Metabolic Profiles

Amino Acids - Plasma

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. In free form, or linked in peptide chains, they are involved in numerous activities such as neurotransmitter function, pH regulation, cholesterol metabolism, hormone metabolism, pain control, detoxification, enzyme reactions, anti-oxidant protection and control of inflammation.

Significant progress in amino acid research has revealed a definitive link between amino acid imbalance and related symptomatology. This provides information on protein and nutrient cofactor adequacy, enzyme functionality, predisposition to various degenerative disorders, wasting syndromes, gastrointestinal dysfunction, neurological disorders, impairments in detoxification, inborn errors of metabolism and a wide variety of clinical conditions.

A fasting serum amino acid test can identify current amino acid status and any existing imbalances. Results can be utilised in the design of specific replacement therapy, aimed at restoring balance where necessary

Amino Acids - Urine

Significant progress in amino acid research has revealed a definitive link between amino acid imbalance and related symptomatology. This provides information on protein and nutrient cofactor adequacy, enzyme functionality, predisposition to various degenerative disorders, wasting syndromes, gastrointestinal dysfunction, neurological disorders, and impairments in detoxification, inborn errors of metabolism and a wide variety of clinical conditions.

In the Urinary Amino Acids test more than 40 analytes are measured, providing valuable information on metabolic and nutritional imbalances.

Using a first morning urine specimen, the test can identify current amino acid status and any existing imbalances. Results can be utilised in the design of specific replacement therapy, aimed at restoring balance where necessary.

Due to renal conservation of amino acids; urine levels typically drop before plasma levels. Urine is also not subject to the circadian rhythm variation in amino acids that is present in blood, and excesses or deficiencies over a period of time can be more easily assessed. For these reasons, a Urinary Amino Acids test is more likely to reveal marginal deficiencies.

Plasma amino acids analysis may be preferred if collecting urine is complicated. Other possible reasons for selecting plasma analysis include severe malnutrition, anorexia, haematuria conditions (including menstruation) and rheumatoid arthritis, where the common pattern of low histidine only shows in a plasma sample.

Amino Acids Tested:

  • Essential Amino Acids
  • Non-Essential Amino Acids
  • Intermediary Metabolites and Diagnostic Markers
  • Dietary Peptide Related Markers

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

EFAs are required for growth, reproduction, skin and hair condition and wound healing. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) also lower plasma triglyceride levels and play a structural role in the brain and retina. EFAs provide the substrate for eicosanoids (prostaglandins) which play a vital role in the regulation of inflammatory conditions.

Omega-3 fatty acids are commonly deficient in the diet and may play a significant role in maternal health and neurological function in infants, heart disease, psoriasis, asthma, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, bowel cancer, non-insulin dependant diabetes mellitus, schizophrenia, the learning performance of school children and the reduction in severity of the symptoms of arthritis.

The classic symptoms of EFA deficiency are those related to skin (dry, scaly, poor wound healing) and hair (dull, dry, dandruff), however confirmation is required biochemically by assay of either red blood cell, plasma and/or phospholipid fatty acids.

Plasma fatty acids are considered to reflect short-term dietary changes, whereas red blood cells can provide a longer term view of fatty acid status. Recent data have shown that plasma phospholipids can provide a long-term view of dietary intake.

Osteoporosis Risk Assessment (NTx)

Osteoporosis affects over 75 million people, male and female, worldwide and places 1 out of every 2 women at risk of developing bone fractures. Unfortunately the disease is often not detected until it is well advanced and a bone fracture (most commonly the hip) may be one of the first symptoms. Early detection of osteoporosis can facilitate successful treatment and reduce the risk of further development of the disease.

The Osteoporosis Risk Assessment (NTx) is a urine test which measures the risk of osteoporosis by detecting the rate of bone resorption (breakdown) well before significant changes are obvious on bone mineral density scans. Research indicates that elevated bone resorption is the primary cause of age-related bone loss and low bone mass is the major cause of osteoporosis.

Once osteoporosis has been diagnosed, quantitative measures of the excretion of cross-linked N-telopeptide (NTx), type 1 bone collagen, provide an indicator of human bone resorption.

The NTx marker can also be used to monitor the efficacy of anti-resorptive therapies such as hormone replacement (HRT) and/or calcium supplementation in postmenopausal women, individuals with osteoporosis and those with Paget's disease.

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