My name is Richard Maiden and I am a registered pharmacist with a specialist interest in vitamins, supplements and nutrition to fix deficiencies and help the body function at its best. I will be writing a series of posts on this topic and how we can help you at The Men’s Health Clinic (TMHC).
Who Are SpectraCell & What Is Their Micronutrient Test?
SpectraCell Laboratories are a cutting edge scientific technology company based in USA. Their micronutrient blood test is comprehensive and measures the status of over 30 vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and other nutrients intracellularly (inside the cells). Some of these nutrients are ones that I simply haven’t seen reported in other tests, particularly the amino acids and antioxidants such as Coenzyme Q10. This makes the results so valuable as a clinical tool.
SpectraCell’s Micronutrient test measures the following 31 vitamins, minerals, amino/fatty acids, antioxidants, and metabolites:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Coenzyme Q10
- Vitamin E
- Fructose Sensitivity
- For Total Antioxidant Function
- Immune Response Score
Intracellular vs Serum Blood Tests
Most tests that you will have ever had are serum blood tests. This measures the levels of something in the serum, which is the liquid part of the blood. This can be a useful snapshot, but doesn’t tell the whole story. It can also be quite volatile, and can be affected by something as simple as recent dietary habits or vitamin intake. A good example of this is the standard vitamin B12 blood test. Results of this test are often meaningless if you have recently taken B12 supplements, as this can artificially increase the levels in the serum. It is important to understand that just because you have a high or normal level of something in your serum, doesn’t mean that it is being absorbed into your cells, where it is actually used in bodily processes.
This is where the SpectraCell micronutrient test differs from your regular blood serum tests. It measures the functional levels of nutrients inside your white blood cells (lymphocytes) using their cutting edge technology. They grow your lymphocytes in a variety of nutrient-depleted media to establish the functional levels of nutrients inside the cells. For example, if the cells grow poorly in a medium that has no magnesium in it, it suggests that you have insufficient magnesium levels inside the cells to grow and function properly because the cells are reliant on an external source of magnesium. These functional intracellular results give a far more accurate picture of what is going on inside your body. Lymphocytes can have a lifespan of several months, so we can get a longer term understanding of your nutritional status. The test also gives an overall picture of the healthiness of your lymphocytes in the form of its IMMUNIDEX™ score. Having healthy white blood cells and a good immune system is obviously very important at this time.
Intracellular Functions Of Nutrients & The Citric Acid Cycle
The results of the test from SpectraCell is presented in an eye catching, comprehensive report. A sample report can be found (here). As a pharmacist with a keen interest in biochemistry, the page that stood out to me most was the graphic of the nutrients required for The Citric Acid Cycle (or Krebs Cycle), which is fundamental to life.
(Click For Full-Size Image)
This took me back to my university days and how I could once draw this cycle from memory! To me, this graphic says everything about the root cause of a lot of health issues. Put simply, The Citric Acid Cycle depicts a series of chemical reactions that explains how the body converts carbohydrates, fats and proteins into ATP, which is a readily available form of energy in the body. As you can see from the graphic supplied by SpectraCell, the cycle requires many different vitamins and nutrients to function. This process is constantly running inside your cells, so you can see how important it is to provide your body with the correct nutrients on an ongoing basis. Just one deficiency can clearly impact the efficiency of the cycle and therefore lead to lower ATP and energy production. I believe that the breakdown or inefficiency of The Citric Acid Cycle and other related intracellular processes can lead to various health issues. Correcting these deficiencies and pathways can help the body to function better in general and aid healing, as I can personally attest to.
How The Micronutrient Test Played A Part In My Personal Recovery From Health Issues
In 2017, I suffered from a serious adverse reaction to an antibiotic called ciprofloxacin. This left me with devastating damage to my tendons and nervous system. I have spent the last few years using my science background to read and learn just about everything I can about vitamins, deficiencies and nutrition in order to try and aid my recovery.
I did make some good strides by focusing on supplements to aid mitochondrial health to boost energy issues and collagen production to help my tendons. However, I was still mostly supplementing blindly, as I had no way of measuring the status of certain nutrients. I had read about the SpectraCell micronutrient test, but unfortunately I could see no feasible way to be tested in the UK.
Then amazingly, I discovered The Men’s Health Clinic on my doorstep a couple of years ago and found out that they had started offering this groundbreaking test. Quite simply, the results have changed my life. I devised a personalised supplementation plan to correct my deficiencies and support cellular functions such as The Citric Acid Cycle. With this more targeted approach, I found that my recovery really took off. This leads me to where I am today and I now want to use my experiences and knowledge to help others.
Are There Any Limitations Of The Micronutrient Test?
As a healthcare professional and someone with a scientific background, my opinion is that SpectraCell’s patented testing technology stands up to any scientific scrutiny. I particularly favour the way it calculates nutrient status by measuring functionality of cells by the metric of growth and replication. Functional status of nutrients is far more useful than just having a defined level, as you would find in a serum test. As I said before, just because you have a normal or high level of a nutrient, it doesn’t mean that the said nutrient is in the correct places in the cell carrying out its designated role.
In my personal opinion, the only limitation of this test is the “suggested supplementation” section in the results. Fixing deficiencies in a single nutrient doesn’t necessarily mean just supplementing that individual nutrient. You need to consider factors such as the best form, salt and brand of that vitamin/mineral (tailored to you and your symptoms) and ensure that you are taking supporting cofactor nutrients. Cofactors are crucial, as when replenishing a deficiency you can kick-start a dormant or ineffective intracellular pathway. This newly more effective pathway will start to put more of a drain on other nutrients used in that particular process. The Citric Acid Cycle is a good example as we saw earlier. You can imagine that if you get this pathway functioning more effectively by fixing a deficiency, then you will need to supply extra of all the other cofactors in the cycle to keep up with the new higher demand.
This is why I will probably have a SpectraCell micronutrient test at least annually for the rest of my life to ensure that I am supplementing effectively, eating healthily and not creating new deficiencies by fixing other ones.
Who Can Benefit From The Micronutrient Test?
I clearly had health issues, so it’s no surprise that the test results have helped myself, but I firmly believe that the micronutrient test offered by Spectracell could benefit almost anybody, regardless of what state of health they are currently in. Despite having the healthiest diet or taking multivitamins, you can still find yourself deficient in certain nutrients and therefore you may have impaired intracellular function. This can be due to more complex factors such as genetics which can impact on how you actually absorb nutrients into your cells. Other factors such as medication, alcohol intake, smoking, age, and existing health issues can also affect nutrient levels. As a pharmacist, I often see deficiencies that are most likely caused by the prescription medicines that a patient is taking, and this is a particular area of interest of mine. I also believe that stress on the body can deplete nutrients, whether that be mental stress or physical stress such as illness, injury, adverse drug reactions or poor lifestyle. This is evident in everyday life when we see people complain of “feeling rundown” after a particularly stressful time in their lives.
I agree with Dr Stevens and the team at The Men’s Health Clinic when they say that although they can help patients with high quality personalised treatments such as Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), everyone must also take some responsibility for their own health by looking after themselves to maximise their results. I firmly believe in this holistic personalised approach and that using the micronutrient test results to help your body to function as it was designed to, offers the best way to compliment any other health treatments such as TRT or HRT.
How Can I Book The SpectraCell Micronutrient Test At The Men’s Health Clinic?
The Men’s Health Clinic is the only setting in the UK that offers this comprehensive test. We can take your blood sample and courier it to USA via an express service, this is included in the price. The results are then emailed back, usually within 10 working days. More information can be found here.
I can then help you with translating your results and formulating an individualised supplement protocol (including nutritional pointers) to fix any deficiencies and support you to become the healthiest version of yourself. I can also help suggest supplements outside the scope of these test results to help with other health issues such as joint issues, low energy, nerve issues, plus many more. Although I think the SpectraCell test is the most useful tool when designing an individual supplement protocol, alternatively I can help give supplement advice based on symptoms and/or results of standard blood tests. As a pharmacist, I will ensure that any vitamins and supplements will be safe to take with any prescribed medications.
Her is a link to my bio, please contact clinic on 01202 091593 if you wish to find out more about the SpectraCell Micronutrient test and/or my services.