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Spectracell micronutrients testing
Old 05-14-2013, 12:12 PM   #1
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Spectracell micronutrients testing

I just got my Spectracell micronutrients test results back. It measures the presence of 33 micronutrients within your T-lymphocyte cells, taken from a blood draw. I did this through my primary care doctor for $88 since my insurance didn't cover it. However, I believe that was a special reduced price of some sort. Aside from the wide variety of things it tests for, the other thing that appealed to me was that it measures intra-cell levels instead of external levels. The two levels are not necessarily closely correlated.

It measures a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (including CoQ10), and a few other things. Cellular levels of each are inferred by growing cells in a nutrient solution without the nutrient under test and comparing growth with a control solution with the nutrient. There's better info at their website: www.spectracell.com .


Turns out I'm deficient in B2, pantothenate, D3 (even tough I take 2000 IU a day and my normal lab test shows adequate levels), Glutathione, selenium, and vitamin E. That is compared to average levels in their "healthy" control testing.

So now I can supplement those and not worry about the others. I don't have to just blindly supplement just to make sure I'm not missing something. Or in my case, not supplement much of anything because I had no evidence or symptoms indicating that I needed to. That certainly appeals to the engineer in me.
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Old 05-14-2013, 07:50 PM   #2
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Did the test measure magnesium? I was reading that it's hard to get a good measure on that, but that a deficiency can cause muscle cramps.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:54 PM   #3
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Did the test measure magnesium? I was reading that it's hard to get a good measure on that, but that a deficiency can cause muscle cramps.
Yes it does.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:33 AM   #4
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Do they give you any indication of what dosages to supplement with?
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:34 AM   #5
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I just checked, and my doc doesn't offer this option. I see they have a doctor locator option, and there are quite a few in my area. I can also have Spectracell contact my doc on my behalf to get the process started. Most all the doctors seem to be Chiropractors (I'm good with that, I already have one I $ee regularly), but I'm not sure I want to get on another's radar screen as some can be pretty hard sell, if you get my drift.

Just curious, did your doctor happen to be one of the ones already offering it?
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Old 05-15-2013, 09:06 AM   #6
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I don't understand what "deficient" means in the report.
From perusing their website, it appears to mean simply below the average amount found in those previously tested. Did they give you a better explanation?
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:02 AM   #7
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Hmmmm. Not finding a lot of hard independent science backing benefits of its use in prevention/treatment of specific disease. In fact, the authors (Fletcher, Fairfield) of medical article sourced from reference in Spectracell's own web site (Clinical Applications article from JAMA reference) recommended most adults take a multivitamin daily, but did NOT recommend routine testing based upon a lack of scientific data.

And a leading watchdog agency listed Spectracell here-

Laboratories Doing Nonstandard Laboratory Tests

At least at this point I understand why most insurances won't cover it.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by DFW_M5 View Post
Do they give you any indication of what dosages to supplement with?
Yes. Though my doc is a big supplementer and had his own specific recommendations for me.

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Just curious, did your doctor happen to be one of the ones already offering it?
Yes. I first learned about it from him.

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I don't understand what "deficient" means in the report.
From perusing their website, it appears to mean simply below the average amount found in those previously tested. Did they give you a better explanation?
My understanding is not any better. They have a control set of tests represented by the scatter plot of +'s in the results. Each + represents something like 900 "healthy" people IIRC. So you can see how you compare to the distribution of the nutrient within that control population. I had at least one that was near the very top of the distribution and one that was at the very bottom. They do indicate bands of "deficient", "marginal", and "good" with color bars. I assume those are by some percent of the control group above or below those levels. My doctor had his own goals as well.

Quote:
Hmmmm. Not finding a lot of hard independent science backing benefits of its use in prevention/treatment of specific disease. In fact, the authors (Fletcher, Fairfield) of medical article sourced from reference in Spectracell's own web site (Clinical Applications article from JAMA reference) recommended most adults take a multivitamin daily, but did NOT recommend routine testing based upon a lack of scientific data.

And a leading watchdog agency listed Spectracell here-

Laboratories Doing Nonstandard Laboratory Tests

At least at this point I understand why most insurances won't cover it.
Yeah, it's something new. It infers nutrient levels by growth activity. But I understand that, and I think it sounds reasonable. Its cost to me was OK, the risk was negligible, and the gain was that I now have quantitative evidence that I should be taking some supplements. Not just "take a multivitamin just in case and forget about it". I'm not using it for prevention or treatment of any specific disease. I'm happy to be a guinea pig in this case.

One example was my CoQ10 levels. That's a supplement I've seen mentioned on this forum often enough for easing muscle pain when exercising (IIRC). Sounds pretty useful. But my CoQ10 levels are already very high without supplementation. I'd probably be wasting my money with that one.

Cost will determine how often I repeat the test once I've stabilized at target levels. I don't see any need to test yearly, but probably often enough to catch changes with health or aging. But I'm happy to have the results and interested to see how it responds to the supplementation.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sengsational View Post
Did the test measure magnesium? I was reading that it's hard to get a good measure on that, but that a deficiency can cause muscle cramps.
I was having leg cramping at night. A google search turned up magnesium deficiency as a possible cause. After 3 - 5 days on a magnesium supplement my leg cramps went away. I felt calmer too. The magnesium supplement is the only supplement that I have ever felt a difference on.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:36 PM   #10
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Hmmmm. Not finding a lot of hard independent science backing benefits of its use in prevention/treatment of specific disease.
My DD had a B12 deficiency that went undiagnosed for quite a period of time as they don't screen for that in teens or young adults, until my daughter pointed out to her PCP that she believed her symtoms were indicative of a B12 deficiency. It turned out it was quite low and now she is on monthly supplementation. Having seen the consequences of such deficiencies first hand, I have no skepticism of screening for such vitamins, minerals, etc.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DFW_M5 View Post
My DD had a B12 deficiency that went undiagnosed for quite a period of time as they don't screen for that in teens or young adults, until my daughter pointed out to her PCP that she believed her symtoms were indicative of a B12 deficiency. It turned out it was quite low and now she is on monthly supplementation. Having seen the consequences of such deficiencies first hand, I have no skepticism of screening for such vitamins, minerals, etc.
Glad your DD is having her issue tended to, but by definition screening is for folks WITHOUT symptoms. Typically, most insurances cover tests for diagnosis (after deduct/copays) but only cover limited # of screening (routine) tests. IMHO- Since overall health care costs are so high, getting gov't (via ACA) to add coverage for new screening tests will be difficult & take lots of good studies to justify.
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Old 05-15-2013, 04:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ERhoosier View Post
Glad your DD is having her issue tended to, but by definition screening is for folks WITHOUT symptoms. Typically, most insurances cover tests for diagnosis (after deduct/copays) but only cover limited # of screening (routine) tests. IMHO- Since overall health care costs are so high, getting gov't (via ACA) to add coverage for new screening tests will be difficult & take lots of good studies to justify.
Thats right, however, sometimes symptoms are not immediately apparent and a symptom/problem caused by a deficiency may be able to be mitigated if the deficiency is discovered early enough.
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