- Vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Vitamin D, 25-OH, Vitamin E, VItamin K1, Vitamin K2
- Minerals: Calcium, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Chromium, Iron, Magnesium, Copper:Zinc Ratio, Sodium, Potassium
- Amino Acids: Asparagine, Glutamine, Serine, Arginine, Citrulline, Isoleucine, Valine, Leucine
- Fatty Acids: EPA, DPA, DHA, Total Omega-3, Linoleic Acid, Arachidonic Acid, Total Omega-6, AA:EPA Ratio, Omega-3 Index
- Antioxidants: CoQ10, Cysteine, Glutathione, Selenium
- Other Markers: Choline, Inositol, Carnitine, MMA, Lymphocyte Count, White Blood Cell Count, Neutrophil Count
What is the Difference Between Intracellular and Extracellular Micronutrients?
Extracellular micronutrients exist outside the cells and are measured in serum or plasma. Extracellular measurements can be highly variable and easily influenced by short-term nutrient intake through diet and supplements.
Intracellular micronutrients reflect the portion of nutrients that are absorbed into white and red blood cells to be purposed by the cell to perform its functions involving energy production and promoting health on a cellular level. While extracellular nutrient levels may be sufficient, and even optimal, lifestyle and environmental factors can negatively affect cellular absorption and result in an intracellular deficiency. Intracellular micronutrients can better represent nutritional status over a longer time, generally 4-6 months.
One measurement isn't necessarily better than the other - both extracellular and intracellular nutrient deficiencies have been associated with chronic disease. Understanding the nuances between these two types of measurements gives a comprehensive understanding of nutritional status at the gross and cellular levels to optimize nutrition, personalize medicine, and treat/prevent disease.
When to Consider the Micronutrients Panel by Vibrant America
This panel is very beneficial for patients suffering from or experiencing:
- Advanced aging and neurocognitive decline
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic stress and fatigue
- Depression and anxiety
- Maldigestion and malabsorption caused by prescription medications and digestive conditions (e.g., Celiac disease, IBS, IBD, SIBO)
- Skin conditions (e.g., eczema, psoriasis)
- A weakened immune system caused by chronic disease, infections, and medications
Additionally, the Micronutrients Panel can benefit patients with a history of poor diet and/or restricted eating habits. The results of this test provide reliable information regarding how dietary choices affect nutrient status and can guide specific nutritional treatment recommendations.
Alternatively, patients without health concerns who desire to get ahead of their health and prevent disease can benefit from the Micronutrients Panel. Proactively assessing nutrient status at a functional level helps optimize diet and lifestyle, avoiding unnecessary supplements and disease development.
How to Use the Micronutrients Panel by Vibrant America in Clinic
Key points regarding test collection that should be reiterated to patients taking this test include:
- This test requires a blood draw. Fasting is not required before the blood draw, but all non-essential supplements and medications should be discontinued for one week before the draw.
- A phlebotomist must perform the blood draw on a weekday (Monday-Friday). Weekend draws are not permitted.
- Test results will generally be released 7-14 days after the Vibrant lab receives the patient's test kit.
The user-friendly test report offers easily interpretable graphics and micronutrient scores categorized by nutrient function and common dietary sources for each nutrient to help guide treatment recommendations.
It is important to interpret each nutrient's intra- and extra-cellular values together, to understand how the nutrient exists and acts within the body. There are four main result patterns on this test:
- Cellular and serum levels normal: long- and short-term nutrient status optimal
- Cellular levels normal, serum levels deficient: long-term nutrient status is optimal, but short-term status needs improvement. Consider increasing dietary sources and/or supplemental dosages.
- Cellular levels deficient, serum levels normal/high: short-term nutrient status is optimal, but cellular absorption can be optimized. Consider optimizing cellular absorption through lifestyle modifications and additional supplements that support nutrient absorption and reduce oxidative stress.
- Cellular and serum levels deficient: short- and long-term nutrient status are both suboptimal. Consider increasing dietary intake and supplemental dosage while addressing underlying causes of malabsorption.
Factors that can contribute to suboptimal nutrient levels include:
- Chronic medical conditions
- Dietary patterns and choices
- Genetic SNPs
- Lifestyle factors, including tobacco and alcohol use, sleep, and stress
- Malabsorptive digestive conditions
- Parasitic infections or other intestinal infections/dysbiosis
- Prescription medications
Additional panels available through Vibrant that may help expose underlying causes of poor nutritional status include:
- Celiac & Gluten Sensitivity
- Gut Zoomer 3.0 Complete
- Wheat Zoomer
Vibrant America's Micronutrient Panel is one of the most popular micronutrient testing options ordered through Rupa Health. Measurement of both extra- and intracellular levels of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids accurately represents functional nutritional status for those struggling with chronic disease, with a history of restricted eating patterns, or aiming to optimize health and performance. Accurate nutritional testing methods and results ensure dietary habits and supplemental regimens are individualized to a person's specific needs, avoiding unnecessary supplementation and restoring nutritional health.