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Posted by: | Posted on: September 24, 2019

Antidepressants – Do they help?

Written by Brenton Wight – LeanMachine, updated 12th November 2019

If we go to a doctor when we feel upset, depressed, blue, or anxious, chances are we will be given a prescription for antidepressants.
Australians are the second highest users of antidepressants per capita in the world, only behind the USA!

More and more patients are demanding antidepressants from their doctors, who seem happy to oblige, contributing to the rate doubling in the last decade.
Women are nearly three times more likely to use antidepressants as men, and women in their 40’s and 50’s are the highest group.
11% of Americans over the age of 12 take antidepressant medication, even though overwhelming evidence proves that antidepressants are no more effective than placebos. A 2014 study on antidepressants and the placebo effect noted:
“Antidepressants are supposed to work by fixing a chemical imbalance, specifically, a lack of serotonin in the brain. Indeed, their supposed effectiveness is the primary evidence for the chemical imbalance theory. But analyses of the published data and the unpublished data that were hidden by drug companies reveals that most (if not all) of the benefits are due to the placebo effect … Even the small statistical difference between antidepressants and placebos may be an enhanced placebo effect, due to the fact that most patients and doctors in clinical trials successfully ‘break blind’.”

The Main Brain Chemicals

The brain must have the chemicals below to function normally, and they must be in balance. This occurs naturally in a healthy body with a diet that includes all amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and free of toxic substances.
Unfortunately, the medical establishment focuses on serotonin only, a big mistake.

  • Dopamine / norepinephrine, for natural energy and mental focus
  • GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid), for natural calming and sedative effect
  • Endorphin, our natural painkiller
  • Serotonin, our natural mood stabiliser and sleep promoter

Serotonin Theory Proven Wrong

Research published back in 2009 proved that the low serotonin idea was wrong. Depression was found to begin further up in the chain of events in the brain, meaning that antidepressants were focusing on the symptoms instead of the cause.
Recent research into the mechanisms leading to anxiety and social phobias has again proven SSRI treatment incorrect. The research shows that mental health problems are linked to high serotonin levels in the amygdala and NOT low levels. The amygdala is the primitive emotions part of the brain, related to fear, and more serotonin in the amygdala means more anxiety and fear.
This is why many depressed people feel more anxious, fearful or paranoid after taking a serotonin-boosting antidepressant (SSRI).
Noted in the research:
“The serotonin theory is as close as any theory in the history of science to having been proved wrong. Instead of curing depression, popular antidepressants may induce a biological vulnerability making people more likely to become depressed in the future.”

Why are antidepressants dangerous?

Cancer, depression, suicide, violence, heart failure – I will discuss each in turn.

Cancer

We cannot prove that they actually cause cancer, but studies show that Citalopram, the drug most commonly prescribed, increases cancer risk by 70%.
Stronger anti-psycotic drugs increase cancer risk by up to 90%.
ALL antidepressants increase risk of cancer.
Who wants to get cancer? That is really something to get depressed about!

Depression

All SSRI drugs have the “funniest” side-effect of all – DEPRESSION! – the very thing they are supposed to treat!
All antidepressants carry a warning of the side effect of depression.

Thoughts of Suicide, Violence and Murder

Most anti-depressants INCREASE risk of suicide, violence, murder and deadly thoughts.
In almost every case in the USA of mass murder shootings in schools and other public places, the offender had been taking antidepressants!
Champix is a drug to help people quit smoking, but also increases risk of suicidal thoughts and actual suicide. It is unknown what happens when Champix and antidepressants are combined. If the drug companies have conducted studies, they are keeping this one very quiet…
Unfortunately, the increased risk of suicidal thoughts is most prevalent in younger patients.
Citralopram carries a suicide warning in the USA, but not in Australia. Why is this so? In Australia, lobbying by the big drug companies is more effective in bringing about increased sales with fewer warnings about the dangers. Makes one wonder just who is getting rewarded for these extra profits.

SSRI drugs cause side effects such as mania and delusions of grandeur in one of every twenty-five children taking the drugs. This is now on the Luvox warning label (Physicians’ Desk Reference).
Prozac’s manufacturer (Eli Lilly), knew it caused violence in the 1980s, but suppressed this knowledge until it was leaked a decade later to the British Medical Journal. In every murder or suicide involving women and children, 70% of the women were taking SSRI drugs. Other effects of antidepressants and SSRI drugs:

  • 2004: Emiri Padron (taking Zoloft) smothered her ten-month-old daughter with a stuffed animal and then stabbed herself
  • 1999: Eric Harris (taking Luvox) was a shooter at the Columbine High School massacre. His autopsy confirmed he was taking cough syrup (dextromethorphan) as well as Luvox, the interaction increasing risk of serotonin syndrome, a toxic reaction similar to PCP (Angel Dust) reactions
  • 1998: Kip Kinkle (taking SSRI) killed his parents and two classmates, then wounded 25 others at Thurston High School, Oregon
  • 1998: Brynn Hartmann (taking Zoloft) shot her husband, then committed suicide
  • 1998: Matthew Beck (taking Luvox and another antidepressant) killed four lottery officials, then committed suicide
  • 1997: Luke Woodham (taking SSRI) killed three people, including his mother, and wounded six others in Pearl, Mississippi
  • 2007: Seung-Hui Cho (taking antidepressants) killed 32 people, wounding another 29, then committing suicide at Virginia Tech University

These are just a few of the thousands of acts of violence caused by antidepressants.

Heart Failure

Sudden heart failure is another side-effect of antidepressants.
The British Medical Journal states that antidepressants cause 500,000 deaths worldwide every year by provoking sudden heart failure and suicide!

Types of Antidepressant drugs

There are four main antidepressant goups:

  • SSRI
  • SNRI
  • TCA
  • MAOI

Most people are initially prescribed one belonging to the SSRI group.

SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor)

SSRI drugs are the most commonly prescribed. They work by preventing uptake of serotonmin (a neurotransmitter) by nerve cells after it has been released. Reduced uptake results in more free serotonin in the brain to stimulate nerve cells.
Citalopram (Cipromil, Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), Lexapro and sertraline (Zoloft) are all common SSRI drugs. However, recent research has proven that imbalance of serotonin in the brain does NOT cause depression, and studies show that placebos work almost the same as the drugs, without the side-effects.
After 15 minutes from a single dose of an SSRI drug, physical changes happen in the brain: Mood swings, sexual dysfunction, hallucinations. Increased cancer risk is another problem.

Just a few of the side effects of SSRI drugs:

  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Depression, anxious, delusions, confusion, hallucinations, paranoia, mania, panic attack, impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive
  • Restless, hyperactive, more depressed, thoughts of suicide or self-harm, loss of sense of reality or identity
  • Mental impairment, mental disorder, seizures, memory loss, loss of normal personality
  • Blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, seeing halos around lights
  • Inability to have an erection or ejaculation, low libido, sexual problems
  • Chronic insomnia, diarrhea, drowsiness, dry mouth, sweating, trembling
  • Hemorrhage, nausea, vomiting, anemia, abnormally low blood pressure, quivering
  • Fever, itching, numbness, tingling, rash, gas, indigestion, stomach cramps
  • Restlessness, frequent urination, energy loss, yawning
  • Abnormal heart rhythm, rapid heart beat, blood clots, difficulty breathing
  • Bleeding, especially if taken with aspirin, other NSAIDS or warfarin
  • Discharge of milk (men or women) when not breastfeeding
  • Period problems or absence of periods, abortion, pancreas inflammation
  • Blood pressure drop on standing, joint pain, muscle pain, migraine headaches
  • Increased saliva production, nose inflammation, nose bleeds, congestion, sinus irritation
  • Appetite loss, weight loss, weight gain, taste problems, giant hives
  • Inability to sit still, aggressive behavior, overly cheerful behavior
  • Acute kidney disease or failure, death of liver cells, cataracts, low sodium

Often these side-effects last for months or years after drug withdrawal.
Not everyone gets all side effects, but just one of the above would make anyone depressed!

SNRI (Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors)

SNRI drugs are a more recent class of antidepressant, but often included in the SSRI class of drugs.
As well as altering serotonin levels, they also affect norepinephrine levels in the brain.
Side effects appear to be fairly similar to SSRI’s, but severe reactions when coming off the drug may be worse with SNRI’s.

TCA (Tricyclic Antidepressant)

This group is given mostly to patients who do not respond to SSRIs.
Side effects include dry mouth, irregular heartbeat and many more.

MAOI (MAO inhibitors or Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors) and others

Because MAOIs affect brain neurotransmitters, they have many side effects, such as:

  • Sudden drop in blood pressure upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension), lack of strength, weakness, dizziness, drowsiness
  • Headache, fatigue, agitation, anxiety, change in mood or behavior, weight gain, impotence

Again, MAOIs carry warnings on the label referring to suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults, but this can happen to anyone.
MAO inhibitors must not be taken with other antidepressants including paroxetine, fluoxetine, amitriptyline, nortriptyline, or bupropion.
Also interacts with pain medications such as methadone, tramadol, meperidine, dextromethorphan, St.Johns Wort, cyclobenzaprine, or mirtazapine.
Combinations lead to high serotonin levels, which can cause confusion, high blood pressure, tremor, hyperactivity, coma, even death.

Other risks for Seniors

In a study of 65,000 seniors taking antidepressants, risk of falls increased by 27%, fractures by 26%, strokes by 15%, hyponatremia (too little sodium in the blood) by 44 percent, epileptic seizures by 200%, dying from any cause by 66%, and suicide or self-harm by 500%.
Many of these seniors were also taking medication for heart disease or diabetes, which indicates that they are much more likely to suffer adverse effects while coping with additional drugs.

How to treat depression without Medication

Depression is an ever-increasing problem. Those most at risk include:

  • Those with poor nutrition (junk food or little food)
  • Those who do not get enough exercise
  • Those who do not get enough B-group vitamins and D3
  • Those who do not consume enough fish or fish/krill oil supplements
  • Females – Nearly three times as many women as men have depression
  • Post-menopausal women are another high-risk category

Exercise

Studies show that 65% of seniors completely eliminate depression with exercise.
Younger patients also showed dramatic improvement in symptoms.

Natural Antidepressants

Natural supplements have been proven as effective as prescription medications, and with no nasty side-effects.

Niacin Prolonged Release is very beneficial for depression and anxiety, said to be more effective than prescription medication, also helping control cholesterol, diabetes, blood glucose and blood pressure.
Big-dose niacin often causes flushing, where the skin turns red and sometimes tingles, but this is harmless, and usually passes after 30 minutes or so, and usually does not happen when taken with the largest meal of the day. This only indicates that the small blood vessels near the skin surface are expanding, allowing more blood to reach the extremities (and the brain). Also useful for Alcoholic depression and helping those addicted to alcohol, smoking, drugs, etc to kick the habit.
Niacin can also help repair peripheral nerve damage caused by chemotherapy or diabetes.
Note that women who take the occasional sleeping pill may be deficient in niacin, as this is a common side effect. Caution: High-dose Niacin may aggravate gout, a painful condition, enough to make some people depressed!

St. John’s Wort has proven benefits for mild to moderate symptoms, typical dose 300mg 1 to 3 times daily.
Usually starts working in a few days, while prescription medications can take a month.
Should not be taken with any other antidepressant, especially MAO Inhibitors.
St Johns Wort is an inhibitor of cytochrome P450 enzyme, so may interact with some prescription medications which also use this pathway, so seek medical advice if taking anything else.

SAMe (s-adenosylmethionine)
SAMe is an amino acid derivative, found naturally in every cell of the body. It is involved in many biological reactions by transferring its methyl group to DNA, proteins, phospholipids and biogenic amines.
Typical dose 400 to 1200 mg daily, and should always be taken with a Vitamin B Complex supplement.
Several scientific studies show that SAMe may be useful in depression treatment.
Vitamin B Complex is great for mental health, as deficiency allows breakdown of brain nerve coverings.

Tryptophan and 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)
The body manufactures 5-HTP from Tryptophan before it can manufacture serotonin. 5-HTP supplements can increase serotonin levels, especially if there is a 5-HTP deficiency. Studies say 5-HTP performs better than placebos to alleviate depression, however high serotonin levels can aggravate anxiety and social phobias in some patients, while others benefit from reduced anxiety.
Researchers say that 5-HTP constricts blood vessels so would increase blood pressure, but these test were carried out in a laboratory. When they tested 5-HTP on humans, they found significant lowering of blood pressure, which they could not explain.
One study found that 5-HTP combined with GABA helped insomniacs to fall asleep sooner, stay asleep longer, and improve sleep quality, probably because 5-HTP produces melatonin as well as serotonin. Also found to reduce night terrors in children. See my article on Night Terrors.
Other studies found benefits for fibromyalgia with reduced pain and reduced morning stiffness. 5-HTP has been shown to help control appetite.
Best taken with Vitamin B-6 for improved absorption, and B-Complex vitamins also improve nerves and mental health.

DLPA (dl-phenylalanine) are other amino acid alternatives, normally taken between meals.

Safety issues are a real problem with prescription antidepressants. Often they do not work, or sometimes have the reverse effect, and can cause greater depression or even self-harm, violence or suicide.
Everyone should first attempt to eliminate any stress or other cause of depression first.
Psychologists can be a great help in this area to identify the cause and learn how to deal with the problems.
If this does not work or the stress is difficult to eliminate, natural supplements can be tried.
These options can also help in weight loss for some people.
Prescription medication should be a last resort, and in all cases, the patient should have the support of family and friends.

The Food Connection

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish fight depression, especially the DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). DHA also helps protect against Alzheimers and cardiovascular problems. One of the best products I have found is Krill oil with DHA. EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) is also important, but the body can make all of the EPA it needs from DHA (but not DHA from EPA).
Amsterdam researchers wanted to understand why about half the patients on SSRI’s did not respond to the medication.
They set up a study where all subjects took 20g SSRI daily for six weeks, and not everyone responded, so they were then given a 50g dose, yet some still did not respond.
Then researchers looked at their diet, to find that non-responders ate the least fish, and had only a 23% chance of SSRI’s working.
Subjects who ate fish at least once weekly had a 75% chance of SSRI’s working.
They concluded that fatty acid intake is associated with significantly improved SSRI response.
Further study revealed that obtaining natural omega-3 fatty acids from the diet is more effective for depression than SSRI medication, but without the side effects.
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, so benefit brain function as well as reduce cardiovascular risk.
Steaming fish is better than cooking at high temperatures, and cold-water fish have the most omega-3.
Krill oil supplements containing Omega-3, EPA and DHA are available, better than fish oil.

Start recovery with the diet

The composition of gut bacteria affects our physical health and also our brain function and mental state. Dietary changes significantly impact gut bacteria, and so do many medications, especially antibiotics.
Decades ago, antibiotics were hailed as a modern miracle of medical science, but the age of antibiotics is over.
Antibiotics are fed to livestock animals, chickens, humans, pets at an alarming rate, causing antibiotic-resistant pathogens like MRSA.
Resistant bacteria, along with antibiotics, is washed down drains into rivers, lakes, reservoirs, underground water basins and oceans.
The only way we can survive in this age is to build a strong immune system, so our own body resources can defeat any invading pathogen.

We must have a diet similar to that which our ancestors thrived on. They had no pesticides, no toxic pollutants, but they ate real food. Nuts, berries, fruit, leaves, vegetables were the main staples for the 2 million years humans have inhabited the Earth. It was only around 20,000 years ago that humans managed to control fire and started to cook, destroying all of the enzymes in food. 10,000 years ago humans learnt to carry out agriculture and animal husbandry, and while this did give them grains to store when food was scarce, it started the demise of healthy eating.
For a healthy mind, we must have a healthy body.
We must eat real food, and avoid all processed foods which are loaded with sugar, grains, GMO (Genetically Modified to withstand spraying with Roundup), antibiotics, chemical pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, heavy metals, MSG, artificial sweeteners and other toxic chemicals.

Food for the Brain

Foods that are beneficial for the brain will benefit the rest of the body as well, resulting in excess weight loss, improved muscle strength, balance, coordination and hormones.

  • Traditionally fermented, cultured, probiotic foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, kimchee, natto and kefir
  • Foods containing vitamin B12 including all animal products and mushrooms
  • Sodium and other electrolyte deficiencies create depression-like symptoms, Use Sea salt or Himalayan salt (containing over 80 micronutrients), but NOT table salt. Salt (in moderation) is not the villain it is made out to be
  • Healthy fats are imperative for the brai. Fish, avocados, walnuts, coconut oil all help

Foods that Must be Avoided

These are some of the most dangerous foods for mental health.
Avoiding these will not only improve mental health, but also protect against cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and many more.

  • Grains – especially wheat and other grains, causing the “Grain Brain” as well as damage to the intestinal tract (leaky gut syndrome), diabetes, and other modern disease
  • Sugar – the Western diet is packed with sugar and starchy carbohydrates, causing toxic glucose blood levels, excess insulin, then rapidly dropping blood glucose (hypoglycemia), causing high glutamate levels and altering dopamine levels, leading to agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, and panic attacks
  • Hydrogenated oils (e.g. Canola oil), margarine and fried foods are bad for heart disease and colon cancer, and cause brain inflammation, leading to neuromotor and neuropsychiatric disease
  • Caffeine (coffee) has health benefits, but increases cortisol levels and affects neurotransmitter balance, increasing stress and anxiety
  • Deli meats, hot dogs, processed meats contain sodium, preservatives and nitrates, increasing risk of cancer, depression, anxiety and headaches
  • Fat-free foods promise to be healthy but the reverse is true, and because 60% of the brain is fat, we need healthy fats, especially omega-3, EPA and DHA, medium chain triglycerides, to prevent mood impairment
  • Artificial sweeteners are at least as unhealthy as sugar, containing aspartame and phenylalanine (neurotoxin) which depletes serotonin levels, leading to anxiety, mood swings, paranoia and panic attacks
  • Alcohol can support heart health )from the resveratrol content) but too much too often depletes serotonin, leading to anxiety, which often leads to drinking even more, a vicious cycle, affecting neurotransmitters, with withdrawal causing even more problems

Eliminating these foods will improve general health and reduce risk of all disease as well as improve mental health.

Effectiveness of Drugs and Supplements

The American Journal of Psychiatry published a study where some vitamins and nutritional supplements increased the effectiveness of SSRI, SNRI and tricyclic antidepressants.
There were 40 clinical trials, and four supplements were found to boost medication effectiveness compared to medication only:

The most significant improvement was Fish oil, mainly EPA, one of the fatty acids in fish oil.
They also studied creatine, zinc, vitamin C, tryptophan (an amino acid) and folic acid but found mixed results.
Scientific American reported:
“By some estimates, two-thirds don’t respond to the first antidepressant they try and a third fail to get better after several treatment attempts.”
“The implications are that clinicians and the public can consider [adding] therapeutic doses of nutrients such as omega-3s as a potential low-cost approach to reducing depression in people who are non-responsive to antidepressants.”

Supplements Alone may be Responsible for Effectiveness

The study authors said:
“More patients in the studies showed an improvement in mood when prescribed omega-3 fish oil, methylfolate, vitamin D3 and SAMe supplements in combination with antidepressant medication, compared to those who took medication only.”
Missing in these studies is a comparison between supplements only, medication only, and a combination of both.
Because antidepressants have been shown no better than a placebo (or even worsen depression), patients may receive the same or better outcomes by taking supplements alone.

How do supplements work?

Supplements reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain and in the gut.
Depression is often found alongside gastrointestinal inflammation, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Chronic inflammation leads to all of the conditions above, so studies suggest “depression may be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome” and “the primary cause of inflammation may be dysfunction of the gut-brain axis”.
Many clinical studies confirm treatment of gastrointestinal inflammation with probiotics, omega-3, vitamins B and D, improve the patient by reducing inflammatory stimuli in the brain (which originate in the gut).

Omega-3, EPA, DHA

Many diets lack healthy fats, including animal-based omega-3 fats EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are best known for cardiovascular health, but are also vital for brain health and mental health.
Fish in the diet gives good levels of omega 3, and fish oil supplements can help. However, these are not well-absorbed in the gut. Krill oil is much better absorbed, and is 200 times more resistant to oxidation (going rancid) than fish oil.
Vegans and some vegetarians can be deficient in omega-3 as well as other nutrients normally found only in animal products.
A study using 200 to 2200 mg daily of EPA in an omega-3 supplement was effective against primary depression. Omega-3 studies also show improvement in schizophrenia, psychosis and bipolar disorder.
Omega-3 comes from wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies, or fish oil or preferably Krill oil.

Vitamin D3 deficiency leads to Depression

The body has Vitamin D3 receptors in almost every one of the 60 to 100 trillion cells, including brain tissue very early in fetal growth. Activated vitamin D3 receptors increase nerve growth in the brain. Researchers conclude that optimal vitamin D3 levels increase brain important chemicals, and increase effectiveness of glial cells to repair damaged neurons.
The Vitamin D Council says:
“Exactly how vitamin D3 works in the brain isn’t fully understood. One theory is that vitamin D3 affects the amount of chemicals called monoamines, such as serotonin, and how they work in the brain. Many anti-depressant medications work by increasing the amount of monoamines in the brain. Therefore, researchers have suggested that vitamin D3 may also increase the amount of monoamines, which may help treat depression.”

Vitamin D3 studies show:

  • Seniors with the lowest vitamin D3 have eleven times the risk of depression compared to those with normal vitamin D3
  • VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam found those with depression (minor and major) had 14% less vitamin D3 compared to normal subjects
  • Another study said that those with vitamin D3 levels below 50 nmol/L (20 ng/mL) had 85% greater depression risk, compared to those with vitamin D3 levels over 75 nmol/L (30 ng/mL)
  • SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) has always been linked to low vitamin D3, and also associated with fibromyalgia and depression
  • Another study in 2008 said “It appears to be a relation between serum levels of 25(OH)D (vitamin D3) and symptoms of depression. Supplementation with high doses of vitamin D3 seems to ameliorate these symptoms indicating a possible causal relationship.”

Other Supplements to reduce Depression

Folate and Methylation

Active Folate can make a huge difference. Two genes commonly associated with increased cancer risk are polymorphisms C677T and A1298C, which are also involved in methyltetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) production, which is a critical part of the methylation pathway required for every cell in the body, acting as a switch, turning on or off various biological activities such as detoxification, histamine tolerance, stress management, DNA and RNA protection and repair, neurotransmitter myelination (nerve protection). Disruptions of MTHFR can increase risk of cancer.
Up to 40% of the population has some polymorhism in these genes, preventing natural folate in food or supplements to convert in the body to the active form Active Folate. However, Active Folate is available as a supplement, requiring no further conversion in the body. Ordinary folate supplements (usually Folic Acid, which is NOT folate) cannot be converted if the patient has this MTHFR problem, so are useless.
Apart from supplementation, natural methylation pathways can be improved by detoxing, stress management, adequate sleep, reducing toxin exposure, fruits and vegetables, and natural folate sources such as dark leafy greens and lentils.

Vitamin B-12

Depression can be aggravated or even caused by deficiency in vitamin B12. Low B-12 affects around 25% of the population, worse in seniors, because natural stomach acid production declines as we age, and when stomach acid drops below a threshold, B12 cannot be made in the body.
Also, B12 only comes from animal food sources (apart from mushrooms) so is even more of a problem for vegans or vegetarians or those on a calorie restricted diet or those with Celiac disease or other intestinal problems.

Exercise Deficiency

Exercise is one of the most powerful anti-depressants at our disposal, with studies showing it outperforms drug treatment for depression, and also for anxiety disorders.
Exercise helps to control insulin levels (by burning excess blood glucose) and naturally boosts the brain “feel good” hormones. Recently, researchers discovered how exercise helps eliminate kynurenine, a harmful protein associated with depression.

Inflammation

The link between inflammation and depression has been defined. Stress and inflammatory factors activate a process that can metabolise kynurenine. Exercise increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) and is a powerful activator of mitochondrial biogenesis (increasing mitochondria, the “energy” in every cell of the body).

Overcoming Depression and Anxiety Without Drugs

Diet and lifestyle must be improved first to benefit any mental health problems. The body and mind are interrelated. Most people are not aware that the gut has neurons (and so does the heart) so when we have a “gut feeling” this is the way the gut thinks, and is sending messages to the brain and other organs.
The brain and the gut both play a part in mental health.

Coping strategies

  • Get some sunshine. Apart from Vitamin D3, many other beneficial chemicals are released during sunlight exposure, and infra-red heat helps relieve pain
  • Yoga, Tai Chi both help reduce stress and anxiety. Find a group class where interaction with others can help
  • Meditation reduces stress and anxiety. Whatever the problem, always “Let it go”
  • Reiki healing reduces stress and anxiety
  • Keep a journal. Record everything eaten, medications or supplements taken, and actions reducing or increasing stress or depression. Looking back may indicate a problem pattern
  • Exercise improves mood by creating new GABA-producing neurons, producing a calm state, and boosting serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which all buffer stress
  • Get better sleep – this is the time when the body rebuilds itself and repairs the stress damage from the previous day

What NOT to do

The worst thing to do is nothing at all.
Depression has a way of blocking the “light at the end of the tunnel”, resulting in a never-ending downward spiral and a feeling of hopelessness with no way out.
I hope after reading this article, anyone depressed can now see some “light at the end of the tunnel”.
There is ALWAYS a way out, and the first thing to do is “Let it go” – whatever the problem, a personal conflict, a loss of a loved one, financial difficulty, there is ALWAYS a way out and by letting go of all that is troubling us, we can start again with a renewed perspective on life.
Diet, supplements, exercise, and talking to a professional will help most people get relief from depression.

Disclaimer

LeanMachine is not a doctor, and everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been researching nutrition and health since 2011 and has completed many relevant studies including:
Open2Study, Australia – Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia – Foundations of Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia – Chemistry – Building Blocks of the World
University of Washington, USA – Energy, Diet and Weight
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics II
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Principles of Human Nutrition
TUFTS University, USA – Nutrition and Medicine
TUFTS University, USA – Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease I and Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease II
Technical Learning College, USA – Western Herbology, Identification, Formulas
Bath University, England – Inside Cancer
WebMD Education – The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
WebMD Education – High Potassium: Causes and Reasons to Treat
Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands – Anatomy of the Abdomen and Pelvis
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain

LeanMachine has now examined thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.

Updated 5th November 2019, Copyright © 1999-2019 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Posted by: | Posted on: September 24, 2019

From Tomb To Table: Cumin’s Health Benefits Rediscovered

© 20th September 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/tomb-table-cumins-health-benefits-rediscovered

Posted on: Sunday, September 22nd 2019 at 8:30 am
Written By:  Sayer Ji, Founder

Traded along spice routes separating ancient cultures by vast distances, spices like cumin were once worth their weight in gold. Has modern science now revealed why, beyond their remarkable aesthetic value, they were so highly prized?

Many spices are perfectly happy living a charmed life as seasonings, peppering things generously with flavor, and without ever arousing the suspicion that they may be capable of profound acts of healing as well.

Meet cumin, a member of the parsley family, which is to say from a well-known family of healers native to the central Mediterranean region (southern Italy, Algeria and Tunisia).

Cumin’s traditional use stretches back into prehistory, as evidenced by its presence in Egyptian tombs.  The Greeks actually used it much like we use pepper today, keeping cumin at the dining table in its own container, which is still practiced by Moroccans to this day.  It is also been used for millennia in India as a traditional ingredient of curry.

An accumulating body of research now indicates that these ancient “culinary” uses, once considered primarily aesthetic in nature, may have served more fundamental medicinal roles in these cultures.  Modern scientific investigation has revealed that cumin has a broad range of potential healing properties that, when properly applied, could profoundly alleviate human suffering by providing natural alternatives to often highly toxic pharmaceutical interventions.

For instance, research published in the journal Food Chemistry and Toxicology demonstrated that cumin has blood sugar lowering properties comparable to the drug glibenclamide (known in the US as glyburide), with the additional benefit (not conferred by pharmaceutical intervention) that it also lowered oxidative stress and inhibited the advanced glycated end products (AGE), which are implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic microvascular complications.[i]

Remarkably, this is only the tip of cumin’s medicinal potential. There are at least 10 other potential medicinal properties of cumin now confirmed in the experimental literature:

  • Bacterial Infections:  Cumin oil has been shown effective at killing Klebsiella penumoniae bacteria, including decreasing biofilm formation (a defense mechanism of bacteria against antibiotics), as well as enhancing the antimicrobial activity of conventional antibiotic drugs like ciprofloxacin.[ii]  Even more impressive, perhaps, cumin oil has been shown to have anti-MRSA properties.[iii]
  • Candida (Yeast) Infection: Unlike conventional antibiotics which contribute to opportunistic fungal overgrowth, cumin has been shown to have considerable inhibitory activity against 3 different Candida albicans strains of yeast.[iv] It has also been studied to be effective against a wide range of other fungi and yeasts, including Aspergilli and dermatophytes (fungi that cause skin diseases).[v]
  • Cataracts: Cumin has been shown to delay the formation of diabetes-associated cataracts primarily through its anti-glycating properties, i.e. it prevents elevated blood sugar from getting “sticky” (i.e. caramelization) and subsequently damaging tissues in the body.[vi]
  • Cancers: Cumin has been shown in preclinical research to have inhibitory activity against cervical cancer[vii] and colon cancer. [viii]
  • Dental Plaque: Cumin oil has been shown effective as an anti-gingival agent alternative to the chemical chlorhexidine commonly used in mouthwashes.[ix]
  • Diabetes: As mentioned in our opening, cumin has significant anti-diabetic properties. Another 2002 study found that the treatment of diabetic rats with cumin was more effective than the drug glibenclamide, resulting in reductions in inflammation, fatty changes, tissue cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids, blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin – all positive indicators. [x]
  • Food-borne Pathogens – Cumin oil has been found to work synergistically with other food preservation agents to inhibit the growth of food-borne pathogens.[xi]
  • Immune Function: Cumin has been found to effectively stimulate immune function in a way that may benefit immune-compromised individuals.[xii]
  • Fertility (Reversible Contraceptive): Cumin has been found to have potent contraceptive activities in male rats without apparent toxicity.[xiii]
  • Memory Disorders: Cumin has been found to reduce stress-induced oxidative changes in the brain, as well as improving cognition, as determined by acquisition, retention and recovery in rats, in a dose-dependent manner.[xiv]
  • Morphine Dependence/Tolerance: Cumin reduces morphine tolerance and dependence. [xv] [xvi]
  • Osteoporosis: Cumin extract has been shown effective at reversing bone loss associated with the loss of ovarian function at least as well as estradiol.[xvii]
  • Thrombosis (Clot): Cumin seed has been demonstrated to inhibit platelet aggregation, indicating it may prevent pathological blood clotting.[xviii]  [Note: of course this means that it could interact adversely with blood thinners].

The so-called “evidence-based” approach of modern medical science to understanding cumin’s medicinal value is relatively new. Only in the past two decades, but especially in the past ten years, scientific research on spices and culinary herbs has virtually exploded. While enlightening, we must remember that the approach is limited in a number of ways. For one, it relies on animal research, which is both inherently cruel (vivisection) and conveys only approximate data, as these substances often have very different effects in animals than humans.

Also, spices like cumin should not be considered in isolation, as traditional recipes passed down from generation to generation contained a vast storehouse of medically relevant information pertaining to the synergies inherent in combinations of ingredients, modes of preparation, seasonal harvesting, etc. In other words, cumin does not lend itself well to the pharmacological, drug-based model of medicine, which presumes there are monochemical “magic bullets” within complex herbs or spices that must be identified and isolated into megadoses, and which are primarily responsible for their beneficial effects.

Nonetheless, it is welcoming that increasingly science confirms traditional herbalism and culinary practice. Perhaps, as the scientific evidence continues to pour in, we will be more willing to give ourselves permission to appreciate once again the wondrous superfluity of nature, its ceaseless benevolence, and the the fact that issuing directly from her fecund soil, are powerful healing gifts, that we can enjoy sensually, viscerally and now intellectually with greater abandon.


References

  • [iv] Juergen Wanner, Stefanie Bail, Leopold Jirovetz, Gerhard Buchbauer, Erich Schmidt, Velizar Gochev, Tanya Girova, Teodora Atanasova, Albena Stoyanova. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of cumin oil (Cuminum cyminum, Apiaceae). Nat Prod Commun. 2010 Sep ;5(9):1355-8. PMID: 20922990

Originally published: 2012-12-04

Article published: 2019-09-22

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
Posted by: | Posted on: September 23, 2019

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Written by Brenton Wight – LeanMachine, Health Researcher

General History and Prevalence of Autism

Doctors say they do not know what causes autism, and there is no cure, and have no idea why autism rates are sky-rocketing.
30 years ago, autistic children in the USA were just 1 in every 100,000.
In 2008 the rate was 1 in 88, and in 2013 the rate was 1 in 50 and getting worse.
Autism increased 5-fold in the 1990’s in both the UK and the USA, and increased by 78% between 2002 and 2008 in the USA while leveling off to some extent in the UK since 2004.
These figures come from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) statistics, and are for the USA population.
Boys are around 5 times more likely than girls to suffer with autism, for “reasons unknown” according to doctors, but obviously the difference in testosterone/estrogen balance must be the main suspect.
If we add in the cases of ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity and other “brain impairment” conditions, the chances of having a child with some form of mental disability is 1 in 10!
If this increases at the same rate, by 2030 one in two babies born will get autism or some related mental condition!
I have to admit that decades ago, many of these children were simply diagnosed as “naughty” and were never diagnosed as autistic unless the cases were extreme.
However, many cases today are still not diagnosed, and lack of diagnosis can not account for the enormous rise in cases.
Of course, some children diagnosed as autistic are successful people with exceptional abilities that we “normal” individuals do not posses.
Others may be so badly behaved that it is difficult to live in today’s society, unable to communicate, dress themselves or function positively in modern society.
Asperger Syndrome was at first thought to be a mild form of autism, but has now been shown to be a different condition, even though there are similarities. In Asperger’s, speech and intelligence are fairly normal, while other symptoms are close to those in Autism.
SCD – Social Communication Disorder is yet another separately diagnosed condition, where  pragmatic communication is an issue (difficulties using verbal and non-verbal communication appropriately in social situations).

Diagnosis

There is no simple medical test that can give an official diagnosis of Autism.
Autism is diagnosed by the doctor looking at specific behavioral patterns.
Parents are often the first to notice something is wrong when they notice these signs:

  • Failing to make eye contact
  • Not responding to his/her name
  • Playing with toys in unusual, repetitive ways
  • No smiles or joyful expressions by 6 months of age
  • No back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles, facial expressions by 9 months
  • No babbling sounds by 12 months
  • No back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving by 12 months
  • No words by 16 months
  • No meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating) by 24 months
  • Loss of speech, babbling or social skills at any age

New technologies such as neuroimaging are starting to shed some light on the cause of these disorders.
Brains of autistic people process information in a different way, but many “normal” people are also different.

  • Visual thinkers excel at visualizing objects, but are poor at algebra
  • Pattern thinkers excel at music and maths, but may be poor at reading
  • Those with excellent verbal language skills may be poor at drawing pictures
  • Auditory thinkers have fragmented visual perception

SPECT imaging has the ability to identify toxin damage in the brain, and can be important in the diagnosis of various neurological disorders. This imaging technique indicates that many cases of depression or anxiety may be symptoms of brain dysfunction, often the result of exposure to toxins. Other factors include diets lacking nutrition and lack of exercise.

What causes Autism?

There are many possible factors that increase the risk of autism.
Gut flora is paramount for the immune system. The gastrointestinal system, often referred to as our “second brain,” contains 100 million neurons.
This is more than the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. The gut, brain and immune system relation is complex but each part depends on the other.
As research shows most autism patients are low in vitamin D3, have damaged gut flora, and have a compromised immune system, it follows that lack of immunity may increase the risk substantially.

Vaccinations are a factor in the development of autism.
Many cases are diagnosed after a vaccination, but there is no explanation of why some children are affected and some are not.
The riskiest vaccinations appear to be those with additives such as thimerosal (mercury), aluminium, and others, proven to be toxic to mitochondria (the powerhouse in every body cell we need for energy).
See more under the heading Vaccinations.

The Panadol, Paracetamol, Tylenol, Acetaminophin, NyQuil, Percoset, Vicodin Connection

Acetaminophen, known as Panadol or Paracetamol in Australia, and Tylenol in the USA, has been marketed for decades as “safe and effective” for pain and fever.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Other medications such as NyQuil, Percocet, and Vicodin all contain Acetominophen.
In 1978 a study was published linking aspirin to Reyes syndrome, although studies since then have found no link. Since 1978, acetaminophen (Panadol, Paracetamol) has usually been given with vaccinations to prevent fever and pain. 1978 is also when autism cases started a serious trend upward.
A Californian study shows that autism rates elevated alarmingly when acetaminophen was given to children instead of aspirin. Doctor William Shaw, Director of Great Plains Laboratories, looked at Cuban autism rates, finding that only 1 case in 50,000 had autism, compared to USA rates of 1 in 50, or 1000 times the rate in Cuba.
The vaccination rate for Cuba is 99% of all children, even more than the USA.
However, there are two important differences:

  1. In Cuba, acetaminophen is a prescription-only medication, and is never given with vaccinations. Cuban doctors rightly believe that fever is a normal side effect of vaccinations, proving that the immune system is correctly responding to the vaccination. They only give medication if fever is very high or lasts too long. An elevated temperature is the way the body helps identify, destroy and eliminate foreign substances from the body, so why prevent this from happening?
  2. In Cuba, vaccinations are manufactured within Cuba itself, and one must question the ingredients used in the USA and other countries.

This difference in autism rates by a factor of 1000 to one, allowed Dr Shaw to conclude that it was not necessarily the vaccinations, but the acetaminophen (paracetamol) causing autism in the USA and other countries like Australia that use the same products. When Dr. Shaw investigated further, he found that as acetaminophen breaks down, several toxic metabolites are produced. The enzyme called Cytochrome p450 2E1 breaks down acetaminophen into a very toxic metabolite called NAPQI, which attacks glutathione, the body’s predominant natural way of preventing almost every disease.
Glutathione is central to the immune system, and after the vaccination, the immune system is meant to build antibodies, but without Glutathione the immune system is severely compromised.
No wonder so many autistic children have a poor immune system, and more allergies and intestinal problems.

Further evidence comes from many children who were given acetominophen about 5 days before the jab, and started autistic regression even before the vaccination.
Acetaminophen reduces pain by engaging cannabinoid receptors in the brain, the same receptors affected by marijuana use, producing the analgesic effect. However, this analgesic effect comes from the breakdown of acetaminophen, and some children eliminate acetaminophen better or worse compared to others, leading to an unintentional overdose in many children, which not only clobbers the immune system, but also impairs brain development. The particular parts of the brain affected are the neural networks which process social and emotional information and the networks that modulate inhibition. Sometimes speech is also affected. All of these brain problems relate to the typical symptoms of autistic children.

The Dosage Difference

Infants are often given Tylenol liquid in doses high enough for toxic reactions and liver damage when doses are repeated over a few days.
Liver damage from acetaminophen is so common that about 9 out of every 10 patients on the liver transplant waiting list are there because of an overdose of Paracetamol / Panadol / Acetaminophen.
In the USA, the standard dose is 325mg per tablet with 10 tablets maximum in 24 hours (3250 mg daily), and the extra-strong versions are 500mg and up to 6 tablets (3000mg daily).
But in Australia, our regular Paracetamol / Panadol is 500mg and 8 tablets (4000mg daily) is fine, and the extra-strength versions such as Panadol Osteo is 665mg and 6 tablets (3990mg daily), many of our fine doctors say that 8 of these a day is OK (total dose 5320mg per day).
The USA and UK reduced dosages in 2011, but in 2013 the Australian TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) made a statement:
“The TGA has considered these changes and recommends that there should be no change to recommended paracetamol dosing regimens in Australia.”

It is easy to see why liver damage is so prevalent in Australia.
Yes, there are warnings on the packet about liver damage, but there is no “black box” warning where the warning is very clear: Black text on a white background with a black rectangle surrounding the warning. Typical warnings are in a thin font with low-contrast lettering.
If a person is suffering from severe pain, will they take notice of a daily limit warning? I think rarely, as they will usually assume there is a margin of safety, but with acetaminophen / Paracetamol there is no margin, especially in Australia where even the recommended dose for Paracetamol damages the liver and affects the brain, especially those of children.
Will the drug companies spend millions of dollars on a study to see if one of their biggest money-makers causes thousands of young and old lives to be ruined? I am not holding my breath.

Other Toxins

Microbial toxins, such as mould (from the environment or food) may also play a part.
GE (genetically engineered) food, chemicals, additives, antibiotics, sugar, inadequate nutrition and food processing methods all contribute to destruction of gut flora which is essential for immunity, brain function and development of a growing child.
Vitamin D3 deficiency has a proven link with autism. Mothers who have low vitamin D3 during pregnancy have a higher risk of having an autistic child (as well as a greater risk for Type 1 Diabetes in the child).
Vitamin D3 receptors are present in brain tissue early in the fetal development, and once activated with vitamin D3, allows normal nerve and brain development.
Vitamin D3 is also essential for the detoxification of mercury, so low vitamin D3 combined with a shot of extra mercury from a vaccination may just trigger autism.
Electromagnetic radiation from microwave ovens, cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi, satellites, ham radio, commercial two-way radio, emergency services radio and other sources are believed to trap mercury and other heavy metals inside nerve cells, causing toxic damage, especially when there is not enough vitamin D3.

GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome)

Children learn by using sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, etc to collect environmental information which is then processed in the brain.
In children with GAPS (a term coined by Dr. Campbell-McBride), gut toxicity clogs the brain with toxicity, preventing normal processing of sensory information.
Children born with damaged gut flora have a higher risk of vaccine damage.
This may indicate why some children develop autism after receiving one or more childhood vaccinations while others do not.
Other children at risk from vaccinations are siblings of children with autism, severe hyperactivity, obsessive compulsive disorder, mental conditions, and type 1 diabetes.
The MMR vaccine does not contain thimerosal or aluminum but the measles virus in the vaccine may contribute to chronic bowel inflammation, causing harm to the brain.
Apart from autism, GAPS may cause a range of symptoms that can be diagnosed as autism, ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) or many other conditions.
GAPS can also cause digestive issues, asthma, allergies, skin problems, candida (yeast infections), autoimmune disorders, psychological or physiological issues.
Gut flora acquired during vaginal birth is dependent on the mother’s gut flora, so any pregnant woman should maintain gut health before, during and after pregnancy. Children born by Ceasarian have much poorer gut bateria than those born viganally. Sometimes Ceasarians cannot be avoided, but some women have a Ceasarian simply because they want the baby’s birthday to coincide with Grandma’s!
GAPS can be diagnosed within the first weeks of a baby’s life by analysing the stool for gut flora, then a urine test for metabolites to indicate the state of the immune system.
Dr. Campbell-McBride has a book explaining GAPS and the tests available.
Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Dr. Campbell’s website: www.GAPS.me, and blog: www.doctor-natasha.com.
There is an excellent article on the GAPS diet with some great recipes at Jen Reviews

Insecticides

In areas where annual aerial spraying of pyrethroids (larvicide that kills mosquitoes) is carried out, children have a 25 percent higher risk of autism or developmental problem, compared to children living in areas without aerial spraying.
Pregnant women exposed to pyrethroids in the third trimester are more likely to give birth to autistic children. Animal studies show damage to neurological, immune, and reproductive systems. Some pyrethroids disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking estrogen, possibly increasing risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers like breast, ovarian and prostate cancers.
Apart from aerial spraying, thousands of domestic insecticides like roach sprays, flea bombs, and dog flea or tick collars and medicated shampoos contain pyrethrins. Bifenthrin, permethrin and cypermethrin, are all pyrethroids.

Preventing Autism

Paracetamol – Never give children Paracetamol, Panadol, Acetaminophen, Tylenol, etc, especially for fever-related conditions, especially vaccine reactions.
A mild fever is the body’s way of dealing with an infection (or vaccination). One exception: If the fever is too high (over 39.4° to 40°C, or 103° to 104°F), there is a risk for seizures in young children. Most healthy children and adults can tolerate temperatures up to this level without problems.
The best way to lower a high fever to a safe level below 39.4°C (103°F) is to sit the child in a bath of cool water (not cold) and sponge the water over the body. Do drugs required, no side effects, and more effective than any drug.

Vaccinations

Research every vaccination properly, and do not be intimidated by threats of no job, no school, no child care, etc if your child remains un-vaccinated.
It is not only every parent’s right, but also their responsibility to ensure the best health outcomes for their child.
Vaccinations are technically illegal in Australia, a signatory to the Nuremberg Code, which states:

  1. Required is the voluntary, well-informed, understanding consent of the human subject in a full legal capacity. LM: Children cannot comply, as only adults have legal capacity
  2. The experiment should aim at positive results for society that cannot be procured in some other way. LM: Building immunity with vitamins and minerals means no need for vaccinations
  3. It should be based on previous knowledge (e.g., an expectation derived from animal experiments) that justifies the experiment. LM: Vaccinations have limited or no studies to prove effectiveness
  4. The experiment should be set up in a way that avoids unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injuries. LM: Vaccinations contain Mercury, Aluminium, Polysorbate 80 and other chemicals proven to damage humans
  5. It should not be conducted when there is any reason to believe that it implies a risk of death or disabling injury. LM: All vaccinations increase risk of death or injury
  6. The risks of the experiment should be in proportion to (that is, not exceed) the expected humanitarian benefits. LM: Independent Studies show that vaccinations increase risk of Alzeimer’s Disease, Allergies, Diabetes etc which can show up decades after the vaccination
  7. Preparations and facilities must be provided that adequately protect the subjects against the experiment’s risks. LM: No long-term studies exist
  8. The staff who conduct or take part in the experiment must be fully trained and scientifically qualified. LM: Generally Nurses, Lab assistants, Chemists or trainees conduct experiments and vaccinations, seldom doctors
  9. The human subjects must be free to immediately quit the experiment at any point when they feel physically or mentally unable to go on. LM: Vaccine laws are eroding the right to refuse
  10. Likewise, the medical staff must stop the experiment at any point when they observe that continuation would be dangerous. LM: The law is increasingly limiting the right to stop

Of course, ALL vaccinations are in violation of this code.
There has been no vaccination produced in decades where a double-blind, placebo-controlled study has been carried out scientifically to prove the benefit and seek possible side-effects.
Governments who legislate the refusal of a vaccination to mean no job, no unemployment benefit, no school, no child care, are in direct violation of the Nuremberg code.
Read more in my Vaccinations article.
LeanMachine does not claim that every vaccination is bad, however we should avoid multiple vaccinations at any one time, and we should ask for a data sheet listing all ingredients and possible side-effects.
If ingredients include any mercury or aluminium, we should ask for a vaccine without those ingredients.
Vaccines exist with less harmful ingredients and may cost more, but compared to a child’s death or life-long affliction – what price do we place on that?
Ask for large, double-blind, independent studies, not carried out by any drug company, proving that the product has never resulted in sickness or death. They will not be able to give you one.
Ask for a written guarantee that your child will not suffer any serious illness or death after the vaccination, and will compensate you if this happens. No one will ever sign this.
Whistleblowers in the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) admitted that the CDC knew for decades that vaccinations were causing autism, but did nothing. Most of the victims were African-American boys, and over 100,000 ended up with Autism which could have been prevented. Doctors cannot explain why African American boys were affected the most, but LeanMachine proposes that due to the darker skin colour, they have reduced Vitamin D3 levels, a well-known factor in reduced immunity and Autism risk.

Aluminium in Vaccines

Health professionals and parents alike have rallied against the addition of aluminum as an adjuvant (delivery mechanism) in vaccines for many years. The so-called “safe amount” of aluminum exposure for adult humans is 25 mcg, and just 10 mcg for infants.
In the USA, children on the recommended vaccine schedule, receive close to 5,000 mcg of Aluminium before age 2, which is nearly 500 times the safe level of aluminum for an infant.
University of British Columbia researchers published findings in 2013 showing a direct correlation between autism and pediatric vaccines containing an aluminium adjuvant. Many infants receiving vaccines have severe autoimmune and inflammatory reactions, including Autism.

The Hepatitis B Vaccine

The HepB (hepatitis B) vaccine alone, injected into babies only one day old with a still-underdeveloped immune system, gives babies about 250 mcg of aluminium, the beginning of a horrendous vaccine schedule that infants receive in the first few years of life.
This is supposed to prevent Hep B infections due to illicit drug use or sexual behavior with multiple partners. Who in their right mind would allow this in a newborn a few hours old with a still-underdeveloped immune system? The only time this may be considered is if the mother is a drug addict, and may pass a Hep-B infection to the baby. Otherwise, I know of no reason to vaccinate a one-day old baby for a disease they may only acquire from being sexually active or use illegal drugs. LeanMachine recommends that this is prevented, and your instructions must be made clear in writing before the birth, as it often happens without the mother’s knowledge or consent.
For other vaccinations, LeanMachine recommends zero vaccinations until the child is at least 4 years old. This dramatically reduces the risk of Autism to near zero. If a child reaches the age of four without signs of Autism, they are extremely unlikely to get it later.

Vitamin D3

In Australia, we have a multi-million dollar advertising campaign “Slip, Slop, Slap”.
Slipping on long sleeved clothing, Slopping on sunscreen, and Slapping on a hat. Later extended to Seek shade or shelter, Slide on some sun glasses.
This advertising campaign running for three decades, has resulted in a small reduction of less harmful skin cancers, such as Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma, which have only about 1% chance of becoming something more serious, but increased the potentially deadly melanoma form of skin cancer.

From the Slip Slop Slap advertising, one would expect that outdoor workers would be far more likely to get melanomas than office workers, but the reverse is true, obviously because office workers invariably receive too little sunlight, so too little Vitamin D3.
Many people get melanomas where there has never been sun damage, such as the soles of feet or under armpits, again disproving that the sun is the enemy.
In the same time, average Vitamin D3 levels for Australians has dropped significantly due to lack of exposure to sunlight.
School children are forced to wear hats, all playgrounds are covered, parents smother them in sunscreen at the beach or sporting events, and now our children have the lowest Vitamin D3 levels since time began.
No wonder “modern” conditions like autism, Asperger’s, ADD, ADHD, Cancers, Diabetes 1 and 2, Alzheimer’s, Heart attacks, Strokes, Obesity etc have all become epidemic diseases, where a hundred years ago they almost never existed.
Mothers should get 1000 IU daily of Vitamin D3 (not D2), and 2000 IU daily if pregnant, and 5000 IU daily for anyone over 45 unless they get significant sunlight 2 or 3 times a week, on a day with a clear blue sky.
Sunlight on a cloudy day or through a glass window is damaging, as only the harmful UVA radiation hits the skin, blocking all UVB, preventing Vitamin D3 formation.
After birth, children should also take a D3 supplement as soon as they stop drinking milk of any sort.
Note that cow’s milk does contain vitamin D3, but it is poorly absorbed in the human gut after the age of two.
Baby formula is often fortified with vitamin D, but usually an artificial D2, not D3, which does not do the same job, and blocks the real D3 from sun and food from getting in.
I would suggest that in addition to supplementation of vitamin D3, an extra dose of 1000 IU daily for 2 weeks before any vaccination may be advisable.
Increased supplementation is also advisable in winter months, especially in cooler latitudes, as healthy UVB radiation is unavailable when the sun is at low altitudes or on cloudy days.
Note also that vitamin D3 from sunlight has several stages:
7-dehydrocholesterol is made in the liver from cholesterol and migrates to the skin to be altered by UVB to become pre-vitamin D, then carried back to the liver to be mediated by 25-hydroxylase to become 25-hydroxyvitamin D, then mediated again in the kidneys by 1-alpha-hydroxylase to finally become calcitriol, or the active form of vitamin D3, known as 1,25 dihydroxyvitaminD3.
Important: If we shower every day, we “wash off” most the 7-dehydrocholesterol, preventing any pre-vitamin D from forming in the first place.
In addition, as we age, we lose the ability to synthesise Vitamin D3 from sunlight, and those on statin medications such as Lipitor, Zocor, Simvastatin etc (half the aged population) cannot make 7-dehydrocholesterol in the liver, so no Vitamin D3 results.
Also as we age, we generate less stomach acid, losing the ability to take in B12, folate, vitamin K2 and other nutrients that Vitamin D3 requires to do it’s job.
Those who dress fully covered for cultural reasons or those with dark skin always need more Vitamin D3.
Annual blood tests for Vitamin D3 are advisable. For adults, toxic levels for Vitamin D3 are not seen unless we take in some 40,000 IU daily for some months.
Supplement values vary, and the RDA (recommended Daily Allowance) of 60 IU was alarmingly too low, and changed to 400 IU, originally determined as the minimum amount to prevent rickets, but research on immunity was not carried out.
Conservative studies determine that infants less than one year old need 400 IU daily, 1 year to adolescents need 400-600 IU daily, adults need 400-600 IU daily, and adults aged over 70 years need 400-800 IU daily.
I recommend everyone past adolescents take 1000 IU daily, over 35 take 2000 IU, over 50 take 5000 IU, over 70 take 8000 IU daily.
Small doses are fine for strong bones, but for a strong immune system to ward off all disease, high doses are a must.
LeanMachine has taken 5000 IU daily for 10 years, and gets plenty of sun where possible, and has zero colds, flu or any other illness, not even a headache in 10 years, and allergies disappeared! Recently LeanMachine has been taking 10,000IU of Vitamin D3 three days a week, as this is less expensive, and being fat-soluble, is stored in the body for much longer than the water-soluble vitamins.
More info on Vitamin D3 and sunlight here.

Treating Autism

We must understand how autistic children process information, to better design education and activities to improve outcomes.
Children with autism invariably have low vitamin D, and this was thought to be because they spent more time indoors, which obviously could be part of the problem.
However, studies show time after time that vitamin D is essential for balance, coordination and muscle control, which are all old-age symptoms, but often appearing in afflicted children.
All items below may help:

    • Avoid the following:

      • Avoid antibiotics
      • Avoid genetically modified food, invariably contaminated with weedkiller (Glyphosate or Roundup)
      • Avoid foods high in sugar, especially fructose
      • Avoid grains containing gluten – cereals, bread, cakes, cookies, pretzels, anything made from wheat flour
      • Avoid pasta, white potatoes and other high-carbohydrate, high GI foods
      • Avoid pasteurised milk, whey, cream, yoghurt, ice cream and any additive containing casein.
      • Avoid mouldy environments and throw out any mouldy food
      • Avoid tap water or treat water with Reverse Osmosis to reduce fluoride, chlorine and heavy metals
      • Avoid pesticides, herbicides, mercury, aluminium and fluoride
      • Avoid heavy metals, aluminium, preservatives, MSG, artificial colouring, flavourings, in food, soap, shampoo, anything going into or on the body
      • Reduce exposure to electromagnetic radiation from wi-fi, mobile phones, electrical wiring, etc
      • Reduce emotional stress (difficult to do) as a violent reaction to violent behaviour trains the child to repeat that behaviour

Vitamin D3 and Cholesterol During Pregnancy

Vitamin D3 and cholesterol during pregnancy can help protect children from autism.
Cholesterol is a building block for the brain, and vitamin D3 is essential for development of the brain and the Central Nervous System.
If mothers have low vitamin D3, they cannot pass enough vitamin D3 through the placenta for correct foetal development.
Autistic and Asperger’s children have been found to have low cholesterol levels as well as low vitamin D3 levels.
Pregnant women need vitamin D3 levels above 50 ng/ml or 125 mmol/L for development of the brain and central nervous system in the foetus, which can help prevent autism.

Summary

Prevention is always better than treatment for any condition.
There is no magic bullet to cure autism, but science has been too busy looking for such a cure, science has ignored the main preventions:
Gut Health, vitamin D3, toxic environments.
These recommendations are all good for children and adults alike to maintain physical and mental health right through to very old age.

Diet for Autism

See this article and others at www.greenmadinfo.com
Children with autistic spectrum disorders require special dietary management due to their lower plasma concentration of magnesium

LeanMachine Supplements

Disclaimer

LeanMachine is not a doctor, and everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been studying nutrition and health since 2011 and has completed many relevant studies including:
Open2Study, Australia – Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia – Foundations of Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia – Chemistry – Building Blocks of the World
University of Washington, USA – Energy, Diet and Weight
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics II
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Principles of Human Nutrition
TUFTS University, USA – Nutrition and Medicine
TUFTS University, USA – Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease I and Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease II
Technical Learning College, USA – Western Herbology, Identification, Formulas
Bath University, England – Inside Cancer
WebMD Education – The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
WebMD Education – High Potassium: Causes and Reasons to Treat
Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands – Anatomy of the Abdomen and Pelvis
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain

LeanMachine has now examined thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.

Updated 24th September 2019, Copyright © 1999-2019 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Posted by: | Posted on: September 22, 2019

Difference between Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine

What are Carnitines?

L-Carnitine is a food/supplement/amino acid, made in the body or ingested.
Best known for improving muscle growth, reducing excess body fat and repair of damage to the intestinal tract.
Carnitines aid fat loss by converting body fat into muscle or energy.
There are two main types of the five available, L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine:
The Acetyl form of L-Carnitine is the biologically active version of the amino acid L-Carnitine, protecting all body cells from age-related degeneration.
The addition of the Acetyl group in the L-Carnitine molecule also allows it to pass through the blood-brain barrier where it can promote improved mental health and clarity.

Propionyl L-Carnitine is another version, less widely used.
GPLC (Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine) is another ester of carnitine used mainly as a sports supplement.
D-Carnitine supplements interfere with natural L-carnitine by preventing correct absorption of L-Carnitine and may also produce unwanted side-effects. This version should be avoided.

Sources of Carnitine

Carnitines come from the diet, or supplements, or the body can make them, although in smaller quantities.
The body can produce small amounts of L-Carnitine, if all precursors are present:

If the body is deficient in any of the above, carnitine production is compromised.

The Carnitine Diet

Carnitines are found in animal products, particularly red meat, so vegans are usually carnitine-deficient.
Carnitines are made in the liver and kidneys, and stored in cells of the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm.
Carnitines are classified as “non-essential amino acids”, meaning the body can make them, as distinct from the “essential amino acids” which must come from the diet or supplements,
as they cannot be made by the body.
Carnitines carry fatty acids to the mitochondria (the energy-storage area in every cell in the body) where it is converted into ATP (Adenosine triphosphate, cellular fuel).
In the cells, carnitine is available to be burned as fuel, and also removes waste products from this process.
Kidneys remove carnitine if we have too much, and if we have too little, the kidneys hold on to any remaining.
Acetyl L-Carnitine can improve immune function and reduce lipofuscin, a cell-clogging pigment.
Acetyl L-Carnitine works with CoQ10 (Co-Enzyme Q10) and ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid)
to further improve mitochondria function.
The Mitochondria is the “energy pump” within each of the 60 trillion cells in the human body. Without correct mitochondria function, poor health is the consequence.

Difference between Acetyl L-Carnitine and L-Carnitine

Acetyl L-Carnitine is not to be confused with regular L-Carnitine.
L-Carnitine is typically used for weight loss, athletes and body building, but without the brain benefits, as L-Carnitine cannot pass the blood-brain barrier.
Acetyl L-Carnitine is a highly bio-available form, able to cross the blood-brain barrier, helps to maintain normal neurotransmitter activity, commonly used for mental health, but also has muscle-building, fat-loss, immunity and general health properties.

Acetyl L-Carnitine Benefits

Cardiovascular Conditions
Carnitine can be used in conjunction with regular drugs for angina, and may improve exercise ability without chest pain.
Carnitine may help after a heart attack in conjunction with prescription medicines, although not all studies agree.
Carnitine may reduce chance of a second heart attack, death from heart disease, chest pain, abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, heart muscle weakness.

Peripheral Vascular Disease
Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries, plaque build-up in the arteries) causes leg pain or cramps (intermittent claudication). Carnitine may allow more exercise before pain or cramps set in.

Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is a result of nerve damage from high blood glucose levels, causing pain and numbness, mainly in arms, legs, and feet. Acetyl-L-carnitine can reduce pain and increase feeling, and may even help regenerate nerves.

Athletic Performance
Carnitine is often used to increase performance, although evidence varies. Long-term results should improve as muscle replaces fat.

Weight Loss
L-carnitine may help reduce fat, increase muscle, reduce fatigue, and improve the mental willingness to exercise.

Alzheimer’s Disease, Memory, Cognitive Ability
Acetyl L-carnitine may slow Alzheimer’s progression, senility, dementia, and improve nerve cell health, memory and cognitive ability.

Parkinsons
Because of action on dopamine (chemical messenger between nerve cells) and dopamine receptors, Acetyl L-Carnitine may help minimise Parkinson’s symptoms, by enhancing dopamine release from dopaminergic neurons, and by improving binding of dopamine to dopamine receptors. Acetyl L-Carnitine also slows the decline in dopamine receptors as we age (which happens faster with Parkinson’s). Many researchers believe that Parkinson’s may be caused by a dopamine deficiency.  Acetyl L-Carnitine may also help to inhibit tremors in Parkinsons patients.

Male Infertility
Carnitine deficiency can lead to low sperm count and mobility. Supplemental Carnitine may help men struggling to conceive.

Erectile Dysfunction
Propionyl L-carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine may improve ED (Erectile Dysfunction) and may improve Viagra effectiveness for male diabetics, vegans or those recovering from prostate surgery.

Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s disease is a penis curvature causing pain during erections. Acetyl L-Carnitine in studies worked better than prescription medication for reducing pain and assisted reducing penis curve, and without side-effects.

Contraindications

Carnitine can interact with some medications. Talk to your doctor if you are on any prescription medication.

Kidney Disease
Kidney disease can cause carnitine deficiency. Seek medical advice before using any supplements, especially those people on Dialysis.

Hyperthyroidism
L-carnitine may reduce symptoms of Hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid), such as insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitations, high body temperature and tremors.
Carnitine may reduce passage of thyroid hormone into cells, so in theory, thyroid hormone replacement may become less effective.
This could be a problem for those with Hypothyroidism (low thyroid function).
If you take thyroid replacement hormone or have any thyroid issues, talk to your health care provider before taking any form of carnitine.

HIV – AIDS
AZT is medication for HIV and AIDS. L-carnitine supplements appear to protect muscle tissue from damage, a toxic side effect from AZT.

Cancer
Doxorubicin is a chemotherapy medication for cancer. L-carnitine may protect heart cells from Doxorubicin’s toxic side effects (without reducing the chemotherapy effectivness).
Always talk to your oncologist for advice with chemotherapy. If your oncologist does not know, fine one who does know.
See https://www.leanmachine.net.au/healthblog/most-oncologists-admit-they-have-no-training-to-help-patients-live-healthier-lives-new-study/

Acne Medication
Accutane (Isotretinoin) a strong medication used for severe acne which can cause liver problems, as measured by a blood test, as well as high cholesterol and muscle pain and weakness.
These symptoms are like those seen with carnitine deficiency. Researchers in Greece showed that a large group of people who had side effects from Accutane got better when taking L-carnitine compared to those who took a placebo.

Seizures
Depakote (Valproic acid) is an anti-seizure medication which can cause carnitine deficiency. L-carnitine supplements may reduce canitine deficiency and reduce side-effects of valproic acid. L-Carnitine is used medically where a patient has overdosed on Valproic Acid. However, Carnitine may increase seizure risk in those with a history or high risk of seizures, so talk to your doctor or neurologist.

Suggested Adult Use and Dosage

Acetyl L-Carnitine
As a dietary supplement, take 500mg 1 to 3 times per day. Do not exceed 1500mg per day.
LeanMachine suggests 500mg daily as a maintenance dose, and up to 1500mg spread across the day for specific conditions.
Overdosing (5000 grams per day) may cause diarrhoea.

L-Carnitine
One 250mg capsule, taken 1 to 4 times daily. Always consult a qualified medical specialist if taking prescription medication or for any serious illness.

Best buy from iherb.com:
Acetyl L-Carnitine
L-Carnitine

Updated 22nd September 2019, Copyright © 1999 – BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Posted by: | Posted on: September 20, 2019

Eat This Crunchy Veggie to Fight Metabolic Syndrome

© 17th September 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter
Reproduced from original article:
www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/eat-crunchy-veggie-fight-metabolic-syndrome

Posted on: Tuesday, September 17th 2019 at 7:15 am
This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2019

Metabolic syndrome is on the rise due to fast-food diets and inactivity, but you can fight back by adding more celery to your diet. This unassuming vegetable contains a surprising blend of antioxidants, flavonoids and other phytochemicals that work together, tackling metabolic syndrome via multiple pathways

Nature is full of powerful compounds that can boost your health, even in vegetables as unassuming as celery — and for conditions as complex and prevalent as metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is better described as a cluster of risk factors that can increase your risk of multiple chronic diseases, including heart diseasearthritischronic kidney disease and cancer. The risk factors — abdominal obesityType 2 diabeteshigh blood pressure and dyslipidemia (abnormal levels of fats in your blood) — combine to seriously undermine your health, even leading to early death in some cases.[i]

Metabolic syndrome is on the rise — spreading globally — fueled by an increasingly popular fast-food diet, along with decreases in physical activity.[ii] In the U.S., metabolic syndrome increased from 1988 to 2012, at which time more than one-third of U.S. adults met the criteria to be diagnosed with this potentially debilitating condition.[iii]

The good news is that, as researchers wrote in Phytotherapy Research, “lifestyle adjustment and weight loss have a vital role,”[iv] which brings me to the importance of celery — a veggie that offers multiple beneficial effects on metabolic syndrome.

Celery Compounds Decrease Oxidative Damage and Inflammation

An excess of reactive oxygen species (oxidative stress) is a major contributing factor to metabolic syndrome.[v] Everything from poor diet to exposure to environmental pollutants can lead to excessive oxidative stress in your system, but celery (Apium graveolens) contains a wealth of phytochemicals and antioxidants that can decrease oxidative damage. This includes substances such as:

Phenolic acids

Flavones

Flavonols

Vitamin C

Beta-carotene

Manganese

Also impressive, celery contains phytochemicals known to decrease proinflammatory cytokines and inflammation, along with flavonoids that suppress cardiovascular inflammation.[vi] This is important, as low-grade inflammation — the type caused by poor diet and physical inactivity — is linked to metabolic syndrome.[vii]

The duo of oxidative stress and inflammation is primarily responsible for increasing heart disease and atherosclerosis, or hardening and narrowing of the arteries, in people with metabolic syndrome, and celery compounds are effective against both.

Celery Lowers Blood Pressure

Celery can also benefit the high blood pressure often seen along with metabolic syndrome, due to compounds called phthalides (3-n-butylphthalide). Phthalides not only cause celery’s odor but also help to expand smooth muscle, helping to lower blood pressure.[viii]

Anecdotally, celery’s blood-pressure lowering effects were noticed by one set of researchers when a family member’s blood pressure declined after eating one-quarter pound of the crunchy vegetable daily for one week.[ix]

A study using celery seed extract in people with high blood pressure also found the compound led to significant decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.[x]

Celery Is Antidiabetic

Luteolin, a flavone flavonoid found in celery, is anti-obesity and anti-diabetic, helping to suppress inflammation.[xi] In an animal study, a luteolin-enriched supplement even prevented obesity and related metabolic disorders, such as dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and inflammation — the same ones seen along with metabolic syndrome.[xii]

“[T]he most active ingredients in celery … have shown hypolipidemic, antidiabetic, and hypotensive properties,”[xiii] researchers explained, adding clear-cut support for adding this versatile vegetable to your regular diet.

Celery Fights Cancer, Boosts Brain Health

When you add whole foods like celery to your diet, the benefits are far-reaching — a sentiment that’s been understood since ancient times. Traditionally, celery has been used for stomach problems and as a heart tonic, as well as to treat joint problems.[xiv]

Modern research has shown that beyond its role in fighting metabolic syndrome, celery also contains compounds, like the flavone apigenin, that have anticancer activity.[xv] It’s also heralded for being protective to the digestive tract, including protecting the gastric mucosa from ulcers, and can reduce high triglycerides, another hallmark of metabolic syndrome.[xvi]

Further, due to celery’s anti-inflammatory prowess, celery may improve cognitive health by dampening inflammatory cytokines in the brain.[xvii] So while celery doesn’t get nearly the attention as flashier vegetables like kale and broccoli, it’s earned a spot on the list of superfoods worth eating a lot of.

How to Enjoy Celery

Part of what makes celery so lovable, aside from its healthy nature, is its extreme versatility. Add it to salads, soups and stews. Juice it or eat it alone as a snack — the uses for celery are only limited by your imagination. If you choose to cook celery, steaming it may help retain the antioxidants better than boiling or blanching.[xviii]

When choosing celery, look for crisp, bright green stalks — the fresher the better. Also choose organic celery to avoid exposure to pesticides, although it’s worth noting that one of celery’s additional claims to fame is helping to protect against pesticide-induced toxicity.[xix]

Not a fan of celery? Not to worry, as metabolic syndrome responds to a wide range of natural foods and lifestyle changes. Pomegranaterosemarycoffee and nuts are just a few examples of foods that, like celery, are beneficial for metabolic syndrome.

Combined with exercise and other positive lifestyle moves, such as avoiding sugary beverages and artificial sweeteners, you can support your health and even ward off chronic diseases like metabolic syndrome. View the latest evidence on natural substances for metabolic syndrome here.


References

[i] Prev Chronic Dis 2017;14:160287.

[ii] Curr Hypertens Rep. 2018 Feb 26;20(2):12. doi: 10.1007/s11906-018-0812-z.

[iii] Prev Chronic Dis 2017;14:160287.

[iv] Phytother Res. 2019 Aug 29. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

[v] Antioxid Redox Signal. 2017 Mar 20;26(9):429-431. doi: 10.1089/ars.2016.6929. Epub 2016 Dec 19.

[vi] Phytother Res. 2019 Aug 29. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

[vii] Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2004 Oct;14(5):228-32.

[viii] Phytother Res. 2019 Aug 29. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

[ix] Natural Medicine Journal 2013;4(4):1-3.

[x] Natural Medicine Journal 2013;4(4):1-3.

[xi] Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Apr; 17(4): 569.

[xii] Nutrients. 2018 Jul 27 ;10(8). Epub 2018 Jul 27.

[xiii] Phytother Res. 2019 Aug 29. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

[xiv] Pharmacogn Rev. 2017 Jan-Jun; 11(21): 13–18.

[xv] Oncol Rep. 2015 Aug ;34(2):1035-41. Epub 2015 May 29.

[xvi] Pharmacogn Rev. 2017 Jan-Jun; 11(21): 13–18.

[xvii] J Nutr. 2010 Oct;140(10):1892-8. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.123273. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

[xviii] LWT – Food Science and Technology January 2011, Volume 44, Issue 1, Pages 181-185

[xix] Hum Exp Toxicol. 2011 Nov 1. Epub 2011 Nov 1.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
Posted by: | Posted on: September 16, 2019

Why we need B12, B6, Active Folate and TMG

Written by Brenton Wight – LeanMachine, Health Researcher
Updated 2nd December 2019, Copyright © 1999-2019 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12, or Cobalamin, is part of the B group of vitamins, but is different in three respects:

  • The B12 molecule is the largest and most complex vitamin known.
  • B12, like the rest of the B-group vitamins, is water-soluble, but B12 is the ONLY water-soluble vitamin which can be stored in the liver for months, or even years
  • B12 is generally formed in the high-acid stomach, but those with low acid levels cannot form B12.

Benefits of B12

  • Protects brain cells, improves nerve growth and conduction, increasing speed of messages to and from the brain
  • Protects the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells.
  • Protects against Alzheimer’s and other brain-degenerative diseases
  • Mental clarity, concentration, memory, nervous system
  • Circulation
  • Aids in turning food carbohydrates into glucose for energy
  • Fat metabolism, digestion
  • Helps produce DNA and RNA, the genetic material in our cells
  • Increases iron utilisation to build red blood cells, preventing anemia
  • With B9 (folate), helps the manufacture of S-adenosylmethionine to reduce depression and boost the immune system
  • With B9 (folate) and B6, B-12 inhibits homocysteine production, an amino acid linked to heart disease.
  • Adrenal hormone function
  • Energy – physical, emotional, mental

B12 is only found in animal products, apart from mushrooms, which are the only vegetable (actually a fungus) containing B12, but the B12 exists only in the skin of the mushroom which is often peeled off and discarded, and in any case, this is a poor food source of B12.
This is why vegetarians, and especially vegans should take additional B12 supplements.
The elderly are also at risk for B12 deficiency, because as we age, the level of stomach acid tends to drop, and once it drops below a certain point, this ends the conversion process that generates the B12 that can be absorbed.
Many diets recommend that we limit protein from animal products, but this is very wrong. LeanMachine has been a vegetarian for over 40 years, but regularly eats eggs and fish for B12 intake. Even so, B12 levels were low the first time they were checked at around age 64. Since then, daily B12 supplements have built B12 levels to around five times the normal amount. We cannot overdose on B12, unlike Folate and other vitamins.
Unfortunately many doctors never test for B12, and if we are deficient in B12, doctors typically misdiagnose this deficiency, resulting in prescribing drugs that do not help the condition, but may even create side effects that only make us feel worse!
Some PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitor) medications such as Nexium, prescribed for reflux, heartburn and other digestive issues, deliberately lower stomach acid, and there are many off-the-shelf antacids which do the same, and all result in knocking out our Vitamin B12. Note also that microwaving food also knocks out all B12.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency

  • Anaemia
  • Macrocytosis (larger than normal red blood cells)
  • Hypersegmented neutrophils (Nuetrophil blood cells with more lobes than normal)
  • Fatigue, lack of energy
  • Weak legs
  • Forgetfulness, mental fogginess
  • Mood swings, lack of motivation
  • Depression, paranoia, delusions
  • Yellow colour
  • Feelings of apathy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Rapid heart rate (Tachycardia)
  • Shallow breathing, short of breath
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Bleeding or bruising more than normal
  • Persistent constipation or diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Incontinence
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Sore tongue or mouth
  • Bones which easily break, even if a DEXA scan says they are dense
  • Tingling in fingers or toes
  • Strange nerve sensations
  • Muscle Tenderness

Untreated, a severe B12 deficiency may lead to permanent nerve damage.
Not everyone with low B12 will have all symptoms, but having a few of these suggests testing for B12 and Folate.

Who is at Risk?

  • Those aged over 50
  • Vegans, vegetarians
  • Those taking antacids
  • Those on PPI (Proton Pump Inhibotor) medications, e.g. Nexium
  • Diabetics taking Metformin (Diabex)
  • Those having surgery where part of the stomach is removed
  • Those with Ceoliac Disease
  • Those with bacterial overgrowth, stomach and intestines
  • Alcoholics
  • Those taking some anti-seizure medications
  • Those drinking too much water

Research suggests that in the over-50 age group, more than 20% of the population are low in B12, and a fifth of those are seriously deficient.

Recommended Daily Allowance for B12

Official recommended dietary amounts (RDAs) are:

  • Infants 0-6 months, 0.4 mcg
  • Infants 7-12 months, 0.5 mcg
  • Children 1-3 years, 0.9 mcg
  • Children 4-8 years, 1.2 mcg
  • Children 9-13 years, 1.8 mcg
  • Adults: 2.4 mcg daily for ages 14 years and older
  • Pregnant Females: 2.6 mcg daily
  • Breastfeeding Females: 2.8 mcg daily
  • Adults over 50 years old: 20 mcg daily

However, LeanMachine has the opinion that these amounts are way too low. If anyone has any symptoms of deficiency, testing and subsequent supplementation may be required, but beware of cheap supplements containing cyanocobalamin (an artificial chemical made from cyanide) and only use methylcobalamin which is the active form of Vitamin B12. Even though the cyanide in cheap B12 is fairly harmless, and easily excreted into urine, the methyl version can be used directly by the body without conversion, and contributes to the important methylation process, which occurs over a billion times per second in the body.
LeanMachine recommends Active B12 1500mcg 60 vcaps

Testing Vitamin B12

It is important to test Folate at the same time as B12, because a deficiency in one can mask a deficiency in the other.
Blood Test for B12 deficiency:
For a long time, the reference range in Australia has been 135 to 650 pmol/L (pica moles per litre) but this is way too low.
In the 1980’s, Japan lifted their low end of the range to 500, and for those people with the defective MTHFR gene (up to 40% of the population), even this can be too low.
LeanMachine recommends 750 to 1500 as a more desirable range. LeanMachine uses B12 supplements, and tests at the top end of this range.
However, a high B12 reading does not always mean a satisfactory level.
When B12 is low, two enzyme substrates will increase: tHcy (total homocysteine) and MMA (methylmalonic acid). If deficiency symptoms do not go away, these should also be tested.

Treating Low Vitamin B12

Memory loss is a significant symptom, and if diet and/or supplementation is improved within one to two years, full memory can often be restored, but after two years, permanent memory damage may have occurred.
Ideally, we should look at the diet first, and if this does not improve B12, then B12 supplements are essential. If deficiency symptoms are severe, immediate supplementation or a B12 injection is advised.
Because B12 can be stored in the body, B12 injections are only required every 3 months to maintain healthy levels.
Here are some food sources of vitamin B12, arranged from highest to lowest:

Type of Food mcg of B12/serving % of RDA
Shellfish (Clams) 85g/3oz 84 1400
Liver, beef 85g/3oz 70.0 1178
Shellfish (Oysters) 85g/3oz 84 408
Crab, raw, 85g/3oz 9.8 163
Trout, rainbow, wild, cooked, 85g/3oz 5.4 90
Salmon, sockeye, cooked, 85g/3oz 4.9 80
Red Meat (Beef) 85g/3oz 5.1 85
Yogurt, plain, 1 cup 1.4 25
Haddock, cooked, 85g/3oz 1.2 20
Egg (chicken), one extra-large 0.5 20

Chicken is missing from the table above, because one egg has as much B12 as nearly half a chicken. Another case for the egg coming before the chicken!

Who should NOT take Vitamin B12
In those with Leber’s Disease (Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, or LHON, a rare eye disease affecting less than 1 in 50,000) B12 can seriously damage the optic nerve, so B12 should never be taken.

Homocysteine – an inflammatory marker

Homocysteine levels in the blood are a marker of inflammation and cardiovascular disease, and low levels of Vitamin B12 and Folate can raise Homocysteine levels.
High homocysteine levels usually lead to cognitive decline in advancing years, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and many other ageing-related diseases.
Homocysteine is produced in the body as a result of demethylation of methionine utilisation of fats and proteins.
In Australia, doctors seldom order a Homocysteine blood test unless we ask for it. This test can also check for a rare inherited disorder called homocystinurina. The risk for homocystinurina is low, but it is best to rule it out.
If there is a family history of high homocysteine, children should be tested from birth.
The main purpose of the Homocysteine test is to determine if you have increased risk for heart attack or stroke, and a deficiency in B12 and Folate, and all should be tested at the same time.

What is Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of proteins. We can not get homocysteine from the diet.
Homocysteine can only be made from methionine, another amino acid that is found in meat, fish, and dairy products, and this reaction can only happen with enough Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin B12 and folate.
Foods containing methionine are transformed into homocysteine in the blood, and then Vitamin B6 helps convert homocysteine to cysteine. Vitamin B12 related enzymes can also recycle homocysteine back into methionine.
Cysteine is a very important protein, involved in how proteins in cells are folded, maintain their shape, and link to each other, and cysteine is a source of sulfide, taking part in metabolism of iron, zinc, copper and other important minerals. Cysteine also acts as an anti-oxidant. If homocysteine cannot be converted into cysteine or returned to the methionine form, levels of homocysteine in the body increase. Elevated homocysteine levels have been associated with heart attack, stroke, blood clot formation, and perhaps the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Homocysteine Test

Laboratories generally say that normal homocysteine serum levels are between 4 and 15 micromoles per litre, with anything above 15 considered high.
However, the OPTIMAL level of homocysteine is less than 10 or 12 in good labs, but many doctors will ignore readings unless they are flagged on the report (above 15).

CRP  (c-Reactive Protein)

C-Reactive Protein is another important marker for inflammation and risk for strokes, and should be tested if homocysteine results are inconclusive.
Healthy people should ask for the High-Sensitivity test, hs-CRP.
Those in poor health should ask for the regular CRP test, which is not as sensitive, but has a much wider range of values.

Folate, Folic Acid, Folinic Acid, Active Folate

These all sound similar, but most forms have to be converted in the body to the active form that the body can use: MTHF or (6S)-5-MethylTetraHydroFolate, commonly calles Active Folate.
Up to 40% of the population have a MTHFR gene polymorphism. The MTHFR gene helps make  methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase, an enzyme involved in processing amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.
Unfortunately, consumption of Folic Acid can aggravate this MTHFR gene polymorphism, making the problem worse, blocking the real folate, increasing cancer risk and causing other health problems.

Treating High Homocysteine

Because homocysteine is missing CH3 (the methyl group), the best way to lower homocysteine is to add a methyl donor, which will aid the breakdown of homocysteine into methionine.
The following are all methyl donors:

Studies

In a 2-year study of people aged over 70 with elevated Homocysteine levels over 11.3 micromoles/litre, patients were given either a placebo or Folic Acid 800mcg, Vitamin B12 500mcg, and Vitamin B6 20mg daily.
Most of those on the placebo showed distinct cognitive decline. Those on the supplements showed no decline or much more moderate decline.

  • A 2-year study of people aged 60 to 74 with symptoms of depression using smaller doses and only Folic Acid 400mcg and Vitamin B12 100mcg taken twice daily, showed small but significant improvements in short-term and long-term memory
  • An 8-year study of several hundred people in their seventies showed that those having the lowest levels of B12 in their blood (under 257 pmol/l), 40% of the group, had the highest rates of cognitive decline. Formerly, the official danger point for B12 was set at 148 pmol/l (picomoles per litre), but this study confirms that this level is too low, and that most people aged 50 or over should either consume foods fortified with B12 or take supplements
  • A 2-year study showed that B12 and Folic Acid supplements significantly reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • A study found that although bone density remained the same in the B12 and Folate group as well as the placebo group, the number of bone fractures was 80% less in the supplement group.
    It appears that high homocysteine levels interfere with the way collagen works to strengthen bone

Food Sources of B Vitamins

All B-group vitamins come primarily in meat and eggs, the only exception being mushrooms as the only “vegetable” with B-group vitamins).
ALL vegetarians and especially vegans should supplement with Active B12 and Active Folate.
Almost all seniors need B12 because of reduced stomach acid as we age, and anyone taking statin drugs (e.g. Simvastatin, Lipitor, etc for Cholesterol) or heartburn medication (Nexium) (or off-the-shelf remedies) MUST supplement with B12 because stomach acid will not be strong enough for the body to produce any B12 at all.

As we age, we also lose our ability to absorb B12, B6 and Folate from foods, so most people over 50 should supplement.
Many younger people are also deficient in B-group vitamins due to diet, health, lifestyle, genetic makeup or illness, so annual blood tests are recommended for everyone.

Around 20% of the population suffer from Folate deficiency, but too much Folate (over 1000mcg or 1mg daily) can be toxic to the liver.
However, we cannot overdose on B6 or B12. No side-effects have ever been observed at extremely high doses.

TMG – TriMethylGlycine

The TMG molecule consists of three methyl groups (CH3) and one glycine group (C2H5NO2).

The advantage of TMG is that it can donate all three methyl groups, leaving pure glycine.

Glycine is very important for body functions, including:

  • Build lean muscle mass
  • Preventing sarcopenia (muscle loss, muscle wasting)
  • Producing human growth hormone
  • Improving memory and mental performance
  • Reducing risk of strokes and seizures
  • Protecting skin from aging and cell mutations
  • Increasing collagen in joints, reducing joint pain
  • Improving flexibility and range of motion
  • Lowering blood glucose, reducing risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Reducing inflammation and free radical damage
  • Increasing glutathione production
  • Reducing risk for some cancers
  • Building gastrointestinal tract lining
  • Producing bile salts and digestive enzymes
  • Reducing allergic and autoimmune reactions
  • Increasing energy levels, fighting fatigue
  • Increasing red blood cell production
  • Reducing stress,  anxiety
  • Controlling symptoms: seizures, schizophrenia, mental disorders

The following are my recommended supplements:

LeanMachine Supplements

Disclaimer

LeanMachine is not a doctor, and everyone should consult with their own health professional before taking any product to ensure there is no conflict with existing prescription medication.
LeanMachine has been studying nutrition and health since 2011 and has completed many relevant studies including:
Open2Study, Australia – Food, Nutrition and Your Health
RMIT University, Australia – Foundations of Psychology
Swinburne University of Technology, Australia – Chemistry – Building Blocks of the World
University of Washington, USA – Energy, Diet and Weight
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Health Issues for Aging Populations
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – International Nutrition
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics I
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Methods in Biostatistics II
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA – Principles of Human Nutrition
TUFTS University, USA – Nutrition and Medicine
TUFTS University, USA – Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease I and Lipids/Cardiovascular Disease II
Technical Learning College, USA – Western Herbology, Identification, Formulas
Bath University, England – Inside Cancer
WebMD Education – The Link Between Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation
WebMD Education – High Potassium: Causes and Reasons to Treat
Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands – Anatomy of the Abdomen and Pelvis
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) – A Clinical Approach to the Human Brain

LeanMachine has now examined thousands of studies, journals and reports related to health and nutrition and this research is ongoing.

Updated 2nd December 2019, Copyright © 1999-2019 Brenton Wight and BJ & HJ Wight trading as Lean Machine abn 55293601285

Posted by: | Posted on: August 27, 2019

Cracking the Cholesterol Myth: How Statins Harm The Body and Mind

© 26th August 2019 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter

This article is copyrighted by GreenMedInfo LLC, 2019

Cracking the Cholesterol Myth: How Statins Harm The Body and Mind

The chemical war against cholesterol using statin drugs has been wrongly justified through statistical deception and the ongoing cover up of over 300 adverse health effects documented in the biomedical literature.

Better safe than sorry, right? This is the logic that defines the grasp that the pharmaceutical company has on our psyche. Perhaps your mother, father, brother, and boyfriend have been recommended cholesterol-lowering medication, just to help hedge their bets around a possible chest-clutching demise. In fact, recent guidelines have expanded the pool of potential statin medication recipients, so that there are very few of us who seem to be walking around with acceptable levels of artery clogging sludge.

But how is it that drug companies got a foothold? How have they convinced doctors that their patients need these medications, and need them now? They are banking (literally) on the fact that you haven’t brushed up on statistics in a while.

It turns out that a common sleight of hand in the medical literature is the popularization of claims around “relative risk reduction” which can make an effect appear meaningful, when the “absolute risk reduction” reveals its insignificance.  In this way, 100 people are treated with statin medications to offer 1 person benefit, and the change from a 2% to a 1% heart attack rate is billed a 50% reduction rather than a 1% improvement, which is what it actually is.

Perhaps this would still qualify as better safe than sorry if these medications weren’t some of the most toxic chemicals willfully ingested, with at least 300 adverse health effects evident in the published literature so far, with at least 28 distinct modes of toxicity, including:

Beyond the known fact that statin drugs deplete the body of two essential nutrients: coenzyme Q10 and selenium, they are also highly myotoxic and neurotoxic. Because the heart is one of the most nerve-saturated muscles in the human body, these two modes of toxicity combined represent a ‘perfect storm’ of cardiotoxicity – a highly ironic fact considering statin drugs are promoted as having ‘life-saving’ cardioprotective properties.

powerful expert review by Diamond and Ravnskov decimates any plausible indication for these cholesterol-lowering agents, giving full consideration to the above mentioned side effects.

They plainly state:

“Overall, our goal in this review is to explain how the war on cholesterol has been fought by advocates that have used statistical deception to create the appearance that statins are wonder drugs, when the reality is that their trivial benefit is more than offset by their adverse effects.”

The Cholesterol Meme

It’s tempting to look the number one killer of Americans in the eye, and say, “WHO did this? Who is responsible?” It is also consistent with American perceptions of health and wellness to demonize a natural and vital part of our physiology rather than look at lifestyle factors including government subsidies of inflammatory food products.

Not only is low cholesterol a problem, but it puts an individual at risk for viral infection, cancer, and mental illness because of the vital role that lipids play in cell membrane integrity, hormone production, and immunity.

A broadly toxic xenobiotic chemical, statin medications have only been demonstrated to be of slight benefit by statistical manipulation. For example, Diamond and Raynskov elucidate that:

  • The JUPITER trial of Crestor vs placebo resulted in increased fatal heart attacks in the treatment group which were obscured by combing fatal and nonfatal infarctions.
  • In the ASCOT trial was used to generate PR copy boasting Lipitor’s 36% reduction of heart attack risk, a figure arrived at through use of relative risk reduction from 3 to 2%.
  • The HPS study has 26% drop out rate prior to the beginning of the trial (which also demonstrated a 1% improvement with treatment), so that those with significant side effects were functionally excluded from the study.

While no study has ever shown any association between the degree of cholesterol lowering and beneficial outcomes described in terms of absolute risk reduction (likely because they would be perceived as insignificant), the adverse effects are not only always presented in these terms, but are also minimized through the technique of splitting common side effects up into multiple different categories to minimize the apparent incidence.

These side effects are real and common and include “increased rates of cancer, cataracts, diabetes, cognitive impairment and musculoskeletal disorders”.  Their paper focuses on three primary adverse effects, all of which  are likely to land you in the “sorry to have thought I would be better safe than sorry” category.

Cancer

In at least four trials, statistically significant increases in cancer incidence was found, and handily dismissed by all authors as insignificant because they claimed “no known potential biological basis” is known.  This may be because the authors are still thinking of cancer as a genetic time bomb that has nothing to do with mitochondrial dysfunction, loss of lipid integrity, or environmental exposures.

With statistically significant increases in cancer incidence and deaths, in some trials, the minimal cardiovascular benefit is far eclipsed by the cancer mortality. In one of the only long-term trials, there was a doubling of the incidence of ductal and lobular breast cancer in women taking statins for more than ten years. One of many reasons that women should never be treated with these medications.

Myopathy

As one of the more well-known side effects of statins, muscle breakdown and associated pain, or myopathy has also been obscured in the literature.  Despite an incidence up to 40% in the first months of treatment, researchers only catalogue patients who had muscular symptoms in addition to elevations in a blood measure called creatine kinase (CK) at ten times normal for two measures (not 9.9, not 8, and not one measure).

In fact, a 2006 study in the Journal of Pathology found that statin therapy induces ultrastructural damage in skeletal muscle in patients without myalgia,” indicating that statin-associated muscle damage may be a universal, albeit mostly subclinical problem for the millions put on them.

Central Nervous System Dysfunction

Linked to suicide in men, depression including postpartum, and cognitive dysfunction, low cholesterol is not a desirable goal for the average psychiatric patient, aka half of the American population.

It turns out that 25% of the total amount of cholesterol found in the human body is localized in the brain, most of it in the myelin sheath that coats and insulates the nerves:

 “It has been estimated that up to 70% of the brain cholesterol is associated with myelin. Because up to half of the white matter may be composed of myelin, it is unsurprising that the brain is the most cholesterol-rich organ in the body. The concentration of cholesterol in the brain, and particularly in myelin, is consistent with an essential function related to its membrane properties. “[i]

The cell membrane, specifically, is highly vulnerable to damage by statins:

“The cell membrane is an 8 nanometer thick magical pearly gate where information, nutrients, and cellular messengers are trafficked through protein gates supported of phospholipids and their polyunsaturated fatty acids. Cholesterol and saturated fat provide essential rigidity in balance with other membrane components. Without them, the membrane becomes a porous, dysfunctional swinging gate. In a self-preservational effort, cholesterol supports production of bile acids, integral to the breakdown and absorption of consumed essential dietary fats.” Source

By extension, behavioral and cognitive adverse effects may be the manifestation of this fat-based interference.  Diamond and Ravnskov state:

“A low serum cholesterol level has also been found to serve as a biological marker of major depression and suicidal behavior, whereas high cholesterol is protective [54–57]. In a study by Davison and Kaplan [58], the incidence of suicidal ideation among adults with mood disorders was more than 2.5-times greater in those taking statins. Moreover, several studies have shown that low cholesterol is associated with lower cognition and Alzheimer’s disease and that high cholesterol is protective.”

review article called Neuropsychiatric Adverse Events Associated with Statins: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Prevention and Management discusses the state of the literature around the intersection between mental health and cholesterol control. Despite generally dismissing a strong signal for concerning psychiatric adverse events, the article seems to conclude the following:

  • Severe irritability, homicidal impulses, threats, road rage, depression and violence, paranoia, alienation, and antisocial behavior; cognitive and memory impairments; sleep disturbance; and sexual dysfunction have all been reported in case series and national registries of those taking statin medications.  Sound like the laundry list of rapidly spoken side effects at the end of a drug commercial? To anyone with a history of or current psychiatric symptoms, the role of these now ubiquitous medications should be appreciated.
  • The signal for lipophilic statins – simvastatin and atorvastatin – was stronger which makes mechanistic sense since these medications penetrate the brain and brain cholesterol deficiency has been implicated in bipolar, major depression, and schizophrenia.

Of course, none of these findings nor their suppression should be surprising because there is no pharmaceutical free lunch, and because Americans are so accustomed to interfacing with human health through the lens of a one pill-one ill model. We are yanking on that spider web and expecting only one thread to pull out.  This perspective would be less disturbing if it didn’t serve as the foundation for medical practice, determined by boards such as the American College of Cardiology and The American Heart Association , the majority of whom have extensive ties to the pharmaceutical industry. An industry that has paid out 19.2 billion dollars for civil and criminal charges in the last 5 years alone.

So, the next time you hear of a doctor recommending a cholesterol-lowering intervention, tell him you’ll take that 1% risk and spare yourself cancer, cognitive dysfunction, myopathy, and diabetes. And then go have a 3 egg omelette WITH the yolks.

Originally published: 2015-02-27

Article updated: 2019-08-26

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
Posted by: | Posted on: August 24, 2019

Why you’re addicted to your cellphone

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola  Fact Checked – August 24, 2019
Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/08/24/addicted-to-cellphones.aspx

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The featured CBC Marketplace program, “Why You’re Addicted to Your Smartphone,” goes behind the scenes, talking to tech insiders about how cellphone addiction is manufactured, and the effects thereof
  • Internet addiction — the inability to unplug — has been shown to take a toll on cognition and focus, as it’s a constant source of distraction
  • The “Moment” app tracks the amount of time you spend on any given app, allowing you to see just how much of your life you’re frittering away
  • Silicon Valley companies use artificial intelligence and neuroscience to create more engaging and persuasive apps, maximizing the addictive potential of your smartphone
  • Commonly used habit-forming tools include pleasure hooks, variable awards, “the infinite scroll” and loss aversion techniques

This article will focus on the social addiction issue of cellphone use and does nothing to address the electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures, which I cover carefully in my next book “EMF’d,” slated for publication in early 2020.

As a lover of technology, it pains me to see what technological advancements are doing to the psychological health of so many, especially our youth. Children today cannot even fathom a life pre-internet — a life where school work involved library visits and phone calls required you to stay in one spot (since the telephone was attached to the wall).

Children and parents alike now spend an inordinate amount of time on their smartphones, communicating with friends (and possibly strangers) via text, on Twitter and Facebook, and work to keep up their Snapstreaks on Snapchat.

Even many toddlers are proficient in navigating their way around a wireless tablet these days. Smartphones have changed the way people interact socially, especially teens, and this has significant ramifications for their psychological health.

This is a topic covered in-depth in Jean Twenge’s book “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood — and What That Means for the Rest of Us.”1

A majority of teens’ social life is carried out in the solitude of their bedroom via their smartphones, Twenge points out in a 2017 article2 adaptation of her book, published in The Atlantic, and this lack of face-to-face interaction has a steep psychological price: loneliness. Internet addiction — the inability to unplug — has also been shown to take a toll on cognition and focus, as it’s a constant source of distraction.

Your cellphone — A necessity or a convenience?

The featured CBC Marketplace program, “Why You’re Addicted to Your Smartphone,”3 goes behind the scenes, talking to tech insiders about how cellphone addiction is manufactured, and the effects thereof.

According to Marketplace, people use their cellphones for an average of three hours a day, and as shown in the footage, many are in the habit of perusing their cellphones while walking — completely oblivious to their surroundings.

Over their lifetime, teens will spend “nearly a decade of their life staring at a smartphone,” CBC reporter Virginia Smart writes in an accompanying article.4 If you frequently feel you don’t have enough time in the day to get more productive things done, perhaps your cellphone usage is part of the problem, siphoning off valuable time from each day.

Still, most agree their phone has become a “necessity” rather than a convenience. Forgetting their phone at home, or losing it, is frequently described as a disaster.

“My entire life is on my phone,” one man says.5 “I don’t know where I’d be [without it].” Just how did we get to this point? “It’s part of a plan you didn’t even know you signed up for,” CBC correspondent David Common says.

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Variable rewards and other mind tricks

To investigate real-world usage, CBC Marketplace enlists an Ontario family of five in an experiment: An app on their phone will track each family member’s usage over a two-month period. The app, called “Moment,”6 tracks the amount of time you spend on any given app, allowing you to see just how much of your life you’re frittering away.

Tracking the usage of all users, everywhere, is also being done by Silicon Valley companies in an effort to figure out how to make us use their apps even more. One of them is Dopamine Labs, founded by Ramsay Brown, which uses “artificial intelligence and neuroscience to track your usage, loyalty and revenue.”7

As explained by Brown, they use AI and the science of the mind to “make apps more engaging and persuasive.” In other words, they use science to maximize the addictive potential of your smartphone.

The secret is rather simple. Apps that trigger pleasure become addictive. As noted by CBC Marketplace, it’s rather telling that the two leading creators of the smartphone revolution, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, both admitted limiting their children’s use of their revolutionary devices — probably because they knew something the rest of us didn’t.

We’re not really designing software anymore,” Brown says. “We’re designing minds.” Just how is this done? Some of the most commonly used habit-forming tools include:8

Pleasure hooks — This could be a notification of “Congrats!” or “Good job!” or a high-five icon after you’ve completed an action, for example. On social media platforms, getting “Likes” accomplishes the same thing. The ability to collect followers is yet another hook.

Variable rewards — As explained by Marketplace, a key method used to trick your mind into addictive behavior is known as “variable rewards.” In a nutshell, it means you’re never sure what you’re going to get. How many “Likes” will your post garner? How many followers or points can you get? How long can you maintain a streak?

As with other types of gambling, this uncertainty coupled with the prospect of a pleasure reward is what feeds the compulsion to keep going.

The infinite scroll — Another “hook” perfected by social media is that never-ending stream of content and commentary that can keep you going indefinitely.

Loss aversion — While starting out as a pleasurable activity, at a certain point, your continued usage morphs into a prison of your own making — you “can’t” stop using the app, or you’ll experience let-down and disappointment. Snapchat’s snapstreak is a perfect example of how apps cash in on loss aversion.

“Brain hacking” techniques such as these have led to 6% of the global population now struggling with internet addiction, according to a 2014 study,9 rivaling that of illicit drug use.10

The problems with overuse and abuse of cellphones lead to sleep disturbances, anxiety, stress and depression,11 as well as an increased exposure to electromagnetic field radiation, which also places your health12,13 and mental14 well-being at risk.

Internet addiction is on the rise

Marketplace interviews Lisa Pont, a social worker at the Canadian Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, where people are now coming into the program because their smartphone usage has become a problem.

“Research is starting to show that technology has an impact on memory, concentration, mood, [causing] anxiety and depression; it has an impact on sleep, it has an impact on overall well-being,” Pont says.

Children, Pont stresses, are particularly vulnerable due to their innate lack of self-control, and really need parental guidance and limits on their device usage. “It’s too tempting at that age to mitigate their own use,” Pont says, pointing out that children’s brains are not fully developed, hence they lack impulse control and the ability to foresee the consequences of their behavior.

Cellphone use and depression

As noted by Twenge in her article15 “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” rates of teen depression and suicide have dramatically risen since 2011, and data suggest spending three hours or more each day on electronic devices can raise a teen’s suicide risk by as much as 35%.16

Spending 10 or more hours on social media each week is also associated with a 56% higher risk of feeling unhappy, compared to those who use social media less, and heavy social media users have a 27% higher risk of depression.17

“It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades,” Twenge writes,18 adding that “Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones …

There is compelling evidence that the devices we’ve placed in young people’s hands are having profound effects on their lives — and making them seriously unhappy.”

How much time are you spending on your phone?

After tracking Jackson, age 8, for two months, his average daily screen time came out to five hours and 32 minutes, but on some days, he spends nearly 11 hours on his tablet — basically the whole entire day. At his current pace, his projected lifetime screen time amounts to a whopping 15 years.

His mother admits being worries about her young son’s screen time, especially as she’s noticed he typically prefers spending time on his tablet over all other social interactions and activities. Meanwhile, the family’s 16-year old, Emily, trades her sleep for social media. She admits getting caught up in the infinite scroll; before she knows it, hours may have passed.

As noted by in Twenge’s Atlantic article,19 sleep deprivation among teenagers rose by 57% between 1991 and 2015. Many do not even get seven hours of sleep on a regular basis, while science reveals they need a minimum of eight and as much as 10 hours to maintain their health. Twenge writes about the habits of the teens she interviewed:

“Their phone was the last thing they saw before they went to sleep and the first thing they saw when they woke up … Some used the language of addiction.

‘I know I shouldn’t, but I just can’t help it,’ one said about looking at her phone while in bed. Others saw their phone as an extension of their body — or even like a lover: ‘Having my phone closer to me while I’m sleeping is a comfort.’”

Emily is no different, admitting that checking her phone is part of her morning and evening routines. It’s the first thing she does upon waking, and the last thing she does before bed. For Emily, a large part of her day revolves around Snapchat. She uses the app continuously to keep in touch with her friends — even when they’re sitting right next to her.

As mentioned, Snapchat uses a technique known as “loss aversion” to keep their users using. Emily has a Snapchat streak that has been going for nearly two years, and now she feels compelled to not break it, which is what loss aversion is all about.

On many days, Emily’s phone stays in use for nearly 7.5 hours. The Moment app clocked her picking up her phone up to 100 times a day during the monitoring period. On average, she spends 30% of her waking hours on her phone. Her parents are not far behind, each averaging about 21%.

Symptoms of internet addiction

Symptoms of internet or cellphone addiction are similar to other types of addiction, but are more socially acceptable. As noted in one study, internet addiction (IA) is:20

“[G]enerally regarded as a disorder of concern because the neural abnormalities (e.g., atrophies in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex) and cognitive dysfunctions (e.g., impaired working memory) associated with IA mimic those related to substance and behavioral addiction. Moreover, IA is often comorbid with mental disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.”

According to Psycom.net, conditions that can increase your risk of internet addiction or compulsion include anxiety, depression, other addictions and social isolation or awkwardness.21 Common emotional symptoms of internet addiction include:22

Boredom with routine tasks Dishonesty and defensiveness Feelings of guilt, fear or anxiety; mood swings
Experiencing euphoria while online Procrastination; inability to prioritize tasks or keep schedules Avoidance of work

Physical symptoms of internet addiction disorder can include:23

Backache, headache, neck pain Carpal tunnel syndrome Dry eyes and other vision problems
Insomnia Poor nutrition; weight gain or weight loss Poor personal hygiene

Notifications take a significant toll on your cognition

If you’re like most, you probably have an array of notifications set on your phone. According to Marketplace, these notifications concern experts, who warn the constant pinging, beeping and buzzing actually has significant consequences for your cognition.

Marketplace correspondent Commons visits Western University, where a lot of cognition research is being conducted. He participates in a test to evaluate his ability to focus, and to see how distractions from his phone affects his attention and cognition.

First, Commons performs the attention test without his phone. For the next round of testing, his phone is left on, nearby. And, while he can’t see it, he can hear it — incoming phone calls, texts and the pinging of incoming social media notifications.

For the third part of the test, Commons has to recall numbers being texted to him. “It reflects how we normally interact with our phones,” the researcher explains. You might text details to a coworker, for example, or your spouse might ask you to buy milk on the way home.

Commons admits the distractions caused by his phone significantly interfere with his ability to concentrate on the task at hand. Even vibration without sound causes problems. Just how big of a problem? Commons’ verbal comprehension declined by nearly 20% when phone distractions were allowed.

One simple step that can eliminate many of these distractions is to simply turn off all notifications. Still, simply having your phone nearby can be enough to take your mind off what you’re doing.

A study24,25 using a group of more than 50 college students found that performance in complex tasks was worse when the participant could see a cellphone present, whether it was the study leader’s phone or their own, as compared to the performance of tasks when no cellphone was visible.

As noted by Brown, smartphones are here to stay, and app developers are getting increasingly sophisticated at capturing your attention. Smartphone users therefore need to become savvier, and learn to make conscious choices about how they use their devices.

The question is, “Who do we want to be?” Brown says. Modern technology really requires you to shape yourself (or be shaped by software developers), and to use your devices in a way that helps you rather than hinders you from living your best life.

Posted by: | Posted on: August 11, 2019

Coca-Cola seeks revision of fortification guideline

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked – August 07, 2019
Reproduced from original article:
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/08/07/coca-cola-seeks-revision-of-fortification-guideline.aspx

Story at-a-glance

  • The Coca-Cola Co. is seeking permission to add vitamins to various drinks in its assortment, but adding vitamins and minerals does absolutely nothing to change the detrimental impact of sugary beverages
  • Coca-Cola is also asking the FDA to expand antioxidant claims. At present, antioxidant claims can only be made for substances for which there are established daily values. Coke wants this rule expanded to include substances that do not have established recommended DV
  • Vitamin gummy bears have circumvented FDA’s fortification guideline by being marketed as a supplement rather than candy, although it could reasonably be argued to be both
  • There are several reasons to avoid vitamin gummies: They’re high in sugar, have unreliable nutrient content, are contaminated with impurities more frequently than other supplements, contain artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and fillers, and pose an overdose risk due to their resemblance to candy
  • Gummy fruit snacks are a perfect example of an unhealthy snack marketed as healthy. Whether the primary ingredient is corn syrup or concentrated fruit juice, they contain mostly sugar, and contrary to real fruit, these snacks are loaded with artificial flavors and dyes

In February 2019, I wrote about the introduction of nutritionally fortified artificial sweeteners. Merisant launched a new zero calorie sweetener called Sugarly Sweet exclusively on Amazon in late January 2019, and has also created a brand-new line of artificial sweeteners fortified with vitamins and minerals.1

The fortified sweeteners are sold under the company’s Equal Plus brand, and are available in three versions: vitamin C and zinc;2 vitamins B3, B5 and B12;3 or vitamins C and E.4

The products are marketed as a “good source” of these nutrients, as a single packet provides 10% of the daily recommended value of the added vitamins and minerals. Clearly, this is nothing more than a marketing ploy.

Similarly, The Coca-Cola Co. is now seeking permission to add vitamins to various drinks in its assortment, but make no mistake — adding vitamins and minerals does absolutely nothing to change the detrimental impact these products have on your health, be it artificial sweeteners or sugary beverages.

Coca-Cola wants FDA to ease up on fortification rule

For decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has discouraged “indiscriminate addition of nutrients to foods,” including and especially pertaining to “snack foods such as candies and carbonated beverages.”5

Coca-Cola is now pushing the FDA to ease up on this so-called “jelly bean rule” (so called because companies cannot fortify candy such as jelly beans for the purpose of making a health claim). The reason for this FDA guideline is fairly obvious. It’s there to prevent food and beverage manufacturers from marketing junk food as healthy.

In an October 24, 2018, article6 for FOOD Navigator-USA, editor Elaine Watson reported that Coca-Cola has asked the FDA to update its fortification policy “to reflect changes in consumers’ dietary patterns and innovation in the marketplace.”

According to Coca-Cola, the jelly bean guideline damages the company’s “ability to innovate with new carbonated water, tea and juice beverages.” The primary intent behind the request, Coca-Cola claims, is to fortify sparkling beverages, not to add vitamins to soda, snack foods or beverages with “significant amounts of added sugar.”

Interestingly, Coca-Cola is already marketing Vitaminwater which, as its name implies, is fortified water — with plenty of added sugar. As noted by Marion Nestle in a July Food Politics post:7

“Some Vitamin Waters have as much sugar as a Coke. They have Nutrition Facts labels and are marketed as foods, and look to me to be in violation of the jelly bean rule. The FDA hasn’t done anything about them, even though they are vitamin-enriched sugar water. If you have any idea why not, please tell me.”

Indeed, the only difference between Vitaminwater and the type of beverages Coca-Cola is now asking permission to fortify is carbonation. Carbonated beverages “can be beneficial options in a person’s diet, so it is recommended that FDA recognize that the simple addition of carbonation should not prohibit the sale of a product under the fortification guideline,” Coca-Cola told the FDA.8

The company is also asking the FDA to expand antioxidant claims. At present, antioxidant claims can only be made for substances for which there are established daily values. Coca-Cola would like the agency to expand this rule to include substances that have “substantiated antioxidant activity that do not have an established recommended DV.”

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The latest fad: Functional junk food

Candy makers are also trying to weasel more nutrients into candy in an effort to give the sweet stuff an aura of healthiness. Nestle offered several examples of candy makers taking a page out of the snack foods’ marketing book in a June 2018 post.9 Among them:

  • Rainmaker’s chocolate products, which contain nuts and protein as “functional” ingredients “to give consumers an energy boost”10
  • Supertreats, which mimics chocolate using carob powder instead, along with “minimally processed superfood ingredients such as chia seeds and blueberries for a nutritional boost”11
  • Get More Multivitamin Chewing Gum — said to provide 25% of your recommended daily allowance of 10 vitamins after 20 minutes of chewing12

Then there’s vitamin gummy bears — a tantalizing mixture of candy and vitamin supplement marketed to kids and adults alike. As noted by Nestle,13 vitamin gummies have managed to circumvent the FDA’s jelly bean guideline by being marketed as a supplement rather than candy, although it could reasonably be argued to be both. But are gummy vitamins all they’re cracked up to be? In short, no. There are several reasons to avoid them the way you would candy.

Reasons to avoid vitamin gummies

For starters, unless it specifies being made from whole food nutrients, the product probably contains synthetic vitamins and/or minerals, many of which are known to be less effective, and in some cases, may do more harm than good. You’re also getting added sugars, which could easily be tagged as health enemy No. 1. As registered dietitian Jillian Kubala told Popsugar:14

“Added sugar should be kept to a minimum in any healthy diet, and popping a few sugary gummy vitamins per day can add up. In fact, some gummy vitamins can contain nearly one teaspoon of added sugar per two-gummy serving. Some of these also include sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, which can cause digestive upset in some people.”

Other drawbacks and common problems associated with gummy multivitamins include:

Unreliable nutrient content — According to Consumer Lab,15 which conducts independent testing to assess the quality of nutritional products, it’s common for gummy multivitamins to not contain the listed amounts of nutrients:

“Gummies are notoriously difficult to manufacture because it is hard to measure in the correct amounts of vitamins and minerals (some are simply sprayed on a candy base) …

[T]he ingredients in a gummy are more likely to degrade, so manufacturers often put in more than the listed amount — resulting in products with too much of a vitamin, such as folic acid, when first produced and decreasing amounts over the course of their shelf-lives.”

Impurities — Consumer Lab also warns that gummy multivitamins often contain impurities, noting there are consistently “more problems with candy-like vitamins like gummies than with traditional forms, such as tablets and caplets.”16

Artificial flavors, food colors, preservatives and fillers can also cause more harm than good. They’re certainly not required for good health, and many have been linked to behavior problems and other ailments in children.

Overdose risks — The gummies unmistakable resemblance to candy can also easily result in overdosing and toxicity.17 As noted by Kubala:18

“Unlike water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are stored in the body and can cause toxicity if too much of these nutrients are consumed. Certain minerals, such as iron, can be dangerous if consumed in excess as well.”

Beware of phony fruit snacks

Another thoroughly unhealthy snack food marketed as healthy is gummy fruit snacks. Examples include General Mill’s Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Shapes, Gushers and Kellogg’s Fruit Flavored Snacks. While the premise sounds good — surely a fruit substitute must be better than a candy bar? — the reality is, they’re the same.

Whether the primary ingredient is corn syrup or concentrated fruit juice, the result is identical: They contain mostly sugar. And contrary to real fruit, these snacks are also loaded with artificial flavors and dyes. As noted by Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), “[I]f you compare ingredients lists, fruit snacks look much closer to candy — like jelly beans or gummy bears — than fruit.”19

One example cited by CSPI is Gerber Graduates Fruit Strips, said to contain a full serving of fruit per bar. In reality, each bar contains just 1% berries. “The main fruit ingredient is dried apple puree, which should read ‘concentrated fruit sugar,’” CSPI writes.20

Despite lawsuits, faux ‘functional’ junk foods proliferate

In 2015, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Welch Foods for violating the jelly bean rule and making Welch’s Fruit Snacks appear healthier than they actually are. As reported by RegistrarCorp.com:21

“The plaintiffs … took issue with the fact that Welch boasts that its fruit snacks are made with real fruit. The snacks are ‘devoid of the health benefits plaintiffs and other reasonable consumers associate with consuming real fruit,’ the plaintiffs said in their complaint.

Although the first ingredient in many of Welch’s Fruit Snacks are juice from concentrate or fruit purees, the following ingredients are corn syrup, sugar, and corn starch.”

Years earlier, in 2009, CSPI sued Coca-Cola for falsely advertising Vitaminwater as being able to prevent “age-related eye disease” and to promote “pain-free functioning of joints,” “structural integrity of joints and bones,” and “optimal generation and utilization of energy from food.”22,23

Meanwhile, each bottle contains 33 grams of sugar, which CSPI pointed out “do more to promote obesity, diabetes and other health problems than the vitamins in the drinks do to perform the advertised benefits listed on the bottles.”24

After six years of litigation, Coca-Cola finally agreed to change its Vitaminwater label to resolve the dispute, adding the words “with sweeteners” and removing “vitamins + water = all you need.” The company also stopped making health claims relating to metabolic health, immune function and reduction of eye disease.25 As reported by CBS News at the time of the lawsuit in 2010:26

“… Coke seems not to have understood — and most Vitaminwater drinkers certainly don’t understand — that dumping vitamins into sugar water does not make it a health drink … The law on health claims for nutrition and diet supplement products isn’t that complicated. If I can understand it, then the general counsel’s office at Coke sure ought to be able to.

Which makes me suspect these companies were simply calculating that they could make more on revenue from selling these drinks with their false claims than they’d lose when they finally got caught.”

Indeed, and here we are again. Coca-Cola now wants more leeway to fool more customers about more of its products. Aside from paying CSPI’s legal fees, Coca-Cola got away with falsely advertising Vitaminwater for years, and in the end just had to make a few minor tweaks to the label. Most likely, it was well worth breaking the rules, and there’s nothing to suggest Coca-Cola wouldn’t do it again given half a chance.

Don’t fall for functional junk food claims

When it comes right down to it, processed foods and beverages will never be able to compete with real food and pure water, and as a general rule, if a product comes with heavy advertising, you can be pretty certain it’s not a healthy choice.

Processed foods are designed to be eaten quickly, on-the-go, and often in large, addictive quantities. In eating these foods you may satisfy a brief craving, but you will not have received the vitamins and minerals, the live enzymes and micronutrients, the healthy fats or high-quality protein that your body needs to function, let alone thrive.

Cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes — all modern plagues that have a dietary component — are spreading and increasing in occurrence and severity with each passing year. The health statistics speak for themselves, and the truth these statistics are telling is that so-called “functional” foods don’t work.

The idea that candy, junk food and processed snacks can be healthy simply by adding a few synthetic nutrients is a pipedream. Your eyes may be fooled by label claims, but your body will know the difference.

Again and again, studies show processed foods and sweetened beverages promote chronic disease and shorten life span. Fortification changes nothing. It’s just a marketing ploy that increases sales, so don’t be fooled.

If you really want to eat healthy, it’s time to delegate at least 90% of your food budget to real, whole (ideally organic) foods — fruits and vegetables, grass fed meat, healthy fats, nuts and seeds and plenty of pure filtered water.

If you want flavor, a squirt of lemon or lime juice is a simple addition that won’t detract from the health benefits of the water. For a step-by-step guide to make this a reality in your own life, simply follow the advice in my optimized nutrition plan.

Posted by: | Posted on: August 9, 2019

Blood Tests – How to read the results

By Brenton Wight – LeanMachine, Health Researcher, updated 29th November 2019

Blood Tests – They May Save Your Life!

Blood tests should be carried out with your annual checkup, or any time you have a medical condition

Urine tests are also common, but many are inaccurate, because they only tell us what has left the body, not what is currently available in the body to feed our cells and keep us in good health.
Urine tests are included here where appropriate and where the results can be useful.
Important:
ALWAYS get a printed copy of your tests. The Doctor cannot refuse as the results belong to you.
Unfortunately, Doctors often only look at results outside the “normal range” and disregard everything else.
There are several problems here.

  • There can be potential problems buried within the “normal range”
  • The “normal range” is an average range for a person of the same age and sex as you, not accounting for weight, height, body fat, muscle mass, and general physical condition
  • The “normal range” given does not indicate if the low end, middle or high end of the range is optimal
  • The “normal range” does not always inform you of changes over time within the range which may indicate a better or worse diet, health or impending sickness, etc
  • The “normal range” includes a lot of sick people, skewing the results

For example, the “normal range” for vitamin D3 is 60 to 160 nmol/litre for most Australian labs (some labs now say 75), but the OPTIMAL range is 125 to 175 nmol/litre, with the preference at the high end of the range.
When the results come in at 61, the lab says you are fine, the doc says you are fine, but your immune system is nowhere near the optimum level!
Another example is TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone). The “normal range” is 1.0 to 4.0 but anything over 2.0 is certainly undesirable, and may indicate a hypothyroid condition, going un-diagnosed because the lab and the doc both agree “you are fine”.

Reference Ranges

Some labs indicate “Reference Range”, other labs may indicate “Normal Range”, “Reference Intervals”, “Desirable Range”, “Healthy Range”, Target Range”, “Average Range”, “Suggested Range”, “Optimal Range” which all sound similar, but actual values may vary.
Reference ranges are calculated by the lab as what 95% of the “normal” population conform to (2 standard deviations for you mathematicians).
However, in the 95% of the population who are considered “normal”, we have some sick, healthy, athletic, frail, obese, slim, old, young people of different ethnic backgrounds, occupations, environments, exposure to toxins, which can skew the test results, along with many other factors such as male or female.
Just because we fit into the reference range, it does not mean that we are in the best physical condition.
And for the 5% (or 1 in 20 people) who are outside this range, but still considered “normal” their results are questionable, whether they are at the healthy or unhealthy end of the reference range, which can be a high or a low number, depending on the test.
In some tests, a small margin over or under the reference value can indicate a problem, and in other tests, we can be several hundred times the reference range before we have a serious condition.
The labs will do their best job to calculate the reference range for our age and sex, sometimes weight, sometimes our medical condition, but that is all.
Every lab uses their own terminology, their own test equipment and their own numbers, so typical results may vary.
USA labs often use different units for measurement compared to Australian and other countries, so we must always look at the units as well as the numbers.
Many labs are now trying to standardise in SI (Standard International) units.
It is a good idea to use the same lab each time so that any changing numbers over time can be used as clues to various medical conditions or changes in health.
Many labs who upgrade their equipment and/or software will give two sets of results, pertaining to old and new systems.

Some Conditions Diagnosed by a Blood Test

Malnutrition

Even though we eat much more than our ancestors, modern foods are often devoid of nutrients due to repetitive farming practices, over-processing, over-heating, and the addition of toxic chemicals, trans fats, sugars, etc which all contribute to bad health and a reduced ability for the body to absorb nutrients from food.
Many prescription medications, especially antacids and PPI’s (Proton Pump Inhibitors like Nexium) make this problem even worse by REDUCING stomach acid.
The body NEEDS stomach acid to absorb nutrients AND to make vitamin B12, an important part of the digestion process.
We can have a full stomach, but be starved of nutrients without adequate stomach acid.
People with lap-band or similar surgery, or who have part of the stomach or intestines removed due to disease or cancer, or who have damaged gut bacteria from antibiotics or other prescription medication,
or who have taken antacids or PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitors), or who have a diet poor in nutrition, will have poor absorption of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc and can easily suffer from malnutrition.
Malnutrition itself can skew the results of other blood tests, and doctors do not always take this into account, as most assume malnutrition cannot exist in modern society.

Cardiovascular Disease

High LDL cholesterol with low HDL cholesterol, combined with high triglycerides is a warning sign of future heart attack or stroke, and diet must be improved to reverse this condition.
These tests are not part of a normal blood workup so we should ask the doctor for a “lipid study”.

Tumours or Cancer

Cancer tests are described under the Cancer Tests heading near the bottom.

Abnormal White Blood Cell Count and/or Platelet Counts

May indicate Leukemia, with early treatment promoting better recovery.

Diabetes

Diabetes, or even pre-diabetes, can be caught early with a simple blood glucose test.
This condition is easily controlled with some very basic changes to the diet, combined with regular exercise.
Left unchecked, diabetes can lead to blindness, amputations, heart attack, stroke or death.

Allergies or Parasites

Blood tests can reveal these problems, and simple steps are required to correct these conditions.

Infections

Infections can spread, causing a lot of damage, but are easily treated if diagnosed with a blood test.

Anemia

Can be caused by many things including internal bleeding, kidney disease, malnutrition, vegan diet, etc but can usually be simply treated.

Thyroid Problems

The thyroid controls many other hormones in the body, but problems can be found easily with a blood test.
This test must be asked for, as it is not included in a typical blood workup.

Symptoms requiring a blood test

  • Unexplained Tiredness
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Unexplained pain
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • A long time since the previous test

Preparing for the test

Your Doctor will arrange the test. Ensure that you ask the following:

  • Do I have to fast?
  • Can I drink water?
  • Do I continue my prescription medication?
  • Do I continue my supplements, vitamins, minerals?
  • If I am on blood-thinning medication, what precautions are required?
  • Have I donated blood recently, or can I soon?
  • Please give me a printed copy for my opn records when the results are available.

If the test is a fasting test, arrange a time early in the morning for the test so you can follow up with a nourishing breakfast afterwards.
Do not drink alcohol for 24 hours before the test.
Avoid fatty foods at the last meal before the test.
If all of the results are “within the normal range” it does not mean you can now forget everything.
Compare all results with previous tests, and keep results to compare with the next tests.
If you still have some unexplained condition, there may be repeated tests, new tests, ultrasound, x-rays, CT, MRI or other tests required.
Even if you are feeling fine, look up your previous test results.
If you do not have these results, ask the Doctor – previous records should be on their database, as they are generally e-mailed from the lab.
Compare the results line by line to check if any levels are getting better or worse. Some results will give a higher or lower number,
but check details below on each individual test to work out if this means getting better or getting worse.
Discuss all results with your Doctor, and if you cannot get useful answers, find another Doctor!

Some of the many different Blood Test Measurements and abbreviations

Some Australian (SI), some USA measurements.

  • cmm – cells per cubic millimeter
  • g/L – grams per liter
  • g/dL – grams per deciliter (1/10 of grams per liter)
  • IU/L – international units per liter
  • mEq/L – milliequivalent per liter
  • mg/dL – milligrams per deciliter
  • mL – milliliter
  • fL – femtoliter, 10-15 Liter, or one thousand trillionth (one quadrillionth) of one liter.
  • mmol/L – millimoles per liter
  • ng/mL – nanograms per milliliter
  • pg/mL – picograms (one-trillionth of a gram) per mL (milli-litre)

The standard CBE (Complete Blood Exam), also called CBC (Complete Blood Count) or FBE (Full Blood Exam)

This is the most common test ordered by the Doctor – by no means complete, but can isolate many common problems.
This test determines red blood cells, various white blood cells, and platelets in the blood.
Do not consider these figures absolute, as different labs and different countries and different ages and sexes of patients have different ranges.
Not all labs do all of the tests.
Not all doctors ask for all of the tests.
Many of the tests are for specific diagnosis or monitoring of some disease or condition.

The Red Blood Cell Test Group

Hb or Hgb (Haemoglobin)

Normal values for adult males: 130 to 170 g/L (13.0 to 17.0 g/dL), adult females: 120 to 150g/L (12.0 to 16.0 g/dL)
OPTIMUM values for adult males: 140 to 150 g/L (14.0 to 15.0 g/dL, adult females: 135 to 145g/L (13.5 to 14.5 g/dL)

Adult males after middle age: 124 to 149 g/L (12.4 to 14.9 g/dL), adult females after middle age: 117 to 138 g/L (11.7 to 13.8 g/dL)
This is the iron-containing component of red blood cells which carries oxygen from the lungs to every part of the body, and gives the red cells their bright red colour.
Low Haemoglobin levels often indicate Anaemia.
Hemoglobin must be evaluated with HCT (hematocrit), RBC and MCV to determine if there is fact anemia and the type of anemia.
Low Haemoglobin can be caused by:

  • Low production of red blood cells in the bone marrow
  • Low iron intake
  • Low folate and/or vitamin B12
  • Internal or external bleeding
  • Blood cell destruction
  • Chronic illness
  • Low testosterone
  • Vegan, vegetarian or low-carbohydrate diet

High Haemoglobin can be caused by:

  • Dehydration (as in prolonged or severe diarrhea)
  • Emphysema, severe asthma, or other respiratory disease
  • Macrocytosis (enlargement of red blood cells, often caused by hypothyroid or liver disease or deficiency of B6, B12, folate)
  • Adrenal cortex over-activity
  • Polycythemia vera (bone marrow makes too many red blood cells)
  • Living at high altitude
  • Splenic hypofunction
  • Immune suppression
  • Testosterone supplementation

RBC (or RCC, R.B.C.,R.C.C.) – Red Blood Cell Count or Erythrocyte Count

Normal range: Adult males 4.5 to 5.5 x 1012/L, adult females 3.8 to 4.8 x 1012/L.
OPTIMAL range: Adult males 4.7 to 5.25, adult females 4.0 to 4.5.
Units are trillions (1012) per litre, or millions (106) per cubic mm (mm3) which both give the same result.
An estimate of the number of red blood cells per mm3 of blood.
Low RCC may indicate:

  • Anaemia
  • Blood loss, internal or external
  • Bone marrow failure
  • Iron deficiency
  • Copper deficiency
  • Over-hydration
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells in bone marrow)
  • Malnutrition
  • Cell damage
  • Iron deficiency (with a low MCV)
  • Vitamin B6, B12, and/or Folic Acid deficiency (with a high MCV )
  • Chronic Disease
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Kidney dysfunction (also abnormal chemistry tests, BUN, creatinine)
  • Hereditary anemia
  • Free radical pathology
  • Toxic metals
  • Catabolic Metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Erythropoietin deficiency, typically those with chronic kidney disease
  • Hemolysis, or RBC destruction caused by transfusions and blood vessel injury
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Adrenal dysfunction
  • Cortisol production dysfunction
  • Chronic bacterial infections

High RCC may indicate:

  • Lung disease
  • Emphysema
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Living at a high altitude
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Adrenal cortical hyperfunction (either too much cortisol or too much aldosterone)
  • Anabolic Metabolism (testosterone supplementation)
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Cardiovascular dysfunction
  • Dehydration
  • Kidney disease
  • Renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer)
  • Immune suppression
  • Transplant rejection drugs
  • Gentamicin and Methyldopa drugs
  • Performance enhancing protein injections and anabolic steroids
  • PV (Polycythaemia Vera) – genetic disease where bone marrow makes too many red blood cells

May help indicate the lifespan of the cells, and indicate problems, but may not indicate the actual problem, so other tests will be required.

Haematocrit, also called HCT or PCV – Packed Cell Volume

Normal Range: Adult males: 40 to 50%, adult females: 36 to 46%.
OPTIMUM Range: Adult males: 42 to 48%, adult females: 39 to 45%
Percentage of red blood cells in the total blood volume.
Low PCV/HCT may indicate:

  • Anaemia
  • Blood loss
  • Low RBC
  • Bone marrow failure
  • Abnormal breakdown of Red Blood Cells
  • Increased production of WBC
  • Leukaemia
  • Adrenal dysfunction
  • Low thymus function
  • Multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells in bone marrow)
  • Over-hydration
  • Malnutrition
  • RA (rheumatoid arthritis

High PCV/HCT may indicate:

  • Shock
  • Immune supression
  • Excess RBC
  • Dehydration (typically burns or diarrhoea)
  • Eclampsea (a serious pregnancy condition)
  • Polycythaemia vera – bone marrow makes too many red blood cells
  • Spleen hyperfunction

MCV (Mean Cell Volume or Mean Corpuscular Volume)

Normal adult range: 83 to 101 fL (femtoliters).
OPTIMUM adult range: 87 to 92 fL
Some labs give results in cubic microns, which is identical to the range in femtoliters.
An estimate of blood cell volume, or average volume of red blood cells, or the average amount of space taken by each red blood cell.
May help determine the type of anaemia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome.
Low MCV can indicate:

  • Copper deficiency
  • Iron deficiency
  • Low stomach acid
  • B12 and/or Folate deficiency
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic disease
  • Lead or other toxins
  • Hereditary anemia such as thalassemia or sideroblastic
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Haemoglobin disorder
  • Blood cell destruction
  • Bone marrow disorder

High MCV can indicate:

  • Hereditary anemia
  • Alcoholism
  • Liver disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Bone marrow problems
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Problem with prescription medication
  • Megaloblastic Anemias (pernicious, folic acid deficiency, B12 deficiency)
  • Reticulocytosis (acute blood loss response. Reticulocytes are immature cells, relatively large in size compared to a mature red blood cell)
  • Artifact (aplasia, myelofibrosis, hyperglycemia, cold agglutinins)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Anti-convulsant drugs
  • Zidovidune treatment (for AIDS)

MCH (Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin or Mean Cell Haemoglobin)

Normal range: 27 to 32 picograms
MCH is a calculation determining the amount of oxygen-carrying haemoglobin inside the Red Blood Cells.
Results too high (usually Macrocytic anemia), often caused by too little vitamin B12 and/or folate, in turn often caused by low stomach acid or antacid use.
Macrocytic Red Blood Cells are larger than either normal or microcytic RBCs, tending to have higher MCH values.
The larger cells mean that there are fewer cells, and less haemoglobin is then available.
Results too low (usually Microcytic) may indicate Iron Deficiency Anemia, or a nutritional deficiency.
Normally MCH is elevated or depressed when MCV is elevated or depressed, and usually for the same reasons as MCV.

MCHC (Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin Concentration)

Normal range: 315 to 345 g/L or often specified as 28% to 36%
OPTIMUM range: 32% to 35%
A calculation of the concentration of haemoglobin inside the Red Blood Cells.
Decreased MCHC values (hypochromia) are when haemoglobin is abnormally diluted inside the red blood cells.
Indicates anemia if the count is low, or possible nutritional deficiencies if high.
Typical causes are iron deficiency anaemia and in thalassaemia.
Increased MCHC values (hyperchromia) are seen in conditions where the haemoglobin is abnormally concentrated inside the red blood cells.
Typically seen in burn patients.
MCHC is increased or decreased in the same conditions as MCV is increased or decreased, except:
1. In spherocytosis (a fairly rare congenital disorder), MCHC is elevated
2. In pernicious anemia, MCHC is normal.

RDW (Red Cell Distribution Width or Random Distribution of red cell Width)

Normal range: 11% to 15%
OPTIMAL Range: 13%
Tests for the shape and size of red blood cells, but the term “width” refers to the distribution, rather than the size of cells.
Liver disease, anemia, nutritional deficiencies, and many health conditions can cause high or low RDW tests.
RDW can be increased in:

  • B12 and Pernicious anemia
  • Folic acid anemia
  • Iron deficiency anemia combined with other anemia
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Transfusions
  • Sideroblastic anemia
  • Alcohol abuse

RDW can be decreased in:

  • Iron deficiency anemia (blood loss, parasites, poor iron absorption)
  • Vitamin B6 anemia
  • RA (Rheumatoid arthritis)

ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate)

Also known as SED (Sedimentation Rate).
A measure of how Erythrocytes (Red Blood Cells) sink in a pipette. The faster the blood cells sink, the higher the inflammation we have.
Inflammation creates proteins that make red blood cells fall faster, giving a higher test result.
The test reports the distance (mm) between the clear liquid (plasma) at the top of the tube and the red blood cells after 1 hour.
The normal range:
Males: 0 to 15 mm/hour
Females: 0 to 20 mm/hour
Seniors may have slightly higher readings.
High ESR can be caused by:

  • pregnancy
  • inflammation
  • infection
  • anemia
  • kidney or other cancer
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • polymyalgia rheumatica
  • giant cell arteritis (swelling in blood vessel lining)
  • systematic vasculitis (inflammation in blood vessels)
  • multiple myeloma
  • lupus (SLE or systemic lupus erythematotus)
  • IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)

Low ESR can be caused by:

  • polycythemia
  • sickle cell anemia
  • hereditary spherocytosis
  • congestive heart failure

The ESR test is recommended for patients with symptoms of headaches, stiff joints, pain in shoulders, neck or pelvis, appetite loss, unexplained weight loss.

Platelets

Most adults have between 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per mcL (microlitre) of blood.
1mcL is the same as 1 cubic millimetre (mm3).
The OPTIMUM values are 230,000 to 400,000 per mm3.
Platelets are small portions of cells involved in blood clotting, continually made by the bone marrow, as each platelet survives only around 10 days.
Platelets stick together when we cut ourselves to form a clot to stop bleeding.
Too many or too few platelets can affect clotting in different ways, and the number of platelets may also indicate a health condition.
Low platelets (thrombocytopenia) can be caused by:

  • Bleeding
  • Alcoholism
  • HIV
  • Toxins
  • Inherited disorders like Wiskott-Aldrich or Bernard-Soulier
  • Bacterial infections
  • SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)
  • RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis)
  • Pernicious anaemia
  • Megaloblastic anemia (B12 and/or folic acid deficiency)
  • Hypersplenism (spleen takes too many out of circulation)
  • Leukaemia
  • Chemotherapy
  • Marrow depression (aplastic anemia, radiation, drugs)
  • Marrow infiltration (acute leukemia, carcinoma, myelofibrosis, multiple myeloma)
  • Prescription medications like heparin, quinidine, quinine, sulfa-containing antibiotics, interferon, anticonvulsants and gold salts
  • Immunologic (ITP, infectious mononucleosis (EBV), SLE, Lymphoma, CLL)
  • Dilution due to overhydration (drinking too much water)
  • Coagulation disorders (DIC, septicemia, hemolytic-uremic syndrome, TTP, large hemangiomas, heart valve, eclampsia)
  • Hypersplenism (over-active spleen, removing old blood cells too soon)
  • Platelet aggregation or large platelets
  • Rubella
  • Liver dysfunction (cirrhosis)

Idiopathic Cytopenic Purpura (ITP), a condition possibly related to viral infection, autoimmunity or chemical toxin.

High platelets (essential thrombocythemia) can be caused by:

  • Thrombocythemia (bone marrow makes too many platelets)
  • Gene mutations (Janus kinase 2 [JAK2] gene)
  • Infections
  • Iron deficiency
  • Hemolytic anemia (abnormal breakdown of red blood cells)
  • Acute blood loss
  • Splenectomy (surgical removal of the spleen)
  • Tissue damage, chronic inflammation, surgery
  • Disseminated carcinoma (a condition where cancer cells are spreading)

Mean Platelet Volume (MPV)

Normal range: 7.5 to 11.5 femtoliters
This test measures and calculates the average size of platelets.
Higher MPVs mean the platelets are larger, which could put an individual at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Lower MPVs indicate smaller platelets, meaning the person is at risk for a bleeding disorder.

The White Blood Cell Test Group

WBC – White Blood Cells (or leukocytes, or sometimes leucocytes)

Normal Range: 4,500 to 11,000 WBC per mcL (micro-litre) of blood, average person around 7,000 (USA labs 4,300 to 10,800 cmm).
A high number can be an indicator of disease.
Part of the immune system which defends against infectious, disease and foreign bodies.
WBC’s live for three to four days in the body, and are found throughout the blood and lymphatic system.
WBC’s make up around 1% of the total blood volume in a healthy adult, and help fight infections. A high white blood cell count may help identify infections.
It may also indicate leukemia, which can cause an increase in white blood cells.
Too few white blood cells may be caused by some medications or health problems.
This test measures the numbers, shapes and sizes of various types of white blood cells.
The WBC differential count (percentage) shows if the numbers of different cells are in proper proportion to each other.
Irregularities may indicate infection, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, anaemia, or other health conditions.

High leukocytes (leukocytosis)

Typically caused by a bacterial or viral infection, the body responding my making more WBC’s.
Typical is bone marrow disease, leukemia, myelofibrosis, smoking, stress, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, whooping cough.
Also can be caused by reaction to some medications such as antibiotics, diuretics, corticosteroids, epinephrine and others.

Low leukocytes (leukopenia)

Caused by cancer, viral infections of the bone marrow, congenital disorders, autoimmune diseases which attack WBC’s, major infections which use up WBC’s faster than they can be produced, chemotherapy, AIDS, lupus, malnutrition, lack of vitamins, radiation, parasites.
Volume, conductivity, and granularity can change due to activation, presence of immature cells or malignant leukocytes in leukemia.

Five Major Types of White Blood Cells

  • Neutrophils – making up around 62% (can be 40% to 80%) of White Blood Cells, neutrophils attack bacteria and fungi, and live from a few hours to a few days.
    If given as the number of cells instead of a percentage, divide the number by the WBC (White Blood Cells) to get the percentage.
    The bone marrow makes neutrophils and stores them, to be released into the blood in response to physical stress or infections.
    Neutrophils contain enzymes which can break down bacteria, and also contain glycogen and protein for their own energy.
    High neutrophils increase the body’s requirement for protein to replace that used by the bone marrow to make more nuetrophils.
    High Neutrophils (Neutrophilia) can be caused by infection, inflammation, pregnancy, or physical stress (intense exercise).
    Low Neutrophils (Neutropenia) can be caused by B12 and folate deficiency, infections that destroy neutrophils, aplastic anemia, leukemia, autoimmune disease, hypersplenism (spleen enlargement), dialysis, some medications.
  • Eosinophils – making up 2.3% (can be 1% to 4%) of White Blood Cells, eosinophils attack parasites and allergens.
    High eosinophils normally indicate parasitic infections or allergic reactions.
    Low eosinophils can be caused by alcohol intoxication or excess cortisol production.
  • Basophils (also called basophiles, basophilic leukocytes, basocytes, basophilocytes, mast leukocytes) – making up 0.4% (can be up to 1%) of White Blood Cells, basophils release histamine for inflammatory allergic responses.
    High basophils may be caused by bone marrow disease, Chrohn’s disease, removed spleen, when inflammation is healing, asthma, chronic dermatitis, hypothyroidism, Hodgkins lymphoma.
    Low basophils can be caused by hyperthyroidism, allergies, pregnancy, ovulation, immune-suppressing drugs.
  • Lymphocytes – making up 30% (can be 20% to 40%) of the White Blood Cells, living for years as memory cells, months for other types.
    Normal range (adults): 1,000 to 4,800 lymphocytes in 1 microliter (µL) of blood.
    Normal range (children): 3,000 to 9,500 lymphocytes in 1 microliter (µL) of blood.
    Unusually high or low lymphocytes may cause no symptoms or problems on their own,
    and may be the body’s normal response to infection, inflammation or other condition, and often return to normal after some time.
    If there are other tests with unusual results, the doctor should look at all these tests together to determine if further invesatigation is required.
    If levels do not retern to normal, or keep progressing high or low, further investigation is required,
    as this may be diagnosed as lymphocytopenia or lymphocytosis, with symptoms from mild to severe, and the duration depends on the cause.Low lymphocytes (lymphocytopenia) may indicate:

    • Poor immune system
    • Lymphocyte cells are trapped in the spleen or lymph nodes
    • The marrow cannot make enough lymphocytes
    • Something is destroying the lymphocytes

    Some acquired causes of Low Lymphocyte Count:

    • Typhoid fever
    • Viral Hepatitis
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Tuberculosis
    • Aplastic Anemia
    • Myelofibrosis
    • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
    • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
    • Dengue
    • Radiation and Chemotherapy

    Some inherited causes of Low Lymphocyte Count:

    • Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome
    • Ataxia-telangiectasia
    • DiGeorge Syndrome
    • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency

    High lymphocytes (lymphocytosis) may indicate cancer, autoimmune disorder or severe viral infection.
    Lymphocytes are white blood cells that help defend the body from illness, consisting of three major types: B cells, T cells, and NK (Natural Killer) cells:

    • B cells – release antibodies that fight bacteria and toxins, also assist in activation of T cells
    • T cells attack cells that have been infected by viruses or malignancies, and consist of 4 sub-types:
      • CD4+ (Th or T helper cells) – activate and regulate B and T cells, release T cell cytokines to aid the adaptive immune system to recognise foreign invaders
      • CD8+ (cytotoxic T cells) – tumour cells and virus infected cells
      • γ δ (gamma delta) T cells – bridge between innate and adaptive immune responses (phagocytosis)
      • Regulatory (supressor) T cells – return the immune system to normal functioning after an infection, preventing auto-immune disease
    • NK (Natural Killer) cells – part of the innate immune system, also assisting the adaptive immune system, important in cancer therapy, helping reject tumours and cells infected by viruses,
      killing invaders by releasing small cytoplasmic granules of proteins that literally reprogram the target cells to self-destruct
  • Monocytes – making up 5.3% (can be 2% to 8%) of the White Blood Cells, monocytes migrate from the blood into other tissues as macrophages,
    also into the liver where they become Kupffer cells.

Blood Biochemistry, or Blood Chemistry

Electrolytes

Electrolytes are electrically charged chemicals (ions) that are vital to normal body processes, such as nerve and muscle function.
Electrolytes help regulate fluid in the body and maintain the acid-base balance.
The important electrolytes: Sodium, Potassium, Chloride and Bicarbonate (HCO3).
Normally bundled with the electrolytes are the important mineral tests: Phosphorus, Calcium, Iron, Zinc and Magnesium. Magnesium not normally tested as only about 1% of the body’s Magnesium is in the blood, but very important, as 90% of the population has lower than optimal Magnesium intake. Zinc also seldom tested, but equally important.

Sodium

Normal range: 135 to 145 mmol/L (or mEq/L) depending on the lab.
An essential electrolyte.  Essential for the body to balance water volume and pressure in thee body tissues, carry nutrients into cells and wastes from cells,  for nerve impulses and muscle contractions, automatic functions in the intestinal tract.
Irregularities in levels may indicate dehydration, disorders of the adrenal glands, excessive salt intake, corticosteroids, painkiller medications, liver or kidney problems.
The body keeps sodium levels in the normal range by excreting more or less through the kidneys into urine.
High sodium may raise blood pressure, and/or cause leg swelling in some people.
Many factors affect levels. Shock or trauma may increase levels. Some prescription diuretics, anti-depressants and blood pressure medications deplete sodium.
Drinking too little water can increase levels, drinking too much water can deplete levels.
Excessive sweating or vomiting can reduce sodium levels.
Too much sodium (Hypernatremia) or too little sodium (Hyponatraemia) cause many problems.

Sodium above the range may suggest:

  • Water retention, weight gain (water weight!)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Diabetes
  • Dysfunction of Adrenal Glands

Sodium below the range may suggest:

  • Addison’s Disease (Damaged Adrenal Glands)
  • Severe Diabetes
  • Liver Cirrhosis
  • Kidney damage
  • Diuretic medications
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Excessive sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypothyroidism

Urine Sodium

The amount of Sodium in urine, which is excreted by the kidneys.
Used with other electrolyte tests, and to help determine kidney function.
Reference Range: 20 mmol/L as a random urine test, or 28-272 mmol/L as a 24-hour urine test.
The excretion of sodium varies with dietary intake, and excretion is greater in daytime than at night.
Medications known to interfere with the results:
Corticosteroids

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Prostaglandins (used to treat conditions such as glaucoma or stomach ulcers)
  • Water pills (diuretics)

Low urine levels may be due to:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Excessive sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Pyloric obstruction
  • Malabsorption and primary aldosteronism
  • Excess water consumption

Increased urine levels may be due to:

  • Increased salt intake (typically from processed foods)
  • Failure of adrenal glands
  • Diabetic acidosis
  • Salt losing renal (kidney) disease
  • Water deficient dehydration

Potassium

Normal range: 3.6 to 5.2 mmol/L (or mEq/L) depending on the lab.
* A critical level is 5.5 mmol/L and over 6.0 mmol/L can be life-threatening.
An essential electrolyte, required for relaying nerve impulses, maintaining proper muscle functions, and regulating heartbeats. Without Potassium, the heart cannot beat!
The body must keep potassium and sodium levels in balance with each other for correct cell function and nerve transmission. High Potassium may cause a pounding heart, especially when lying down, and increases heart attack risk if high levels maintained over a long time,

High potassium (Hyperkalemia) issues:

  • Kidney disease
  • Adrenal exhaustion
  • Some blood pressure drugs (ACE inhibitors, ARB’s, some Beta blockers)
  • Potassium sparing diuretics
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Primary aldosteronism
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Drug use
  • Anything causing muscle breakdown (which releases potassium into the blood), e.g.Statins
  • Possible false score if the blood specimen is mis-handled

Low potassium levels (Hypokalemia) issues:

  • Irregular heart beat
  • Diuretics (mainly “Loop Diuretics”)
  • Blood pressure drugs (if they include loop diuretics)
  • Loss of body fluids
  • Exhaustion
  • Swollen ankles and fingers
  • Worse menopause symptoms
  • Stress
  • Asthma drugs (such as Abuterol)
  • Antibiotics
  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia
  • Laxatives
  • Partial paralysis in legs, hands

Constipation can be a symptom of high or low potassium.
Low potassium is a major cause of cardiac arrhythmia, which can be a life-threatening condition.

Chloride

Normal range: 98 to 106 mEq/L (USA labs).
An essential electrolyte, and the body must keep chloride levels in the normal range.
Often will increase (hyperchloraemia) or decrease (hyporchloraemia) with changes in sodium levels (from salt – Sodium Chloride).
Some medications or a diet high in salt can cause high chloride.
Excess chloride may indicate an acidic environment in the body, or dehydration, multiple myeloma, kidney disorders, or adrenal gland dysfunction.

Bicarbonate (total HCO3, total CO2)

Normal Range: 24 to 30 mmol/L (Australia) or mEq/L (USA)
Most of the carbon dioxide in the body is in the form of bicarbonate (HCO3).
An essential electrolyte, part of a standard blood electrolyte panel, and part of a renal (kidney) function test, lung test or metabolic test.
Normally taken from a vein (in the crook of the elbow), but for some lung tests, it is taken from an artery, usually in the wrist, for an ABG (Arterial Blood Gas) test.

ABG (Arterial Blood Gas)

Taken from an artery to test for various gases which may indicate problems with the heart, lungs, metabolism or kidneys.
Not normally tested unless there is a serious illness.

Serum Anion Gap

Anion Gap (AG or AGAP) is the difference between measured cations and measured anions in serum.
This difference does not reflect a true disparity between positive and negative charges,
because serum is actually electrically neutral when all serum cations and anions are measured.
Rather, the anion gap is a measurement artifact resulting from the fact that only certain cations and anions are routinely measured.
Cations are ions with a positive electric charge. Anions are ions with a negative electric charge.
Anion gap metabolic acidosis is secondary to the addition of endogenous or exogenous acid.
Anion Gap can be calculated in different ways, but commonly the sum of common cations less the sum of common anions:
Serum Anion Gap (AG) = Sodium (Na+) + Potassium (K+) less the sum of (Chloride Cl) and Bicarbonate HCO3)
Sometimes the potassium is ignored, as it is comparatively small compared to Sodium, giving different results:
Reference range for serum Anion Gap is 8 to 16 mmol/L or mEq/L (without potassium)
Reference range for serum Anion Gap is 12 to 20 mmol/L or mEq/L (with potassium)
Normal Anion Gap is specific to laboratory and equipment used.
Newer technology and equipment have been shown to measure “low” Anion Gap in otherwise normal, healthy people.
Because there are other chemicals with anions in the body, a test below 11 is considered normal.
If test results are unexpected, the doctor may ask for a test repeat, as errors in any of the electrolyte tests will give an incorrect Anion Gap calculation.
A high Anion Gap, typically over 20, can indicate:

  • Lactic Acidosis (high blood lactic acid level), e.g. from over-exercising
  • Diabetes where ketones break down causing diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Starvation causing ketoacidosis
  • Alcoholic ketoacidosis
  • Poisoning, e.g. methanol, aspirin, carbon monoxide, cyanide, anti-freeze (ethylene glycol)
  • Toluene poisoning
  • Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) overdose
  • Paraldehyde overdose
  • Iron overdose
  • Kidney failure, when kidneys cannot take in bicarbonate which is then lost in the urine
  • Uremia (urea in the blood)

A low Anion Gap can be caused by:

  • Hyponatremia (decreased sodium in the blood)
  • Multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells in bone marrow)

Other causes of low Anion Gap, although less common:

  • Bromide (negatively charged) intoxication, from some sedative drugs, medication for myasthenia gravis, and some herbal medications.
    High bromide can lead to neurologic or dermatologic symptoms. Bromide can interfere with chloride calculation, giving a false low Anion Gap.
    Bromide is often used in heated spas as a disinfectant, where it is readily absorbed through the skin, also blocking thyroid uptake of Iodine
  • Lithium is positively charged, often prescribed for bipolar disorder, and high concentrations may lower Anion Gap
  • Increase in positively charged ions such as calcium and magnesium can also lower the Anion Gap

Urine Anion Gap

The Urine Anion Gap test where the ammonium ion (NH4+) is the main positive ion (Cation).
However, Urine NH4+ is difficult to measure directly, but its excretion is normally accompanied by the anion chloride,
So the Urine Anion Gap is calculated by the sum of Urine Sodium plus Urine Potassium less Urine Chloride (Na+ + K+ – Cl)
Bicarb is omitted in this formula because urine is generally acidic, and Bicarbonate is generally negligible.
Note that urine values are different from serum values, so these results cannot be interchanged in the formula.
Typical values of Urine Anion Gap:
0 to 10 mmol/L (or mEq/L), and values over 10 mean the body is more acidic (undesirable).
Urine Anion Gap result over 20 indicates metabolic acidosis, usually when the kidneys cannot excrete ammonia, e.g. in renal tubular acidosis.
A negative Urine Anion Gap can be used as evidence of increased NH4+ excretion.
A zero or negative Urine Anion Gap while the Serum Anion Gap is positive, suggests a high urinary NH44+ (probably caused by gastrointestinal, e.g. diarrhea or vomiting).

Glucose

The amount of glucose in the blood at the time of the test. A relatively constant level of glucose must be maintained in the blood.
For a more helpful test, see the HbA1c test.
Should always be a fasting test, minimum 2 hours after a meal, but preferably fasting overnight after at least 6 hours without food or drink other than water.
Normal range is around 3.2 to 5.5 mmol/L (70 to 100 mg/dL in USA labs).
Results below this range is hypoglycaemic (low blood glucose) and urgent medical attention is required.
Elderly people generally test higher, even if they are healthy.
Levels are affected by food or drink recently ingested, recent exercise, stress levels, medications, hydration and the time of day.
Ranges above 5.5 are hyperglycaemic (high blood glucose).
5.5 to 6.9 is considered pre-diabetic, and over 6.9 is diabetic.
Doctors normally prescribe Metformin (with nasty side-effects) rather than refer to a nutritionist who can advise elimination of sugar,
high-carbohydrate and processed foods from the diet, and use magnesium supplements,
which in nearly every case will eliminate diabetes as well as reduce excess weight and improve cardiovascular health and reduce risk of dementia.

Random Glucose Level

Also called RBC (Random Blood Glucose) or CBG (Casual Blood Glucose). A recent meal is assumed, so has a higher reference range than the fasting glucose test above.
Typical range for a normal adult is 4.4 – 7.8 mmol/L (Australia) or 79 – 140 mg/dl (USA).
Results above this may not indicate diabetes (could also be a recent high sugar or carbohydrate meal), but a fasting glucose test should then be carried out to confirm if diabetes is suspected.

The Kidney Function Group of Tests

Note that kidney issues often show no symptoms until they are both working as low as 10% capacity,
so regular testing is advised to capture problems early while changes to diet, medications and lifestyle can correct the issues.
Some symptoms of kidney dysfunction include fatigue, swelling and hypertension.
The Kidney Panel usually consists of the following tests:
Electrolytes, –

Minerals include:

Phosphorus, vital for energy production, muscle and nerve function, bone growth and as a buffer to maintain the acid-base balance.
Calcium, essential for the proper functioning of muscles, nerves, and heart, also for blood clotting and bone formation.

Protein
Albumin – a protein that makes up about 60% of protein in the blood. Roles include keeping fluid from leaking out of blood vessels, and transporting hormones, vitamins, drugs, and ions like calcium throughout the body.
Waste products
Three calculated values may also be reported with a renal panel:
Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR) – a calculated estimate of the actual glomerular filtration rate (GFR, the amount of blood filtered by the glomeruli in the kidneys per minute) derived from creatinine levels in the blood; the formula takes into account the person’s age, gender, race, and sometimes height and weight.

Urea, or BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen)

Urea, or BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) is a nitrogen-containing waste product that forms from metabolism of protein.
Released by the liver into the blood and is carried to the kidneys, where it is filtered out of the blood and eliminated in the urine.
Normal Range: 2.5 to 7.1 mmol/L or 10 to 20 mg/dL (USA labs). Not always tested in Australia.
High levels indicate poor kidney function, and results should be looked at in combination with the creatinine test.
May also be influenced by function.
Many medications and/or a high-protein diet can also raise BUN levels.

BUN/creatinine ratio

Urea (BUN)/creatinine ratio is a comparison of urea (nitrogen) to creatinine content in the blood.
Normal Range: Ratio of BUN to creatinine: 10:1 to 20:1 (men and older individuals may be somewhat higher)
Shows if kidneys are eliminating waste correctly.
High levels of creatinine, a by-product of muscle contractions, are excreted through the kidneys and suggest reduced kidney function.

Creatinine (Serum)

To determine if kidneys are functioning normally.
This test is used in conjunction with Urea and eGFR tests.
This is a waste product, disposed of by the kidneys, so any elevation may indicate kidney problems.
Creatinine is not re-absorbed or recycled, so if the kidneys cannot eliminate creatinine through the urine, levels will continue to rise.
High levels may also be caused by muscle problems, such as rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of muscle) often caused my statin medication.
Body builders may take Creatine supplements (not the same thing as creatinine) which is a natural product made by the body, but breaks down into creatinine,
and will increase the creatinine test results. Creatine has been shown to increase water retention in some people, causing swollen ankles,
but this mainly occurs in those with poor kidney function, and the doctor should order a series of kidney tests.
Certain chemicals can cause analytic interference of Creatinine measurements.
Ketoacids (such as occurring in diabetic ketoacidosis) and 5-aminolevulinic acid (sometimes administered for photodynamic therapy) interfere with the alkaline picrate (Jaffé) assay of creatinine, giving falsely high readings and the incorrect impression of kidney dysfunction.
The issue does not arise with enzymatic creatinine measurements, so different labs using either the Jaffé assay or the enzymatic method will give different results.
Note also that Amlodipine and some similar blood-pressure medications, cause increased Creatinine, often resulting in swollen ankles, indicating kidney dysfunction, especially for those who are male, over 60 years old, and also take the drug Furosemide, and also have high cholesterol.
Other drugs such as Cimetidine, Trimethoprim, Corticosteroids, Pyrimethamine, Phenacemide, Salicylates, and active Vitamin D metabolites, can also increase plasma Creatinine without influencing glomerular filtration, thought to be through inhibition of Creatinine secretion, so a urine creatinine test would perhaps show a reduced level of creatinine compared to the increased serum results.
This is the blood (serum) test. See also the Creatinine Urine test below.
Normal range:
Men (18 to 60 years): 80 – 115 umol/L (Australia) or 0.9 to 1.3 mg/dL (USA)
Women (18 to 60 years): 53 – 97 umol/L (Australia) or 0.6 to 1.1 mg/dL (USA)
The elderly may test a little lower.
Men (60 to 90 years): 71 – 115 umol/L (Australia) or 0.8 to 1.3 mg/dL (USA)
Women (60 to 90 years): 53 – 106 umol/L, some labs say 45 to 90 umol/L (Australia) or 0.6 to 1.2 mg/dL (USA)

Creatinine (Urine)

Kidneys filter creatinine from the blood, excreting it through urine. The creatinine urine test may detect kidney malfunctioning.
This test is normally performed as a 24-hour urine test.
All urine is collected for 24 hours, stored in the refrigerator (not frozen), mixed and the result poured into a small sample bottle and labelled as such.
If a 24-hour test cannot be performed, a mid-stream urine sample from the first morning urination can be used, but results will not be as accurate, as urine creatinine levels change normally throughout the day.
Creatinine is a metabolic waste product of muscle metabolism and meat consumption, so those with a high protein diet, or very muscular, or have muscle damage, will have higher levels.
Urine creatinine levels may fluctuate depending on race, muscle mass, diet and certain medications.
Labs usually do not specify a normal range, as results can vary, and the test is generally used in conjunction with other tests to determine kidney function.
Normal range (subject to many factors, check with your doctor or laboratory if results appear out of range):
Men: 1.7 to 28 mmol/L (20-320 mg/dL USA labs)
Women: 1.7 to 24 mmol/L (20-275 mg/dL USA labs)

Creatinine Clearance

How fast creatinine is cleared by the kidneys, another way of estimating kidney function.
Low test results may mean kidney problems such as tubule damage, kidney failure, restricted kidney blood flow, kidney filtering unit damage, dehydration, obstructed bladder outlet, heart failure.
Normal Range:
Men: 97 to 137 ml/min. (all labs)
Women: 88 to 128 ml/min. (all labs)

eGFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate)

Used to screen for early kidney damage and to monitor kidney status. Performed by the creatinine test and calculating the estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate.
The creatinine test is ordered as part of a routine metabolic panel, or along with a Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) test to evaluate the kidney status,
or to monitor those with known chronic kidney disease and those with diabetes and hypertension which may lead to kidney damage.
A low rate means some kidney damage has occurred.

KIDNEY DAMAGE STAGE DESCRIPTION GFR OTHER
1 Normal/minimal kidney damage with normal GFR 90+ Protein or albumin in urine are high, cells or casts seen in urine
2 Mild decrease in GFR 60-89 Protein or albumin in urine are high, cells or casts seen in urine
3 Moderate decrease in GFR 30-59
4 Severe decrease in GFR 15-29
5 Kidney failure under 15

Related test: Cystatin C

Often used as an alternative test to eGFR.
Kidney damage can cause gynecomastia in men due to decreased testosterone levels, leading to greater estrogen/testosterone ratio.

Cholesterol (total)

A fairly meaningless test – see Cholesterol (Lipid) Testing below.
Labs use around 0.0 to 5.4 nmol/L for a normal range, but very low levels, or rapidly dropping levels can indicate a higher risk for cancer, anxiety, depression, and if pregnant, premature birth and low birth weight.
High levels are a signal for doctors to prescribe statin drugs, when the cause should be investigated
(inflammation, which causes the body to make more cholesterol to repair the damage caused by inflammation).
Many smarter doctors are now agreeing with the science: Cholesterol is not bad, and unless levels go into the 8.0 area and above, there is not a huge problem as long as HDL levels are high enough.

Urate (Uric Acid)

Produced by the breakdown of purines. Normal range, Men: 0.208 to 0.416 mmol/L (3.5 to 7.0 mg/dL), desired range less than 0.36mmol/L (6.0 mg/dL)
Sometimes units given as µmol/L which is mmol/L / 1000, e.g. 0.416 mmol/L = 416 µmol/l.
Excess uric acid (Hyperuricemia) is excreted by the kidneys and disposed in the urine and faeces.
It is normal to have some Uric acid in urine.
High uric acid causes crystals to form in the joints – a painful condition known as gout, often in the big toe joint,
although not everyone with high uric acid has a problem. Some with levels up to 0.571 mmol/L (9.6 mg/dL) still have no gout.
Men are much more likeley to have gout than women up tp ages 50 to 60,
probably because testosterone aggravates gout, and men lose a large amount of testosterone and often gain excess body fat in senior years.
High Uric acid can increase risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and ammonium acid urate kidney stones.
High Uric acid (Hyperuricemia) can be caused by:

  • Obesity or excess body fat
  • High purine foods
  • Thiazide diuretics (hydrochlortiazide)
  • ACE inhibitors and beta blockers
  • Loop diuretics (including Furosemide or Lasix®)
  • Anti-TB (Tuberculosis) drugs
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Immune suppressing drugs
  • Other drugs including:
    • Acitretin
    • Didanosine
    • Filgrastim
    • L-dopa
    • Omeprazole
    • Peg-interferon + ribavirin
    • Sildenafil
    • Teriparatride
    • Ticagrelor
    • Topiramate
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin), mainly high doses
  • Insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes)
  • Fasting or rapid weight loss, usually temporary
  • Low dose Aspirin (60 to 300mg daily)
  • Fructose (generally from fruit juices or foods sweetened with HFCS – High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes, prunes, dates all contain fructose, but OK in moderation
  • Yeast containing foods: Vegemite, Marmite, bread
  • Xylitol, a natural sweetener
  • Glycerol
  • Sorbitol
  • Testosterone
  • Recent surgery or trauma

Low uric acid (Hypouricemia) may indicate, cause or be caused by:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • MS (Multiple Sclerocis)
  • Fanconi Syndrome (Kidney disease, genetic, from some drugs or heavy metals),
  • Myeloma (Cancer of blood plasma cells in bone marrow)
  • Nephritis (Kidney inflammation)
  • Wilson’s Disease (genetic, causing copper accumulation)

Phosphate (Phosphorus)

Normal range: 0.8 to 1.4 mmol/L (2.5 to 4.3 mg/dL)
Phosphorus is important for bone health, energy storage, nerves and muscles, and related to calcium levels, which should be read in conjunction.
High phosphorus (Hyperphosphatemia) may indicate kidney or parathyroid problems, alcohol abuse, long-term antacid use,
excessive diuretics, malnutrition or high/low vitamin D.
Meat, dairy products and other foods contain phosphorus, so insufficiency (Hypophosphatemia) is rare.
Liver disease and low vitamin D can cause high or low phosphorus levels.
Low phosphate (Hypophosphataemia) can be caused by poor nutrition, low vitamin D3, poor absorption.
Extra-low (less than 0.4 mmol/L) may be caused by redistribution into cells, kidney losses or low intake.
Often accompanies other electrolyte deficiencies.
The test results will not determine the cause of high or low readings, so more tests are then required.

Total Calcium

The amount of calcium circulating in the blood, normal range 2.10 to 2.55 nmol/L (USA labs 9.0 to 10.5 mg/dL). Elderly people usually test a little lower.
Calcium levels over 3.0 (Hypercalcaemia) are a cause for further investigation, as high levels can increase risk of blood clots, and may indicate other problems.
Possible causes are Sarcoidosis, too much or too little Vitamin D, kidney problems, over-active thyroid or parathyroid, some cancers (such as lymphoma, parathyroid, and pancreatic).
This test does not tell us how much calcium is in the bones and teeth, where most of the calcium is stored, only the amount in the blood.
If out of range, additional tests may be required for ionised calcium, urine calcium, phosphate, magnesium, vitamin D and PTH (parathyroid hormone).
Normally, the Parathyroid hormone (PTH) and vitamin D control blood calcium levels within a narrow range of values. See the PTH section for more info.
Low calcium (Hypocalcemia) may be caused by low vitamin D3, poor intestinal absorption, the amount of phosphate in the blood, anorexia or poor nutrition.
Low calcium may cause cramps and twitching.

Calc.IC – Ionised Calcium

Normal Range 1.10 to 1.25 nmol/L
Usually included in the standard tests.
This test result in normal people is inversely related to PTH (parathyroid hormone) so the PTH test is required if Ionised Calcium is out of range.

The Liver Function Group of Tests

These tests should be called “Liver Damage Tests” instead of “Liver Function Tests” as they only report problems when damaged liver cells leak enzymes into the blood, and the
liver can lose significant function before abnormalities show up in these tests: Bilirubin, CGT, AST, ALT and ALP.
These tests are looked at in conjunction with the blood proteins: Globulins, Albumin and Fibrinogen.

Albumin

Normal range: 37 to 48 g/L. USA labs often say 3.9 to 5.0 g/dL (39 to 50 g/L)
A protein made by the liver. Helps stop blood from leaking out. A high number indicates good health.
Results at the low end of this range indicates poor health. Possible causes of low numbers are:

  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Malabsorption in the intestines

The doctor may then order a prealbumin test and other tests to determine the nature of the problem.

Urine Albumin

Reference range: 0 to 25.0 mg/L (Australia and USA)

Albumin/Creatinine Ratio – Urine

Reference range: 0 to 3.5 mg/mmol

Globulins

Simple proteins found in the blood. Range depending on many factors: 21 to 41 g/L
Globulins are a family of globular proteins with a higher molecular weight than albumins. They are insoluble in pure water, but dissolve in dilute salt solutions.
Some are produced in the liver, others are made by the immune system.
There are four different globulin groups: gamma (immune system), beta (hormone transport), alpha-1 and alpha-2 (clotting function).
Individual groups may be tested if further diagnosis is required.
Low test results may indicate liver disease, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or inability to digest or absorb proteins, celiac disease, cancer, anaemia, kidney disease, poor immunity and more.
High test results may indicate a chronic or infectious disease, leukemia or other bone marrow disease, autoimmune disease like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, kidney or liver disease, or carcinoid tumours.

A/G ratio (albumin/globulin ratio)

Healthy ratio: A little over 1.0, which means more albumin than globulin.
The blood contains two types of protein: albumin and globulin.
The A/G ratio test compares levels of these proteins with one another.

Serum Protein

Typically total proteins are the sum of albumin and globulin.
Normal Range 64 to 83 g/L
High levels can be caused by dehydration or other factors. See the notes on Albumin and Globulin.
Low protein is when Albumin and/or Glogulin levels are low, and indicates poor health.

Total Bilirubin

Bilirubin is the yellow-coloured pigment in the bile, produced as the liver breaks down heme from hemoglobin in old red blood cells,
and gives stools the normal brown colour as it is excreted.
Bilirubin is a lipophilic antioxidant, reducing lipid peroxidation (oxidative degradation of lipids),
where free radicals steal electrons from lipids in cell membranes, causing cell damage.
Low bilirubin is associated with an increase in all-cause mortality, but most doctors do not know this,
they say that low levels mean better health!
Range (Total): 2 to 20 umol/L or USA Labs: 0.3 to 1.9 mg/dL.
Range (Direct) 1.0 to 5.1 umol/L or USA Labs: 0 to 0.3 mg/dL.
Different ranges apply for babies and between labs.
High levels can indicate poor function of liver and kidneys, problems in bile ducts, and anaemia, and usually indicate the need for further tests.
However, if further tests reveal no issues with liver or other organs, high bilirubin is a good thing, leading to higher glutathione and a longer, healthier life.
Bilirubin in the blood circulates in two forms:
Indirect (unconjugated) bilirubin – insoluble in water – changed in the liver to a soluble form.
Direct (conjugated) bilirubin – soluble form – made in the liver from indirect bilirubin.
Total bilirubin and direct bilirubin levels are measured directly in the blood, while indirect bilirubin is calculated from the total less the direct bilirubin.
High bilirubin (hyperbilirubinemia) cause skin and/or whites of the eyes to appear yellow (jaundice),
caused by liver disease (hepatitis), blood disorders (hemolytic anemia), or blockage of the bile ducts from the liver to the small intestine.
Hyperbilirubinemia in a newborn baby may cause brain damage (kernicterus), hearing loss, problems with eye movement muscles,
physical abnormalities, and even death.
Babies who develop jaundice can be treated with phototherapy (special lights or a “light blanket”) or a blood transfusion
to lower their bilirubin levels.
When the liver is mature enough to control bilirubin, all symptoms disappear and no further treatment is required.
Standard blood tests only test for total bilirubin and other tests are prescribed only if results or symptoms determine the need for more tests.

GGT (Gamma-Glutamyltransferase)

A very sensitive enzymatic indicator of liver disease.
Common reasons for elevated values can indicate alcoholic cirrhosis (from heavy drinking, or consumption of other liver-toxic substances).
A healthy liver can only detox one alcoholic drink in two hours, so those people who consume two drinks in one hour have a quadruple liver-overload condition.
Used to determine if raised alkaline phosphatase is due to skeletal disease (normal range GGT) or indicate hepatobiliary disease (raised GGT).
Normal range varies – small children approx 7 to 19 U/L (male), 6 to 29 U/L (female) with the high side increasing with age to 50 and above for the elderly.
Adult level range usually around 0 to 45 U/L but always check with the lab and the doctor for your appropriate range.
(GGT) activity is seen in any and all forms of liver disease, although the highest elevations are seen in intra- or post-hepatic biliary obstruction.
Excess alcohol consumption will increase CGT.
High GGT combined with high ALP indicates some form of hepatobiliary disease.

ALP (Alkaline Phosphatase)

Normal range: varies from 45 to 115 U/L (adult male) and 55 to 142 U/L (adult females). USA labs often say 44 to 147 U/L.
OPTIMAL range: depends on age. Adolescents have a much higher ALP when rapidly growing compared to a fully grown adult because the osteoblasts are laying down bone very rapidly.
For adults, 50 to 75 is considered a reasonable optimal range.
Children and female ranges are very varied so always check with the lab for the correct range for your age and sex.
The SI units IU/L are the same as the US units U/L.
ALP is a group of enzymes present mainly in liver (isoenzyme ALP-1) and bone (isoenzyme ALP-2), with lesser amounts in the intestines (isoenzyme ALP-3),
the placenta, the kidneys (in the proximal convoluted tubules) and in white blood cells.
When any of these cells are damaged, ALP is released into the bloodstream.
The ALP enzyme is synthesised in the hepatocytes adjacent to the biliary canaliculi.
Elevations typically indicate problems with bone disease, the liver or obstruction.
Obstruction can be in the biliary tract, which may occur within the liver, the ducts leading from the liver to the gallbladder,
or the duct leading from the gallbladder through the pancreas that empty into the duodenum (small intestine). Any of these organs (liver, gallbladder, pancreas, or duodenum) can be involved.
High ALP can indicate:

  • Liver, Obstruction or Congestion:
    • Cholestasis (decrease in bile flow)
    • Obstructive jaundice (the liver responds to biliary obstruction by synthesising more ALP)
    • Oral contraceptives
    • Obstructive pancreatitis
    • Hepatitis/Mononucleosis/CMV
    • Congestive heart failure
    • Parasites
    • Malignancy involving liver
    • Giant Cell Arteritis, especially with Cholestasis
  • Bone / Skeletal issues involving osteoblast hyperactivity and bone remodeling:
    • Paget’s disease
    • Rickets
    • Shingles (Herpes Zoster virus)
    • Osteomalacia
    • Osteogenic sarcoma
    • Fractures
    • Osteoporosis treatment
    • Adrenal cortical hyperfunction
  • From other conditions:
    • Pregnancy (late, as the placenta produces ALP)
    • Hyperparathyroidism
    • MEN II (Multiple endocrine neoplasia)
    • Leukemia
    • Lymphoma
    • Amyloidosis
    • Granulation tissue
    • Gastrointestinal inflammation (Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, ulcers)
    • Systemic infections (sepsis)
    • Sarcoidosis
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, gynecologic malignancies and some other cancers
    • Acute tissue damage in the heart or lungs (myocardial or pulmonary infarctions)

Low ALP can indicate:

  • Zinc deficiency
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Vitamin C deficiency or Scurvy
  • Folic acid deficiency
  • Excess Vitamin D intake
  • Low phosphorus levels (hypophosphatasia)
  • Celiac disease
  • Malnutrition with low protein assimilation (including low stomach acid production/hypochlorhydria)
  • Insufficient Parathyroid gland function
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Vitamin B6 insufficiency
  • Hypophosphatasia
  • Protein deficiency
  • Wilson disease

ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase)

Also known as Serum Glutamic Pyruvic Transaminase, or SGPT
Normal range: adult males: 7 to 55 U/L, adult females: 7 to 45 U/L depending on age and lab.
Some USA labs say 8 to 37 U/L, some Australian labs say 0 to 54 U/L.
OPTIMAL Range: 20-30 U/L
This test checks for elevated liver enzymes. Note that if the patient is taking high-dose
Niacin, it is normal to have elevated ALT.
Of course, it is NOT normal to have VERY high ALT, and medical advice should be sought, but a little over the normal range can be contributed to Niacin,
and this is not a problem by itself, but should be taken into account if there are other abnormal liver tests.
The other common cause for high ALT is drinking too much alcohol. A healthy liver can detox one alcoholic drink in around 2 hours.
If the patient has 4 drinks in 4 hours, then the liver is double-overloaded and suffers accordingly.
The solution? Stop drinking alcohol!
Diagnosis of liver disease associated with hepatic necrosis (hepatic = liver, necrosis = cell death).
When the liver is fine, results are within range, the lower the better.
High ALT is seen in parenchymal liver diseases where hepatocytes are destroyed, with values often ten times above normal, sometimes as high as one hundred times the upper reference limit.
In some liver infections or inflammatory conditions, ALT is usually higher or as high as AST, and the ALT/AST ratio (normally less than 1), becomes greater than 1.
ALT increases usually occur prior to appearance of symptoms of disease. The liver can lose a lot of function before symptoms appear.
High ALT results can be from other causes, such as:

  • Liver damage such as viral hepatitis
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Lead poisoning
  • Drug reactions
  • Carbon tetrachloride exposure
  • Large tumor necrosis (decay)
  • Shock
  • Mononucleosis
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Panadol, Parecetamol, Acetaminophen, Tylenol
  • Rapidly growing children
  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Thyroid disease
  • Polymyositis
  • Severe burns
  • Pancreas, Kidney or muscle injury
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Antibiotics, statins, chemotherapy, aspirin, narcotics, and barbiturates
  • Herbs such as echinacea or valerian
  • Injections into a muscle
  • Recent cardiac catheterization or surgery
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Liver ischemia (Lack of blood flow to the liver)
  • Taking high strength Niacin

ALT values are normally compared to ALP (alkaline phosphatase) and AST (aspartate aminotransferase) to diagnose which form of liver disease is present.

AST (Aspartate aminotransferase)

Also called SGOT, Serum Glutamic-Oxaloacetic Transaminase, GOT, Aspartate Transaminase

Normal range: around 8 to 48 U/L, some labs say 0 to 45 U/L, some USA labs say 10 to 34 U/L
An enzyme found in the liver, heart, skeletal muscle and kidneys, in both the cytoplasm and mitochondria of cells.
Not always related to the liver. Elevated values typically mean disease of the heart, muscle, liver, or all.
Mild tissue injury caused the main form of AST to be the cytoplasm form, and major tissue damage results in higher mitochondrial enzyme.
High AST may be found in myocardial infarction (heart attack), acute liver cell damage, viral hepatitis and carbon tetrachloride poisoning.
More moderate rise in AST can be caused by muscular dystrophy, dermatomyositis, acute pancreatitis and crushed muscle injuries.

LD or LDH (Lactate Dehydrogenase)

Normal range: Approx 110 to 230 U/L depending on the lab.
Lactate dehydrogenase is an enzyme, found in almost every living cell, but mostly in the heart, liver, muscles, kidneys, lungs and blood (erythrocytes).
LDH catalyzes the conversion of lactate to pyruvic acid and back, as it converts NAD+ to NADH and back.
A dehydrogenase is an enzyme that transfers a hydride from one molecule to another.
Used to monitor changes in tumour burden after chemotherapy.
High LD is common in cancer patients but results are too erratic to formally diagnose cancer.
High LD generally means that mitochondrial function is compromised, meaning that newly diagnosed cancer patients will have a poor outlook.
High LD is also seen in:

  • Megaloblastic anemia
  • Untreated pernicious anemia
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Abdominal and lung cancers
  • Severe shock
  • Hypoxia (reduced oxygen)

Moderatly high LD is seen in:

  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Pulmonary infarction
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Leukemia
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Infectious mononucleosis
  • Progressive muscular dystrophy
  • Liver and kidney disease

Other tests outside the standard blood tests

Vitamin D3 (25-hydroxycholecalciferol) Testing

Not normally tested unless it is asked for, but given that two-thirds of Australians have less than the minimum vitamin D3,
and nearly 98% have less than optimum levels, and almost 97% of all cancer patients have less than optimal vitamin D3, this test should be mandatory.
Those most at risk include:

  • Those who shower every day, as showering washes off the pre-vitamin D compounds absorbed from sunlight the day before
  • Those with dark skin or wear clothing covering most of the body
  • Those who slip, slop, slap, which is the WRONG thing to do except on cloudy days
  • Those who live further from the equator, where the sun is seldom high in the sky
  • Those who are aged 50 or older, because as we age, we lose the ability to synthesise vitamin D from sunlight
  • Those who work nights and sleep in the day, restricting sunlight exposure
  • Those taking statin medications for cholesterol, as these medicationss prevent the liver from making the ingredients to manufacture vitamin D

Most of the labs say we need from 60 to 160 nmol/L, some medical institutions say we need 20 to 95, and most doctors accept the lab results.
Some labs are now revising their optimal range upwards: 75 to 250 nmol/L.
What we REALLY need is: For healthy bones, we need minimum 90, up to 175.
The OPTIMAL range for IMMUNITY to all disease including most cancers is 125 to 175 nmol/L, preferably in the high end of this range.
For short-term treatment of cancer or other serious illness, we should aim for levels in the 160 to 250 range.
While it is true that vitamin D can be toxic in very high doses, the average dose sold in most stores is 1000 IU which is nowhere near enough.
LeanMachine recommends 5000 IU Vitamin D3, typical cost approx. $20 for 360 gelcaps (almost a year’s supply) at 5 times normal strength.
No cases of toxic overdose of vitamin D3 has been recorded at less than an intake of 40,000 IU.
LeanMachine also gets a lot of sunlight, but still needs this dosage to maintain levels of around 150 to 160 nmol/L.
The body’s organs have the ability to turn Vitamin D into Calcitriol, which goes to work repairing damage from infections, diseases and cancers.
Vitamin D, D2 or D3 – vitamin D3 is the ONLY vitamin we should take as a supplement.
Avoid products “fortified with vitamin D” as these almost always contain vitamin D2, a cheap, synthetic version of natural D3, which not only do not do the same job as real D3,
they actually block absorption of real D3, leaving us D3 deficient.
For the full article on vitamin D3 go to Vitamin D3 fact sheet.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Unlike other B group vitamins which are flushed away in urine daily, B12 can last for months in the body, even though it is also water-soluble.
People who have problems taking supplements can get a B12 injection every 3 months.
Normal Range 148 to 616 pmol/L depending on the lab and other factors.
Low levels may be caused by malabsorption in the small intestine, low stomach acid, taking antacids, hyperthyroidism, parasites, pernicious anaemia or dietary insufficiency.
Vegans and vegetarians do not get B12 from plant foods except small amounts in mushrooms.
High levels may be caused by liver disease (cirrhosis or hepatitis), some types of leukemia or taking too many B12 supplements.
Health Departments recommend 2 to 5 mcg daily, but LeanMachine takes 1000 mcg daily, with test results more than double the maximum normal blood range at around 1500 pmol/L.
High doses of B12 do no harm, unlike folate – see next section.
Note: Cheap B12 supplements contain a small amount of cyanide, which is flushed away completely harmlessly in the urine.
Of course, no one should take several bottles at once, and any excess probably offers no extra benefit.
LeanMachine only recommends the
active methyl B12 which has no cyanide.
Essential as we age, because we get older, we produce less stomach acid, so produce less B12.
Up to 30% of people over 50 cannot correctly absorb and make B12 and are deficient, so supplementation is essential in the elderly.
Studies show that over 3% of people over 50 are SEVERELY deficient in B12.
Not normally tested unless we ask for it, but very important for most people over 45 or for vegans and vegetarians.
B12 is chemically the most complex vitamin, and the only water-soluble vitamin that is stored in the body for months or years, but vegetarians and especially vegans as well as most people over 50 should supplement.
Essential for anyone taking PPI (Proton Pump Inhibitors) like Nexium, which reduce stomach acid – giving short-term relief for heartburn, but impacting B12 production and adequate nutrition.
The only effective way to treat heartburn is to eat less, and only eat nutritious food.
Should always be tested along with folate, as high folate can mask B12 deficiency and vice versa – see folate test below.
Recommended : Active B12

Folate (Vitamin B9) – Testing

NOTE: Folic Acid is a cheap substitute for folate, but is not the same thing. Read more below…
Range: Folate in plasma: 7 to 30 nmol/L, folate in Red Blood Cells: 317 to 1422 nmol/L.
High folate may mask a B12 deficiency as B12 is used to process folate. Low B12 means folate is not used and builds up in the blood.
Low folate can be caused by eating disorders, alcoholism, liver disease, celiac disease, chrohn’s disease, malabsorption issues, or low vitamin C intake.
Some sources say excess folate is not a problem, but LeanMachine recommends a maximum intake of 1000 mcg daily from all sources.
One source is our Active Folate
Folate is famous for helping prevent neural tube defects in the developing foetus (e.g. Spina Bifida) when given to pregnant women.
Also helps with limb deformities, nerve problems, tumours and some birth defects.
Mothers should take Folate and B12 before, during and if breastfeeding, after pregnancy.
Because foetus problems from folate deficiency occur at just 3 weeks into the gestation period, this can be too late to start taking folate, so every woman of child-bearing age should supplement with folate.
Not so famous is the fact that most healthy people reaching 100 years of age are high in folate.
Folate benefits both sexes, helping to reduce levels of homocysteine (a marker of cardiovascular disease), especially in conjunction with B6 and B12.
Folic Acid and Folate are NOT the same thing.
Folate comes naturally from various foods such as spinach, asparagus, chickpeas, beans, and broccoli.
Folic Acid generally comes from cheap supplements.
Note: Many people have a defective MTHFR Gene which prevents the partial or full conversion from folate to the active form, MTHF ((6S)-5-MethylTetraHydroFolate) or Active Folate
This gene can be inherited or due to lifestyle, and up to 40% of the population have varying forms, producing very mild to very severe symptoms.
We can ask for a MTHFR (also known as MethylTetraHydroFolate Reductase) test, or simply use the Active Folate.
Low folate produces symptoms such as high homocysteine, hypothyroidism, lethargy, impaired cognitive function, and mood disorders.
LeanMachine recommends only the active form of Folate.
For those with the MTHFR issue, taking ordinary folate or folic acid will often make the problem worse.

NOTE: Out of range B-12 can mask testing results of Folate and vice versa, so BOTH need to be tested at the same time.

Homocysteine Testing

Range: 4 to 17 mcmol/L (normally higher in men than women)
Deficiencies in Folate and B12 cause high homocysteine, an amino acid.
High homocysteine can be caused by low folate and/or B12, too much alcohol, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, homocystinuria, or cancers.
Low homocysteine can be caused by some medications, or excess folic acid, B12 or Niacin.
Read more about B-12, B-6, Active Folate and Homocysteine here.

Iron Testing

There are three different iron test ranges:
Serum Iron: Men: 12.5 to 31.3 nmol/L, Women: 8.9 to 26.8 mcmol/L
TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity) Men and Women: 45 to 76 mcmol/L.
Transferrin Saturation: Men 10% to 50%, Women 15% to 50%.
A test to see how well iron is metabolised in the body, often tested in conjunction with the Ferritin test – see below.
Out of range values can be diet, lead poisoning, liver, kidney, rheumatoid arthritis, hemochromotosis, anaemia, bleeding, supplement overdose.

Ferritin Testing

Normal Range: Men 18 to 270 mcg/L, Women 18 to 160 mcg/L, but some labs say 15 to 350 for men, 15 to 300 for women.
However, LeanMachine recommends levels between 20 and 80, preferably between 30 and 60. Anything outside this range can cause problems.
Ferritin is a protein that binds to iron in the blood, often tested in conjunction with the Iron test above.
High iron in the blood, pancreas or heart can cause many health problems, and eventually death.
High ferritin may be caused by:

  • hemochromotosis (over 1000 mcg/L)
  • Liver disease (cirrhosis or hepatitis)
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Leukemia
  • Infection
  • Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Iron-rich diet
  • Receiving blood transfusions

Low ferritin can be caused by:

  • Bleeding (externally or internally)
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Pregnancy
  • Iron-deficient diet (such as vegan or vegetarian)
  • Blood donations
  • Loss through the skin (psoriasis)
  • Loss by excretion through the urine

High Iron/Ferritin has two basic treatments: Blood-letting (donating blood at the Red Cross), or taking
IP6 to chelate excess iron.
Many supplements can help chelate heavy metals from the body, but IP6 appears to be the ONLY way of effectively chelating iron with supplements.
Blood donations may be undesirable (e.g.religious reasons) or not allowed (e.g. if the donor has HIV or other disease, has recently been to an undesirable country, or is too old or otherwise ineligible).
Prescription drugs can be used, such as:

  • Deferoxamine (Desferal®), administered by subcutaneous (under the skin) infusion using a small portable pump, worn for 8-12 hours daily, usually while sleeping.
  • Deferasirox, either as:
    • Exjade®, a tablet dissolved in juice or water and taken orally once daily
    • Jadenu®, a tablet taken daily with water or other liquids
  • Deferiprone or L1 (Ferriprox™)

Side effects can be unpleasant or even damaging to health using prescription drugs. No all drugs are approved in all Countries.
IP6 appears to be the safest and most effective, and also helps treat cancer, diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, heart disease, and kidney stones.
Parkinson’s patients can improve because of reduction in excess iron, reducing neuronal degradation.

See LeanMachine’s article on Ferritin
Do NOT take iron supplements or use any method to increase or decrease iron without a full “Ferritin Study”, and watch for iron in multivitamins or other supplements.

HbA1C

Normal range: 4% to 5.6%
Pre-diabetes range: 5.7% to 6.4%
Diabetic range (controlled): 6.5% to 7%
Diabetic (uncontrolled): over 7%
HbA1C is a measure of how many glucose (sugar) molecules have “stuck” to red blood cells.
As red blood cells die in around 3 months, this gives doctors an insight into how well (or not) the patient’s blood glucose is under control,
as it effectively gives an average for the last 3 months, rather than a simple glucose test which only gives the result based on a moment in time when the blood was drawn.
As such, the HbA1C test SHOULD be given to everyone suspected of being diabetic or pre-diabetic, as this is the best screening method we have.
Unfortunately, our “smart” Australian Government only allows HbA1C testing in patients already diagnosed with diabetes, eliminating the best screening tool for diabetes available!
The reasoning behind this decision is to keep track of how many confirmed diabetics we have in Australia,
but surely it is more important to prevent diabetes in the first place by improving diet and lifestyle before real diabetes damage happens?

Note: People with iron deficiency anemia or other forms of anemia may have distorted results, giving higher than normal HbA1c when there is no high blood glucose.
Some other factors with people having unusual haemoglobin may have distorted high or low results.

Cholesterol Testing

Typical test is a “lipid study” which includes total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides.

Total Cholesterol

This is a fairly useless test, but doctors wrongly prescribe statins for anyone with cholesterol over around 5.2 or who are over 50 years old or who have diabetes or heart conditions.
Statins cause depletion of the body’s co-Enzyme Q10, resulting in side-effects such as muscle pain, diabetes, osteoporosis, a weaker heart and more.
Patients on statins may have a slightly less chance of dying from cardiovascular issues, but an INCREASED risk of dying from all other causes.
The result is a poorer quality of life, and most people will not live one day longer.
For instance a woman on statins for over 2 years has double the risk of breast cancer, and other cancer risks are substantially increased.
Anyone on statins has a higher risk of cataracts, muscle and joint pain and many other conditions. Most of these problems are due to the low vitamin D levels caused by statins.
Statins also prevent the liver from producing cholesterol sulfate, which supplies oxygen, sulfur, cholesterol, energy and a healthy negative charge to every cell in the body.
CoQ10 and vitamin D3 supplements are essential for anyone taking statins.
Eat an organic apple a day instead of taking a statin and you may really “keep the doctor away”.

LDL – Low Density Lipoprotein

Desirable range under 2.0 mmol/L but not as important if HDL levels are high.
Often known as “bad” cholesterol, but has several important jobs in helping create hormones and other beneficial body components.
For decades, LDL has had a bad reputation as the bad cholesterol, when in fact high LDL levels are blamed simply because they are present whenever the body needs repairing,
for example an inflamed artery, where LDL goes to patch up the damage by helping to form a clot and preventing a rupture of the artery.
Obviously we need LDL for this and many other bodily functions, so high LDL is simply a warning sign of inflammation, and inflammation is better reduced by exercise and a healthier diet, rather than taking statin drugs,
which force the liver to produce less LDL, and NOT margarine (trans fat) which appears to reduce LDL but INCREASES deadly trans fats which cause cardiovascular disease and DOUBLE the risk of breast cancer
as well as most other cancers.

HDL – High Density Lipoprotein

Desirable range is over 2.0 mmol/L, with most labs stating the reference range 1.0 to 2.2 mmol/L.
Known as “good” cholesterol – High Density Lipoprotein
The main job of HDL is to assist in clearing LDL, triglycerides, trans fats, and other unwanted components from the blood by returning them to the liver for processing.
The liver then converts LDL to bile and most unwanted body products are then eliminated.
Without our “garbage collectors”, the human body would die in 24 hours.
A healthy diet free from sugar, processed foods, trans fats, etc is essential for adequate levels of HDL.
No prescription drug can raise HDL, only exercise and a healthy diet and supplements such as Niacin (Prolonged Release).
Many things can affect HDL test results such as pregnancy, serious illness, stress, accident, heart attack, etc so the patient should wait until 6 weeks after recovery for an accurate result.

VLDL (or VLDL-C) – Very Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol

Desirable range: Less than 0.77 mmol/L or 30 mg/dL.
This is the only “bad” cholesterol, mainly when oxidised, generally caused by a bad diet of sugars and bad fats (Canola oil, margarine, etc).
Can be reported as part of a lipid study to determine risk of coronary heart disease, but not often asked for.
In fact, most regular labs do not test for this at all, instead estimating VLDL as a percentage of Triglycerides (see below).
Because a true test for VLDL is expensive and time-consuming, only a few research labs have the equipment and time to carry out a true test.
High levels of VLDL-C are believed to indicate the presence of lipoprotein remnants (intermediate particles on the pathway of conversion of VLDL to LDL).
High levels of VLDL slow the conversion of VLDL to LDL and may contribute to development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
Exercise, weight loss, and a healthy diet are the most effective ways to reduce triglycerides and in turn reduce VLDL.

Triglycerides

Healthy adults should have triglycerides less than 1.5 mmol/L.
The amount of fats (lipids) circulating in the bloodstream.
Exercise, weight loss, and a healthy diet are the most effective ways to reduce triglycerides.

CRP – C-Reactive Protein

Lab range: Less than 8mg/L, but 90% of all healthy people are below 3.0 and 99% below 12 mg/L, and a level below 0.8 mg/L is best.
CRP is a protein produced by the liver in response to inflammation.
High CRP (over 3mg per mL) can mean inflammation, infection, trauma and tissue necrosis, malignancies, or autoimmune disorders.
Often caused by inflammation in the arteries and veins, and can be a marker for possible cardiovascular disease.
High CRP can be caused by so many things that alone it cannot diagnose any particular disease, but only indicate further studies, and the test may be repeated after 2 weeks.
Obesity often causes elevated CRP levels, as fat cells produce signals for the liver to generate more CRP.
Doctors do not normally test for this in Australia (but do so commonly in the USA) so the patient should insist if there are other risk factors for cardiovascular disease
or other unexplained symptoms.
Low levels (below 1mg per mL) are considered normal.

Testing for Lyme Disease

Doctors have long insisted that Lyme Disease noes not exist in Australia.
This has been proven incorrect as there are countless Australians suffering from this disease, of which there are at least 14 known variants.
There is only one testing laboratory for Lyme Disease in Australia which has not been accredited, so most testing is carried out in the USA.
Lyme disease is generally transmitted through a tick bite, often going un-noticed, as a small tick can be no larger than a full stop on this page.
Tick bites are more common at latitudes North of Sydney, but can happen anywhere. People working or living among tall grass have a higher risk.
For more information, go to www.lymedisease.org.au

PSA (Protein Specific Antigen)

PSA testing has been used for a long time to check for prostate cancer.
However, this test does not always point to a problem, as many men have a high reading and no prostate cancer, while others have prostate cancer but a low PSA reading.
For men in a high-risk category – those on a bad diet, over 60 years of age, overweight, those with a family history of prostate cancer: should be tested on a regular basis.
Although a low PSA result is preferred, we aim to look for any change in the number between tests, say at least 3 months apart.
A significant increase in the value is more important than the actual number.
This PSA test has nothing to do with BPA (Benign Prostate Enlargement) which is not cancerous, but often affects quality of life by urgent and frequent urination.
Prostate cancer in men and breast and ovarian cancer in women are all known as estrogen-related cancers. Excess weight is a high risk factor, as every fat cell produces more estrogen, and the problem gets worse as men and women age, with ever-increasing weight gain bringing a higher cancer risk.

Thyroid Testing

The Hypothalamus gland releases TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone, which triggers the pituitary gland to release TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).
Most doctors only ask for a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) test, but this test alone is insufficient for an accurate diagnosis.
Generally, doctors only order tests for other thyroid hormones if TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is less than 0.5 mIU/L (hyperthyroidism, too much thyroid hormone)
or greater than 4.0 mIU/L (hypothyroidism, not enough thyroid hormone) when actually the top end of the range (hypothyroidism) should be 2.0 rather than 4.0
USA labs often say 3.0 as a top reading, but even this is too high, and some Australian labs say 4.5 is the top end which is way too high.
Note: Supplemental Biotin (part of the B-group vitamins) over 5 5mg daily should stop biotin supplementation at least 36 to 48 hours before blood collection.
These results are just a guide, and the doctor should evaluate results based on each individual’s health, symptoms, history and other factors, including results of other tests required.
Values outside those listed here may still be normal for each individual or laboratory.
Labs can measure TSH, total T4, FT4 (free T4), total T3, FT3 (free T3), T3U (uptake T3) FTI (Free Thyroxine Index), and T3R (Reverse T3) and others.
Almost all of the T4 in the blood is bound to a protein called thyroxine-binding globulin, leaving less than 1% unattached (free).
Total T4 blood tests can measure both bound and free T4. Free T4 affects body functions, but bound T4 does not.
Range for FT4 is approx 9 to 19 pmol/L but varies with the lab and the age of the patient.
FT4 (Free thyroxine) can be measured directly (FT4) or calculated as FTI (Free Thyroxine Index), which indicates the level of free T4 compared to bound T4.
Abnormal amounts of thyroxine-binding globulin is indicated by FTI.
Most T3 in the blood is also attached to thyroxine-binding globulin, and again, less than 1% of T3 is unattached.
Total T3 blood tests measure both bound and free T3 (triiodothyronine).
T3 is usually in much smaller amounts than T4, but T3 has a greater effect on the body’s metabolism than T4.
T4 is considered to be more of a “storage” thyroid hormone, where the body converts T4 to T3 as required.
This area is a huge subject and is discussed in greater detail here: Hyperthyroidism
Hypothyroidism is very common in older adults, and symptoms such as low energy can be attibuted to being a little overweight, or just an off day.
Thyroid tests are not part of the standard blood panel, but may be ordered if the patient reports fatigue and weight gain (hypothyroidism), or weight loss with nervousness or hyperactivity (hyperthyroidism).
Many doctors dismiss low or high test results if they are borderline, but these tests can indicate early thyroid problems.

TSH (Thyroid-stimulating hormone) Range 0.4 to 4.0 uIU/mL (same as mIU/L) Optimal range: 1.0 to 1.5 mIU/L
Total T4 (total thyroxine) Range 12 to 22 pmol/L (4.5 to 12.5 mg/dL) Optimal range: Top half
Free T4 (free thyroxine) Range 9 to 19 pmol/L (0.8-1.8 ng/dL) Optimal range: Top half
Total T3 (total triiodothyronine) Range 80 to 200 ng/dL Optimal range: Top half OK, very top quarter best
Free T3 (free triiodothyronine) Range 2.6 to 6.0 pmol/L (80-200 ng/dL or 2.3 to 4.2 pg/mL) Optimal range: Top half OK, very top quarter best
THBR (Thyroid hormone binding ratio) Range 0.9-1.1

A low TSH indicates hyperthyroidism.
If T3 and T4 shows below the minimum, hypothyroidism may be indicated.
If T3 and T4 is high, hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid) may be indicated.
Hyperthyroidism is a common cause of gynecomastia in men because it increases the estrogen to testosterone ratio.

Copper Testing

Humans have efficient mechanisms to regulate copper stores, normally protecting from excess dietary copper levels.
Copper tests can help to diagnose some diseases such as Wilson’s disease or Menkes disease.
We should monitor total copper, free serum copper, 24-hour urine copper, and liver biopsy copper concentrations.
Some symptoms of excess copper are similar to those of a copper deficit, often making diagnosis difficult.
Serum ceruloplasmin is used to determine free serum copper.
Note that some infections or inflammation may temporarily increase copper levels.
Also, supplementation of zinc and/or magnesium will complete with copper for absorption, leading to a copper deficiency.

Copper reference ranges:
Free serum copper: 1.6-2.4 μmol/L (10-15μg/dL)
Total copper: 10-22 μmol/L (63.7-140.12 μg/dL)
Serum ceruloplasmin: 2.83-5.50 μmol/L (18-35 μg/dL)
24-hour urine copper 0.3-0.8 μmol (20-50 μg)
Liver copper 0.3-0.8 μmol/g of tissue (20-50 μg/g of tissue)

Normal copper values indicate normal dietary intake, physiology, absorption and excretion of copper.
Food sources of copper:
Many foods including seeds, organ meats, nuts, seafood, liver.
Copper is also found in the water supply.
Average daily copper intake in men: 1.54-1.70 mg/day, in women 1.13-1.18 mg/day.
The wide food sources make copper deficiency fairly rare.
Copper deficiency may be from:

  • Dietary insufficiency of copper (rare)
  • Malabsorption in the duodenum where most copper is absorbed.
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Those with Menkes disease (low serum copper, low serum ceruloplasmin, low liver biopsy levels)
  • Overcorrection of treatment for Wilson disease

High total copper may be from:

  • Ingesting too much copper
  • Eating acidic foods cooked in uncoated copper cookware
  • Poor excretion secondary to underdeveloped biliary systems, more common in infants
  • In Wilson’s disease, liver biopsy shows high levels of copper, the criterion for diagnosis
  • Elevated urinary copper (24-hour urine study) can also indicate Wilson disease
  • But low serum ceruloplasmin and serum copper are common in Wilson’s disease

Symptoms of copper deficiency include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Frequent illness
  • Weak and brittle bones
  • Memory, learning and walking difficulty
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Pale skin
  • Premature grey hair
  • Low haemoglobin count
  • Too much Zinc and Magnesium supplements which fight Copper for the same cell receptors

Symptoms of excess copper include:

  • Mood swings, irritability, depression, fatigue
  • Excitation, difficulty focusing, feeling out of control
  • Vomiting, Hematemesis (vomiting of blood)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Melena (black “tarry” faeces)
  • Coma
  • Jaundice (yellowish pigmentation of the skin and/or whites of eyes)
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Those with glucose-6-phosphate deficiency may have greater risk of hematologic effects of copper
  • Hemolytic anemia from burn treatment with copper compounds (rare)

Chronic (long-term) copper exposure may damage the liver and kidneys.

Gene Testing

Testing for the BRCA1 and BRAC2 gene for Breast Cancer Risk

Angelina Jolie had a double masectomy as a result of a positive BRCA1 test, which is not the right thing to do.
Some Doctors claim that a positive result means a 95% chance of developing breast cancer.
In fact, the true figures are more like 80% increased risk, but the risk of breast cancer can be REDUCED by 80% or more in most women by:
– A healthy diet free of toxins, chemicals, processed foods, eating organic foods wherever possible.
– Elimination of sugar, especially fructose in the diet, including sugar hidden in processed foods.
– A teaspoon of Turmeric every day, preferably as a tea in a mug of hot water, with freshly ground black pepper (containing Bioperine) to substantially increase the release of cancer-fighting curcuminoids.
– Or alternatively, a Curcumin capsules, the active ingredient in turmeric).
– Adequate supplements of Vitamin D3,
Selenium and
Lycopene.
– Building the immune system by exercise and keeping off excess weight.
In other words, anyone with the BRCA1 gene can reduce their cancer risk to that of a normal person, and considerably less risk if the above recommendations are carried out from an early age and strictly adhered to.
If you still want the test, fine, but LeanMachine maintains that the above recommendations can help prevent ALL types of cancer, as well as maintaining a healthy heart, and preventing “modern” diseases like Alzheimer’s, MS, Parkinsons, Diabetes, etc.
Still want a double masectomy?
Remember that as soon as the surgeon starts cutting, any existing cancer cells will go into the bloodstream and circulate through every organ in the body.
Also we have the usual risks for any surgery – anaesthetics, infection, wrong drugs, side effects, incorrect dosage given, etc.

Testing Alzheimer’s gene

Yes, tests can now show if we have a high risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
I did consider this myself. I watched my father slowly wither away and die from Alzheimer’s disease, deeply affecting my mother, friends, family and myself.
However, I declined to have the test because regardless of the outcome, the same diet I recommend for cancer and cardiovascular disease is also effective for reducing risk of Alzheimer’s.
The only extra thing to add is two to four tablespoons of Coconut Oil every day, because Alzheimer’s is often known as “Diabetes of the Brain” when glucose sometimes cannot get into the brain because the brain becomes “insulin resistant”.
The brain uses more glucose than the rest of the body, however, we can feed the brain with coconut oil effectively as it feeds the brain via a different pathway,
delaying or even eliminating the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Most Alzheimer’s patients will improve their symptoms on coconut oil. Countries with the most Junk food, e.g. the USA have an Alzheimers death rate of 24.8 per 100,000 while Phillipines, Malaysia, Maldives and other tropical countries where coconut oil is an important part of the diet, rates are around 0.2 per 100,000.
Of course, Alzheimers deaths are very much under-reported, as the patient normally dies from pneumonia or organ failure, which is often the cause reported on the death certificate.
Turmeric is also important as the active ingredient
Curcumin helps to dissolve amyloid plaques which are present in Alzheimer’s patients.
Drug companies have tried for years to get rid of amyloid plaques, but the have made no difference to Alzheimer’s, because the plaques are the body’s way of protecting neurons for damage caused by high blood glocose, high insulin, toxic metals like mercury, aluminium from vaccinations, food and the environment.
Wise old men are sometimes referred to as a “Sage” and the reason is simple – eating sage leaves every day can help halt Alzheimer’s.

Immunology

The range of tests below can help determine the risk or check the progress of treatment of many infections and autoimmune diseases.
Diagnosis can be complex, and should always be under the guidance on an Immunologist who specialises in this area.
Some tests also relate to allergies and these should be under the guidance of an Allergist.

RH – Rheumatoid Factor

Normal range is less than 14 IU/ml, the lower the better.
Results over 14 can indicate Rheumatoid Arthritis, or some other auto-inmmune disease, where
For further diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis, the doctor may order a CCP (Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Antibody) test.
Other tests may include a Synovial Fluid Analysis, where synovial fluid (which lubricates the joints) is drawn from the space between joints by a needle (not a blood test).

CCP (Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Antibody)

This test helps diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis, often confirming a diagnosis months before symptoms appear.

Immunoglobulins A, G and M

These are three tests associated with the immune system.
Immunoglobulins are protein molecules that contain antibody activity. They are produced by terminal cells of B-cell differentiation known as “plasma cells”.
There are five immunoglobulin (Ig) classes: IgG, IgM, IgA, IgD and IgE.
In normal serum, approximately 80% is IgG, 15% is IgA, 5% is IgM, 0.2% is IgD and a trace is IgE. IgD and IgE are not tested as often.
Total immunoglobulin levels are normally considered the total of the three most common: IgG + IgM + IgA, ignoring IgD and IgE.

IgG – Immunoglobulin G

Normal serum range (adults) varying between labs, is 62 to 140 g/L (620 to 1400 mg/dL in USA, some labs say 767 to 1,590 mg/dL).
Babies (Newborn to 5 months) is 10 to 33 g/L (100 to 334 mg/dL in USA), increasing with age to level out at adulthood (18 years +).
IgG is a major antibody type in blood, and can enter tissues and fight infection.
IgG has 4 forms, all providing most antibody-based immunity against invading pathogens.
IgG is also the only antibody that can cross the placenta to provide passive immunity to the fetus.
– High IgG – may indicate a chronic infection such as AIDS.
High IgG is found in IgG MGUS, IgG multiple myeloma, chronic hepatitis, and MS (multiple sclerosis).
With multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells in bone marrow), tumour cells make only the monoclonal type of IgG antibody (IgM), and reduced levels of IgG and IgA are found.
Other conditions make polyclonal IgG antibodies.
Electrophoresis is required (a lab technique) to separate macromolecules based on size. A negative charge is applied causing proteins to move towards a positive charge.
Used for both DNA and RNA analysis, and to differentiate the monoclonal from the polyclonal cells.
– Low IgG – can be found in patients with congenital deficiencies.
Low IgG occurs in Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia, where high IgM antibodies inhibit growth of B-cells that make IgG.
Low IgG can also indicate some types of leukemia and nephrotic syndrome (kidney damage).
Rarely, some people are born with insufficient IgG antibodies, and have a greater risk of infections.
Low IgG levels in adolescents or adults are classified as:

  • Mild to moderate 30 to 60 g/L (300 to 600 mg/dL)
  • Significant 10 to 29.9 g/L (100 to 299 mg/dL)
  • Profoundly reduced – under 10 g/L (under 100 mg/dL)

Adolescents and adults should have a total immunoglobulin (IgG + IgM + IgA) level greater than 60 g/L (600 mg/dL),
with confirmed normal antibody responses, to exclude humoral deficiency.
Total immunoglobulin levels of 40 to 60 g/L (400 to 600 mg/dL) or IgG levels of 20 to 40 g/L (200 to 400 mg/dL) may contain adequate amounts of antibody,
but this is unlikely if total immunoglobulin levels are under 40 g/L (400 mg/dL) or serum IgG levels are under 20 g/L (200 mg/dL).
A specialist should decide if a patient should start immunoglobulin replacement therapy, based on clinical history, physical findings, laboratory variables,
serum immunoglobulin levels, history of infections, concomitant diseases, antibody response to proteins and vaccines, radiographic studies, and pulmonary function tests.
Patients with profoundly or significantly reduced IgG levels and impaired antibody response are usually treated with replacement immunoglobulin
starting at 100 mg per kg of body weight per week, given either intravenously or subcutaneously.
Prophylactic antibiotics may also be needed in some patients.
Dosage and frequency is aimed to maintain serum IgG level greater than 60 g/L (600 mg/dL), and over 80 g/L (800 mg/dL) has potential to improve pulmonary outcome.
Serum IgG levels should be checked four to six month intervals to ensure that adequate trough levels are maintained.
Patients with mild-moderate reductions in IgG levels 30 to 60 g/L (300 to 600 mg/dL) and normal antibody responses generally do not require immunoglobulin replacement therapy,
but should be carefully monitored by a knowledgeable specialist.

IgA – Immunoglobulin A

Normal serum range (adults) is 8 to 35 g/L (80 to 350 mg/dL in USA, some labs say 61 – 356 mg/dL).
Babies 0 to 5 months: 0.7 to 3.7 g/L (7 to 37 mg/dL in USA), quickly increasing to age 2 to 4 years, then gradually increasing to stable adulthood (18+)
Sometimes a lumbar puncture is performed to test for IgA in Cerebrospinal Fluid (the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord) but this is uncommon as it has a higher risk.
Protects from infections of mucous membranes, typically in the lining of the mouth, airways, digestive tract, urogenital tract, preventing bacteria colonization.
Also found in fluids such as saliva, tears, and breast milk – see Secretory IgA below.
– High IgA – may indicate MGUS (IgA Monoclonal Gammopathy of Unknown Significance) or IgA multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells in bone marrow).
IgA may be higher in some autoimmune diseases, e.g. RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), and in cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis and other liver disease.
– Low IgA – may indicate some types of leukemia, nephrotic syndrome (kidney damage), intestinal problems (enteropathy), and ataxia-telangiectasia (rare inherited disease
affecting muscle coordination). Increases risk of autoimmune disease, and risk of severe reactions to receiving blood products.

SIgA – Secretory IgA (Subclass of IgA)

Normal Range (saliva): 118 to 641 mg/L (118 – 641 µg/mL in USA)
Optimum Range (saliva): 130 to 471 mg/L (130 – 471 µg/mL in USA)
Normal range (fecal): 5.1 to 20.4 g/L (51 – 204 mg/dL in USA) (Genova Lab range).
​Secretory Immunoglobulin A (SIgA) is a subclass of Immunoglobulin A (IgA), tested in saliva or feces,
although also found in mucous secretions of tear glands, mammary glands, respiratory system, genito-urinary tract, and the gastrointestinal tract.
SIgA is not synthesized by mucosal epithelial cells or derived from blood but is produced by B-lymphocytes adjacent to the mucosal cells, then transported through the cell interiors, and released into the secretions from the cells.
SIgA protects the oral cavity, lungs, gut and other mucosal areas from invading pathogens.
SIgA has highest levels in the morning and lowest levels in the evening, but is dependant on flow rate.
IgA levels in saliva are affected by Concentrations normally decrease as flow rates increase, so flow rate is measured to express SIgA secretion as a function of time.
To maintain healthy SIgA levels, increase intake of Choline, EFA’s, glutathione, glycine, phosphatidylcholine, Vitamin C and zinc, all essential for SIgA production.

Anti tTg IgA, tTG Antibodies IgA, Tissue Transglutaminase (tTG), Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies IgA

Serum test, a subclass of IgA, for monitoring adherence to gluten-free diet in patients with dermatitis herpetiformis (cutaneous manifestation of Coeliac disease) and celiac disease.
Reference Range:
Less than 4.0 U/mL (negative)
4.0 to 10.0 U/mL (weak positive)
Greater than 10.0 U/mL (positive)
These tests are not sensitive to age.
Usually tested along with IgG to help evaluate certain autoimmune conditions, commonly celiac disease.
If testing for celiac disease, the patient must eat gluten-containing foods up to 7 days before the test, otherwise no antibodies may be evident in the test result.
In celiac disease, the body produces IgA and IgG that attack tTG: immunoglobulin A (IgA) and immunoglobulin G (IgG).
Measuring the IgA form of tTG antibody in the blood is more useful in detecting celiac disease as tTG is made in the small intestine, where gluten causes inflammation and irritation in sensitive people.

IgM – Immunoglobulin M

Normal serum range (adults) is 0.45 to 2.5 g/L (45 to 250 mg/dL in USA).
Some labs say 0.37 to 2.86 g/L (37 to 286 g/dL).
Babies 0 to 5 months: 0.26 to 1.22 g/L (26 to 122 mg/dL in USA) gradually increasing to adult range (18+)
Women usually have higher IgM levels than men.
Often discovered by investigation of other conditions.
There are two types: Natural IgM and Immune IgM.
Natural IgM occurs in the body at all times, and Immune IgM responds to invaders in the body.
IgM is a large molecule and in non-specific in it’s attack role, and is the first line of defense to invaders, followed by IgG which is slower to respond,
but has a better targeting role for an individual invader.
Antibody measurements assist diagnosis of conditions, such as infections, immunodeficiency, autoimmune disease, and certain types of cancer.
Insufficient immunoglobulins increases susceptibility to infections. High immunoglobulins may indicate an overactive immune system (auto-immune condition).
Found mostly in blood and lymph fluid, and the first the body makes to fight new infections.
Expressed on the surface of B cells (monomer) and in secreted form (pentamer) with very high avidity (forms multiple binding sites with antigen).
Eliminates pathogens in early stage B-cell mediated (humoral) immunity before there is enough IgG.
– High IgM – may indicate a new infection, IgM MGUS, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia, early viral hepatitis,
mononucleosis, rheumatoid arthritis, nephrotic syndrome (kidney damage), or parasite infection.
– Low IgM – occurs in multiple myeloma, some kinds of leukemia, and some inherited immune diseases.
Causes of Low IgM:

  • Smoking with alcohol consumption
  • Endurance exercise and over-training
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Lupus
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Immune thrombocytopenia
  • Diabetes
  • Selective immunoglobulin M deficiency, a rare and sometimes hereditary disorder
  • Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, a rare immune deficiency disorder
  • Lymphoid nodular hyperplasia
  • Leukemia

Smoking alone or alcohol consumption alone has little effect on IgM, but together they signigicantly reduce IgM.
Some patients have no symptoms, others may develop serious recurring infections.
Supplements shown to increase IgM:

  • Lycopene shown beneficial in human and animal studies, from red foods such as tomatoes and watermelon
  • Ginseng shown beneficial in animal studies
  • Astragalus shown beneficial in animal studies

Causes of High IgM:

  • Viral and/or bacterial infections
  • Some autoimmune disorders, including:
    • Type 1 diabetes
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Primary biliary cirrhosis
  • Kidney damage, where proteins such as albumin and IgG are lost through urine (nephrotic syndrome), but serum IgM conversely increases
  • Hyper-immunoglobulin M syndromes, genetic immunodeficiency disorders with high IgM and low levels of other immunoglobulins
  • Louis–Bar syndrome (ataxia-telangiectasia), a rare genetic neurodegenerative disease
  • Cancers, such as multiple myeloma and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia (a type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma)

Health Effects of High IgM:
1: Metabolic Syndrome, a condition characterized by three or more of: fat around the stomach, high blood pressure, high blood glucose, high triglycerides, and low HDL-C levels.
2: High IgM Levels Increase All-Cause Mortality Risk
To decrease IgM levels, work on resolving underlying health issue with a health care professional.

IgD – Immuglobin D

Normal range (adults) is 0.003 to 0.03 g/L (.3 to 3.0 mg/dL in USA). Some labs say anything less than 10 mg/dL is normal.
Many normal, healthy people have undetectable levels of IgD.
IgD fights bacteria, functioning as an antigen receptor on B cells that have not been exposed to antigens.
Shown to activate basophils and mast cells to produce antimicrobial factors.
– High IgD – can indicate IgD multiple myeloma, not as common as IgA or IgG multiple myeloma.
– Low or absent IgD – does not appear to increase infection risk. Not well-researched, so rarely tested.

IgE – Immuglobin E

Normal range (adults) is only a trace amount, .0002 to .02 g/L (or 200 to 20000 ug/L or 83 to 8333 U/mL) or (.002 to .2 mg/dL in USA).
Binds to allergens, triggers histamine release from basophils and mast cells.
Involved in allergic reactions, and protects from parasitic worms.
Frequently increased in parasitic infestations and atopic inviduals (with allergic hypersensitivity).
– High IgE – may indicate parasitic infection.
Also found in those with allergic reactions, asthma, atopic dermatitis, some cancers or certain autoimmune diseases.
Rarely, high IgE may mean multiple myeloma.
– Low IgE – may indicate ataxia-telangiectasia (rare inherited disease affecting muscle coordination).

Complement Tests

Nine major complement proteins, important for the innate immune system, are numbered C1 to C9.
These nine proteins help the body recognise foreign disease-causing cells. Certain health issues may cause deficiencies in these proteins or vice versa.
The numbering generally represents the order in which they react in a cascade of events (except C4).
There are three separate reaction pathways:
1. The the Classical activation pathway
2. The Alternative activation pathway
3. The Membrane attack pathway
Those with low early complement proteins (C1 to C4) are more prone to infections.
Low complement levels can also be a factor in development of autoimmune diseases.
Those with low late complement proteins (C5 to C9) can have a higher risk of infections caused by Neisseria (a type of bacteria that colonise mucosal surfaces).
Neisseria has two forms in humans, one causing ghonorrhea, the other causing bacterial meningitis which can lead to meningococcal septicaemia.
Some people inherit deficiencies in these proteins, some acquire deficiencies, others have these proteins “used up” by some disease, usually an autoimmune disease.
Normal immunology testing is only for C3 and C4, with other tests required if there appears to be an inherited or aquired deficiency in one or more complement proteins.
Reference range (those older than 16 years):Total hemolytic complement (CH50): 30 to 75 U/mL (41 to 90 hemolytic units).
Total complement (CH50) is used to screen for suspected complement deficiencies before ordering individual C1 to C9 complement tests,
as a deficiency of a single individual component of the complement cascade can result in an undetectable total complement level.
High levels of CH50 combined with high C3 and C4 indicate systemic inflammation, connective-tissue diseases including, but not limited to, SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus),
RA (rheumatoid arthritis), severe bacterial and viral infections, and others like cancer, diabetes mellitus, and myocardial infarction.
Also hypermetabolic states such as hyperthyroidism and pregnancy can be linked to high CH50 levels.
Low results may be a consequence of infectious or autoimmune processes.
Complement component activity varies. Those with rheumatoid arthritis can have high complement serum levels but low complement levels in joint fluid.
Normal C3 levels combined with undetectable C4 levels can indicate congenital C4 deficiency.
Congenital deficiencies of C1, C2 or C4 results in an inability to clear immune complexes.
Undetectable C1q levels combined with zero total complement (CH50) and normal C2, C3, and C4 suggests a congenital C1 deficiency, however inherited C1 deficiency is rare.
Absent (or low) C2 levels in the presence of normal C3 and C4 values are consistent with a C2 deficiency.
Low C2 levels with low C3 and C4 levels can indicate a complement-consumptive process such as infectious or autoimmune disease.
Low C2 and C4 levels with C3 levels may indicate C1-INH (C1 esterase inhibitor) deficiency.
Note: This test is different from C1q binding, which is an assay for circulating immune complexes.

C1, C1Q Complement Level

Reference range: 1.2 to 2.2 g/L (12 to 22 mg/dL USA)
Normally tested when Total Complement (CH50) level is undetectable, to diagnose congenital C1 deficiency.
Also to diagnose acquired deficiency of C1-INH (C1 Esterase Inhibitor).
Complement C1 is composed of 3 subunits: C1q, C1r, and C1s. C1q level indicates the amount of C1 present.
C1q recognises and binds to immunoglobulin complexed to antigen, initiating the complement cascade.
Like the more common C2 deficiency, C1 deficiency is associated with increased risk of immune complex disease such as SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus),
polymyositis, glomerulonephritis, and Henoch-Schonlein purpura.
Low C1 levels have also been reported in patients with abnormal immunoglobulin levels (Bruton’s and common variable hypogammaglobulinemia and severe combined immunodeficiency),
likely due to increased catabolism.

C2 Complement Level

Reference Range: 25 to 47 U/mL.
Normally tested when the patient with a low or absent (undetectable) hemolytic complement (CH50).
If the C2 result is under 15 U/mL, then C3, C4, and C2AG levels will be tested.
C2 deficiency is the most common inherited complement deficiency, although rare.
Homozygous (two of the same allele) C2 deficiency has an approximate prevalence ranging from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 40,000.
Heterozygotes (specific genotypes with 1 each of different alleles) C2 deficiency has an approximate prevalence ranging from 1 in 50 to 1 in 100).
Around half of the homozygous patients are clinically normal, but in one third,
SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus) or discoid lupus erythematosus occurs.
People with both SLE and a deficient C2 level frequently have a normal anti-ds DNA titer.
Many have lupus-like skin lesions and photosensitivity, but immunofluorescence studies can fail to demonstrate immunoglobulin or complement
along the epidermal-dermal junction.
Diseases associated with deficient C2 level include dermatomyositis, glomerulonephritis, vasculitis, atrophodema, cold urticaria, inflammatory bowel disease
and recurrent infections.
Test results suggesting C2 deficiency include zero or undetectable hemolytic complement (CH50), with normal C3 and C4 values.

C3 Complement Level

Reference range Males: 8.8 to 25.2 g/L (88 to 252 mg/dL USA)
Reference range Females: 8.8 to 20.6 g/L (88 to 206 mg/dL USA)

C4 Complement Level

Reference range Males: 1.2 to 7.2 g/L (12 to 72 mg/dL USA)
Reference range Females: 1.3 to 7.5 g/L (13 to 75 mg/dL USA)
Complement C4 plays an important role in eliminating certain infections.
– High C4 – may indicate cancer or ulcerative colitis.
– Low C4 – may indicate:

  • Autoimmune disorders and collagen vascular diseases, e.g. lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Bacterial infections
  • Hepatitis
  • Malnutrition
  • Rejection of a kidney transplant
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (autoimmune disease affecting skin, joints, kidneys and other organs
  • Lupus nephritis (kidney disorder as a result of systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Cirrhosis (liver damage)
  • Glomerulonephritis (kidney disease)
  • Hereditary angioedema (rare but serious autoimmune disease, causes swelling in various body parts

C5 to C9 Complement Level

Reference range (C5): 29 to 53 U/ml.
Reference range (C6): 32 to 57 U/ml.
Reference range (C7): 36 to 60 U/ml.
Reference range (C8): 33 to 58 U/ml.
Reference range (C9): 37 to 61 U/ml.
Deficiencies of the late complement proteins (C5, C6, C7, C8, and C9) are unable to form the MAC (lytic membrane attack complex) and have increased susceptibility to neisserial infections.
Absent C5 to C9 levels with normal C3 and C4 levels are consistent with C5 deficiency.
Absent C5 to C9 levels with low C3 and C4 levels suggest complement consumption (Used up by an autoimmune disease).
Normal results indicate normal C5 to C9 levels and normal functional activity, although in rare cases, although C5 to C9 levels seem OK,
the protein can be non-functional, and further tests are required to determine correct function of C5 to C9.
See notes above under the heading Complements.
Additional notes re C7:
Most cases of C7 deficiency have neisserial infections, but rarely cases of SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis),
scleroderma or pyoderma gangrenosum.
Additional notes re C9:
In the Japanese population, C9 deficiency is common, almost 1%.
Lytic activity of C9-deficient serum is decreased, but assembly of C5b-C8 complexes will result in a transmembrane channel with lytic activity,
although lytic activity is reduced.
Many C9-deficient patients show no symptoms, but may still present with invasive neisserial infections.

ANA – Anti-Nuclear Antibodies Screen

ANA tests identify serum antibodies that bind to autoantigens in cell nuclei.
Most of these antibodies are IgG, with IgM and IgA also sometimes detected.
The ELISA (Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay) method is mostly used.
Normal Range: Less than 1.0 U (or less than or equal to 1:40 dilution) is classed as a negative result.
Positive range:
1.1 to 2.9 U is weakly positive.
3.0 to 5.9 U is positive.
Greater than or equal to 6.0 U is highly positive.
A positive result normally indicates presence of an autoimmune disease where the body attacks connective tissue, and may indicate:

  • Mixed connective tissue disease
  • Drug-induced lupus erythematosus
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Sjögren syndrome
  • Scleroderma
  • Polymyositis-dermatomyositis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Some labs give results as 1:40 (good) while a result of 1:640 suggests an autoimmune condition. This is a measure of how much dilution of the blood specimen is required before the antibodies can no longer be observed.
Other tests will be required to diagnose a specific autoimmune condition.
Note that insufficient Vitamin D3 can cause some autoimmune conditions. Although Vitamin D3 increases immunity, it also moderates an immune system running out of control.

Allergy Testing

If the Eosinophil test (see under Haematology) is high, allergies may be the cause.
There are many allergy tests. Some are serum (blood) tests, and the sample may be tested in vitro exposed to a mixture of various allergens.
Allergens may be pollen, mould, animal fur or saliva, dust mites, birds, and various foods, the common culprits being:

  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Cows Milk
  • Soy
  • Barley
  • Rice
  • Wheat (gluten)
  • Seafoods
  • Nuts
  • Antibiotics

When allergic reactions occur, levels of IgE are tested, and in some cases IgA

Anaphylactic Foods

These are foods which may cause enough swelling around the mouth, tongue and throat that breathing is difficult, and choking may occur.
Peanuts are perhaps the most famous food for causing breathing difficulties.
Usually overlooked by doctors: Lack of vitamin D, lack of sunlight, lack of very small exposure to these foods as a fetus or as a newborn are significant factors in these conditions.

Other Testing

The doctor may order many other types of tests, depending on results of previous tests combined with previous medical history, age, sex, current symptoms, family history, etc.

Sex Hormone Testing

Doctors can order an Androgen Study or Sex Hormone Profile, and may include any or all of the below tests and more:

Estrogens including E2 (estradiol), E1 (estrone), E3 (estriol)

E1 and E2 are the main active estrogens, as E3 is generally the pregnancy estrogen.
The enzyme aromatase converts testosterone to estradiol, and converts androstenedione to estrone.
Many other steroids can stimulate the estrogen receptor independent of aromatase.
This includes xenoestrogens such as BPA (Bisphenol A) and other plastics in the environment and unfortunately in the diet (microwave dinners, etc).
This is why LeanMachine recommends glass containers for all foods. BPA free plastics are just as bad. BPA has been replaced with BPS, and
although BPS is not taken up as much by estrogen receptors, once in the body it is very hard to excrete, so can easily build up to harmful levels.
E2 is mainly produced in ovaries and testes by aromatization of testosterone
High estrogen may come from estrogen secreting tumours, medications, exposure to BPA, pthalates and other toxins in plastics, from obesity (every fat cell can produce estrogens), and many other factors.
High estrogen may be a result of unusually high levels of testosterone, from testosterone replacement therapy or testicular tumour, which converts to estrogen by the enzyme aromatase.
Aromatase inhibitor drugs such as anastrozole (Arimidex), letrozole (Femara) and exemestane have largely replaced the older tamoxifen to help treat breast cancer in post-menopausal women.
Anti-estrogenic foods and supplements include cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower brussel sprouts, cabbage), onions, garlic, healthy fats
(coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocados, raw nuts), chrysin (passionflower),
DIM (diindolylmethane),
citrus bioflavonoids (diosmin, hesperidin,
rutin, naringin, tangeretin, diosmetin, narirutin, neohesperidin,
nobiletin, quercetin),
turmeric,
Curcumin,
fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented soy, fermented raw dairy, apple cider vinegar, kombucha).

Progesterone

I will omit the reference range here, as there are too many variables.
Progesterone levels are influenced by the time through the monthly cycle, age, pregnancy status, menstruating or post-menopusal, whether uterus and/or ovaries have been removed, if there are cysts on the ovaries, problems with the adrenal glands, and many other factors.
The test can help determine the cause of infertility, track ovulation, assist diagnosis of an ectopic or failing pregnancy, monitor pregnancy health, monitor progesterone replacement therapy, or assist diagnosis of abnormal uterine bleeding.
Men also have small amounts of progesterone.
If supplementation is recommended, see a doctor who can prescribe natural progesterone from a compounding chemist.
Most doctors will simply prescribe Progestin, an artificial and incomplete copy of real progesterone, with side effects perhaps worse than any benefit.
Women pregnant with twins, triplets, etc will usually have higher progesterone than those with a single fetus.
High progesterone levels can be seen sometimes with:

  • Some types of ovarian cysts
  • Non-viable pregnancies (molar pregnancies)
  • A rare type of ovarian cancer
  • Adrenal overproduction of progesterone
  • Adrenal cancer
  • CAM (Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia)

Low progesterone levels can be associated with:

  • Toxemia late in pregnancy
  • Poor function of ovaries
  • Amenorrhea (Lack of menstruation)
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Fetal death or miscarriage

Testosterone

Required by men and women. Women have much less testosterone, but are more sensitive to it. Most testosterone is bound to SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) which makes the molecule so large, it can no longer have any effect. Free Testosterone (not bound to SHBG) is the only effective testosterone.
Many labs will only measure total testosterone, and calculate free testosterone by measuring SHBG.
There are many causes of low testosterone, including disease, obesity, stress, insomnia and medications.
If blood tests show low testosterone and high LH, it may indicate a testicular problem in men, such as testicular failure or Klinefelter’s syndrome.
If blood tests show low testosterone and normal or low LH, it may indicate a problem with the pituitary gland.

SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin)

Attaches to other hormones to regulate their effectiveness when the body produces more hormones than we require.
This is a natural part of the self-regulation body system to prevent skyrocketing or insufficient hormones.

LH (Luteinizing Hormone)

Luteinizing hormone (LH), also called lutropin or lutrophin, British spelling luteinising hormone.
An acute rise of LH (“LH surge”) in women triggers ovulation and development of the corpus luteum (a hormone-secreting structure developed in an ovary after an ovum (egg) has been discharged, but degenerates after a few days unless pregnancy has begun.
LH is secreted by the gonadotropic cells in the anterior pituitary gland in the brain.
This signals the testes (in men) or the adrenals (in women) to produce testosterone.

DHEA

Often called the “Mother of all hormones” as levels can be a thousand times higher than other hormones.
DHEA is mainly made by the adrenal glands, and used to make testosterone and many other hormones.
Unusually high levels of DHEA can be caused by adrenal cancer or hyperplasia, and are aromatised into estrogen or other hormones.

Cortisol

Commonly called the “stress hormone”, or the “fight or flight hormone”.
We all need some cortisol, but long-term high cortisol, usually caused by chronic stress, is very bad for the body.
Cortisol levels vary considerably through the day, so testing is usually carried out at multiple intervals through the day.

Prolactin

Prolactin is a peptide hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland in the brain.
Primarily associated with lactation, and vital in breast development during pregnancy and lactation.
Doctors test for prolactin in women with galactorrhea (unexplained milk secretion) or irregular menses or infertility, and in men with impaired sexual function and milk secretion.
If prolactin is high, a doctor will test thyroid function and ask first about other conditions and medications known to raise prolactin secretion.
Prolactin is downregulated by dopamine and is upregulated by estrogen.
Hyperprolactinaemia (abnormally high serum prolactin levels) may cause galactorrhea (production and spontaneous flow of breast milk)
and disruptions in the normal menstrual period in women, and hypogonadism, infertility and erectile dysfunction in men.
High levels of prolactin (sometimes due to a prolactin secreting tumour) inhibits the release of gonadotropin releasing hormone,
resulting in reduced LH (Luteinizing hormone, a gonadotropin) secretion, leading to reduced testosterone production.
Normal prolactin levels:
Women: Less than 500 mIU/L (20 ng/mL or µg/L)
Men: Less than 450 mI U/L (18 ng/mL or µg/L)

Beta-HCG

Also known as β-HCG, Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), quantitative blood pregnancy test, quantitative hCG blood test, quantitative serial beta-hCG test.
This Serum Quantitative test is the sum of human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) plus the hCG beta-subunit, for early detection of pregnancy.
hCG consists of alpha (α) and beta (β) chains associated to the intact hormone.
The α-chains in all four of these glycoprotein hormones are virtually identical, while β-chains have greatly differing structures,
responsible for the respective specific hormonal functions.
Reference values change during pregnancy, and can double every 2 to 3 days.
Generally a level below 5 indicates no pregnancy, while a level over 25 confirms a pregnancy.
Results between 6 and 24 are a grey area, best re-tested later, or confirmed by ultrasound after 5 to 6 weeks from gestation.
Note: This is a much more accurate and useful test than hGC Urine tests available over the counter.

Range (mIU/mL)
Weeks of pregnancy is defined as completed weeks beginning with the start of the last menstruation phase.
Male 0−3
Female
nonpregnant 0−5
postmenopausal 0−8
pregnant
Weeks Gestation
3 6−71
4 10−750
5 217−7138
6 158−31,795
7 3697−163,563
8 32,065−149,571
9 63,803−151,410
10 46,509−186,977
12 27,832−210,612
14 13,950−62,530
15 12,039−70,971
16 9040−56,451
17 8175−55,868
18 8099−58,176

Levels are high if there is a testicular tumour in men, or pregnancy in women. Often used as a pregnancy test.

MSH (Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone) Blood Test

MSH is an anti-inflammatory, regulatory hormone made in the hypothalamus, controlling hormone production, modulating the immune system and controlling nerve function.
Also caled: Alpha-Melanocyte-stimulating Hormone, α-MSH.
It is made when leptin is able to activate its receptor in the POMC (Proopio-MelanoCortin) pathway.
If the receptor is damaged by peripheral immune effects, such as the release of too many pro-inflammatory cytokines, then the receptor doesn’t work right and MSH isn’t made.
Leptin controls storage of fatty acids as fat, so MSH and leptin are a major source of interest for obesity control.
MSH controls hypothalamic production of melatonin and endorphins. Without MSH, deficiency creates chronic non-restful sleep and chronic increased perception of pain, respectively.
MSH deficiency causes chronic fatigue and chronic pain. MSH also controls many protective effects in the skin, gut and mucus membranes of the nose and lung.
MSH also controls the peripheral release of cytokines. When there is insufficient MSH, peripheral inflammatory effects are multiplied.
MSH also controls pituitary function, with 60% of MSH deficient patients not having enough antidiuretic hormone, causing patients to be constantly thirsty,
urinate frequently and often have unusual sensitivity to static electrical shocks.
40% of MSH deficient patients will not regulate male hormone production, and another 40% will not regulate proper control of ACTH (AdrenoCorticoTropic Hormone) and cortisol.

ACTH (AdrenoCorticoTropic Hormone)

Normal range: 9 to 52 pg/mL or 10 to 60 pg/mL depending on the lab.
Always tested early morning, as ACTH is highest 6 to 8 am and lowest around 11 pm. No ranges are specified for later in the day.
Normally tested in conjunction with a Cortisol test.
ACTH is a hormone produced in the anterior (front) pituitary gland in the brain, and regulates levels of cortisol (the steroid hormone),
which is released from the adrenal glands
Also known as:

  • Highly-sensitive ACTH
  • Corticotropin
  • Cosyntropin (drug form of ACTH)

Used to detect diseases associated with too much or too little cortisol, possibly caused by:

  • Adrenal or pituitary malfunction
  • Pituitary tumour
  • Adrenal tumour
  • Lung tumour

General

Some of the hormone tests above are blood tests, some are urine tests, some are saliva tests.
I have chosen not to discuss these tests in detail here, as it would fill an encyclopaedia.
These tests vary enormously with age, sex, pre or post menopause, time of the month for women, and so many other factors.
Doctors specialising in this field are best, as typical GP’s often do not have a great understanding of this complex problem.

Other general health tests

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI = weight (kg) divided by (height in metres squared).
Note: BMI does not allow for the amount of muscle compared to body fat, so a professional weight-lifter may have a BMI in the obese range, but still have a healthy body composition (more muscle than fat).

Underweight < 18.5 kg/m2
Normal 18.5 – 24.9 Caucasian
Overweight 25.0 – 29.9
Obesity class I 30.0 – 34.9
Obesity class II 35.0 – 39.9
Obesity class III (extreme, morbid) ≥ 40.0

 

Blood Pressure (Systolic / Diastolic)

At doctor’s office (average 5 measurements with lowest and highest readings discarded) < 140 / 90 mmHg
Ambulatory BP monitor < 130 / 85
With diabetes or stroke or cardiac risk < 130 / 80

Heart Rate (HR) or Pulse

Bradycardia < 60 beats per minute
Normal 60 – 80
Tachycardia > 100

Respiration Rate (RR)

Bradypnea < 12 breaths per minute
Normal (eupnea) 12 – 18
Tachypnea > 18

Body Temperature

Fever > 37.5 ° C
Normal 36.5 – 37.5 ° C (approximate)
Hypothermia < 35.0 ° C

Five Blood Tests for Everyone Over 50

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C probably kills more people than any other virus, and 2014 data from the CDC in the USA shows hepatitis C–related deaths are at an all-time high.
Because this liver disease usually shows little or no symptoms, around half of those infected do not know they carry the virus.
Left untreated, Hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure, all contributing to about 20,000 deaths in the USA alone.
A simple blood test can diagnose Hepatitis C, and if the test is positive, Hepatitis C is effectively treated before the liver damage becomes life-threatening.
For those born between 1945 and 1965, the USPSTF (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force) recommends a single hepatitis C test.
For those born before 1945 or after 1965, USPSTF reccomend testing only for high risk people, such as those
who had blood transfusions before 1992, injection drug users, or health care workers who have been stuck with a patient’s needle.

Blood glucose

For those overweight, or have have high blood pressure, or a family history of diabetes, there is a high risk for diabetes.
If blood glucose tests normal repeatedly, then once a year is often enough to repeat the test.
If pre-diabetes is diagnosed, immediate action is required to prevent the condition turning into full-blown diabetes.
The best way to prevent full-blown diabetes is to eliminate sugar, carbohydrates and processed foods from the diet.

Lipid panel

The lipid panel tests for LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
See notes above.

STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections)

The doctor may ask if any sexual activity has changed (you or your partner).
Although STI’s are unusual among older adults, they are increasing.
Get tested if there are any doubts, as most STI’s can be easily treated and cleared up quickly.

Cancer Tests

Many tests are available, For example, abnormal levels of liver enzymes may indicate liver tumours before any symptoms are evident, allowing early surgery intervention, reducing other dangerous treatments and improving chance of recovery.

CA 15-3 (Cancer Antigen 15-3

This test is used mainly to monitor the treatment for metastatic (spreading) breast cancer.
CA 15-3 is a protein shed by tumour cells, often increased in breast cancer, indicating how the cancer has progressed or how the treatment has reduced the cancer.
CA 15-3 can be elevated in healthy people and in those with other cancers, so is not accurate enough to screen for early breast cancer.
Negative results do not mean there is no cancer, and positive results do not mean there is cancer.
CA 15-3 may be elevated by some other cancers, or by other non-cancerous conditions.
Related tests are Tumour markers, CEA, HER-2/neu, hormone receptor status.

<h3>HER-2, also called HER2/neu, is the acronym for Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2</h3>

Tests for HER-2:

FISH (Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization) test uses fluorescent probes, looking at the number of HER2 gene copies in a tumor cell.
More than two copies of the HER2 gene indicatesthat the cancer is HER2 positive.​

IHC (ImmunoHistoChemistry) test measures tumour production of the HER2 protein, ranked as 0, 1+, 2+, or 3+.
If results are 3+ the cancer is HER2-positive.
If the results are 2+, a FISH test determines if the cancer is HER2-positive.
If the HER 2 test is positive, it indicates that cancer can be treated with Herceptin (trastuzumab, an immune treatment), also Perjeta and Kadcyla.
A HER2 positive result also means that the cancer is most likely aggressive, so it is advised to start treatment as soon as possible to improve  survival and help prevent recurrence.

CA 19-9 (Cancer Antigen 19-9)

High CA 19-9 levels are usually caused by pancreatic cancer, but also by other cancers and by infections in the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
Related tests: Bilirubin, CEA, liver function tests, tumour markers

CA-125, also known as Cancer antigen 125

CA-125 is a protein produced by ovarian cancer cells, but also in some healthy women, and used as a marker for ovarian cancer.
CA-125 levels may be high in non-cancerous conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease, excessive abdomen fluid (ascites), liver disease, pregnancy and menstruation.
Related tests: Tumour markers, BRCA-1 and BRCA-2

BRCA-1 and BRCA-2

See info above under the Gene Testing heading.

Calcitonin, also called Thyrocalcitonin

The Calcitonin test helps diagnose and/or monitor:

  • C-cell hyperplasia, a benign condition that may or may not progress to MTC
  • MTC (Medullary thyroid cancer), a malignant condition
  • Screen risk for MEN2 (multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2)

Age, pregnancy, lactation and food can influence calcitonin concentration in healthy people.
Reference ranges for some calcitonin chemiluminescent assays:
Males: Less than 8.8 pg/mL (ng/L)
Females: Less than 5.8 pg/mL (ng/L)
Athyroidal (without a functioning thyroid gland) people: Less than 0.5 pg/ml (ng/L)
Calcium Infusion test raises calcitonin levels.
Peak calcium infusion (IMMULITE 2000 calcitonin assay) test:
Males: Less than or equal to 130 pg/mL
Females: Less than or equal to 90 pg/mL
Normal range for peak calcitonin following calcium infusion is 100 to 200 ng/L
Specific reference intervals have not been established, so must be interpreted by the doctor along with other tests.
A high level of calcitonin should lead the doctor to perform a thyroid biopsy, scan and ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis.
About 25% of MTC cases relate to an inherited mutation in the RET gene, leading to MEN2.
Only 1 copy from either parent increases risk of MTC, occurring mostly in the 40 to 60 age group, but can occur at any age, more prevalent in women.

AFP (alpha-fetoprotein)

There are different AFP tests for different reasons, performed on a blood sample, urine sample, or amniotic fluid sample.
Other names for the test: Total AFP, MSAFP (Maternal Serum AFP), and Alpha-Fetoprotein-L3 percent (%)
Tested between the 14th and 22nd week of pregnancy as a screen for neural tube defects and chromosomal abnormalities.
Elevated AFP in maternal serum or amniotic fluid during pregnancy may indicate:

  • Spina Bifida
  • Anencephalia
  • Atresia of the oesophagus
  • Multiple pregnancy

Down Syndrome markers:
Maternal AFP levels, together with Beta-HCG, gestational age, maternal weight and other parameters, risk of Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) is calculated.
In Trosomy 21, maternal serum AFP concentration is decreased, while maternal serum Beta-HCG is about double the normal level,
and Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein A (PAPP-A) is reduced.
If a woman was screened for Down’s syndrome or open neural tube defects in a previous pregnancy,
the levels of the screening markers in that pregnancy can be used to adjust the marker levels in the current pregnancy.
Women with a false positive in one pregnancy is likely to have a false positive again in a subsequent pregnancy.
Twin / Down Syndrome markers:
Serum marker levels are raised in twin pregnancies, so twin pregnancies pose problems as one fetus may be affected and the other may not.
About 2% of pregnancies affected by Down’s syndrome are twins. If the twins are dizygotic (Fraternal, non-identical),
the risk of Down’s syndrome for each baby individually is the same as for a single baby (around 1 in 800 pregnancies).
If the twins are monozygotic (identical), the risk to both of having Down’s syndrome is also around 1 in 800.
A combination of Nuchal Translucency scanning and Serum screening may aid in risk assessment of Down’s syndrome for twin pregnancies.
Fetal Nuchal Translucency (FNT) screening uses ultrasound to measure size of the nuchal pad at the nape of the fetal neck,
performed between 11 weeks + 2 days and 14 weeks + 1 day.
Increased nuchal translucency reflects fetal heart failure, typically seen in any serious anomaly of the heart and great arteries,
and strongly associated with a chromosomal abnormality. In one study,
84% of karyotypically proven trisomy 21 fetuses had a nuchal translucency >3 mm at 10-13 weeks of gestation (as did 4.5% of chromosomally normal fetuses).
The greater the extent of FNT, the greater the risk of abnormality.
FNT is a straightforward test but will have a 20% false positive rate (FPR) if the thresholds are set to detect 85% (if used alone and maternal age adjusted).
Adding nasal bone screening during the same examination may increase sensitivity further and reduce the FPR.
One study concluded that an absent nasal bone should be considered as a highly predictive marker of Down’s syndrome.
Afro-Caribbean women have different marker levels than Caucasian women, heavier wome have different markers than lighter women, and those who skoke have different markers again.
Conclusion: These markers only pose a risk level, and do not guarantee a result one way or the other.

AFP also tests for cancer.
The Quantitative test, reporting the concentration of AFP in the sample, is the normal AFP test,
but a less expensive Qualitative test may be used sometimes, reporting only a normal or high concentration.
AFP is made by the liver and yolk sac of a fetus, and is the main protein in the first three months of development,
but decreases by age 1 to the very low levels found in adults.

However, AFP is a tumour marker for hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer), germ cell tumours (testicular, ovarian cancers),
also the rare nonseminomatous germ cell tumors usually found in the pineal gland of the brain.
AFP can also be elevated in some forms of biliary tract, stomach or pancreas cancers.
AFP may also elevated in Cirrhosis or chronic active hepatitis.

Reference range:
Non-pregnant adults, high blood levels, over 500 ng/ml (nanograms/milliliter) of AFP are seen in only a few situations, such as:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a primary cancer of the liver
  • Germ cell tumors (a type of cancer of the testes and ovaries, such as embryonal carcinoma and yolk sac tumors)
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia, a severely disabling and rare genetic neurodegenerative disease

Moderately elevated values are found in:

  • Alcohol-mediated liver cirrhosis
  • Acute viral hepatitis
  • Carriers of HBsAg (surface antigen of the hepatitis B virus), indicating current hepatitis B infection

Amniotic Fluid AFP (alpha-fetoprotein)

Info to follow later…

Pregnancy Tests

See also AFP test above.

pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A)

To be advised…

Rare Tests

Protein C and Protein S

Other names for these tests:
– Protein C Antigen and/or Functional Blood Test
– Protein C, Functional or Antigen Test
– Protein S, Functional or Antigen Test
Protein C and Protein S are separate blood tests, often performed together. The tests are meant to assess either the functioning or the abundance of these proteins.
Protein C is an anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory enzyme. It requires both Protein S, a coenzyme, and Vitamin K to function.
It is similar to aspirin in its “blood-thinning” effects.
Protein C is made in the liver, while Protein S made in the inner (endotheliel) lining of blood vessels.
Both proteins circulate in the bloodstream.
Blood clotting is essential to minimise blood loss if injured, but it is regulated, because if the bood is too thin, we can bleed out and die,
but if blood is too thick, it can form clots when we do not need them, and restrict or block off blood supply, potentially causing loss of a limb or organ, and sometimes life.
About 1 in 300 people have protein C deficiency, which is classed as a hereditaty condition, although more people aquire it from taking Warfarin.
Most people with this deficiency have few problems with clotting, as long as diet and lifestyle factors are kept in a healthy manner, and any sudden clotting is attended to promptly.
If two people, both with Protein C deficiency, have offspring, then that child is more likely to have a very severe case of clotting.
Protein C is activated during the clotting process, to prevent too much clotting, by removing blood clotting factors,
and stimulating plasmin, a protein that degrades blood clots (fibrinolysis).
Deficiencies in these proteins can cause hypercoagulable blood (abnormal blood coagulation) and internal blood clotting (thrombosis).
There are several classifications, characterized by Protein C and S deficiencies:
– Type I is caused by insufficient quantity.
– Type II is caused by defective function.
– Type III (Protein S only) is caused by a low amount of active-form Protein S, but normal levels of total Protein S.
If there is a thrombotic (clotting) episode, then the test has to be performed only after a period of 10 days.
Low Levels of Protein C and Protein S may indicate:

  • Serious infections
  • Kidney disorder
  • Liver disorder
  • HIV
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)
  • Various cancers
  • Vitamin K deficiency

High Protein C and Protein S levels are rarely of concern.
Note: Test results are NOT to be interpreted as a “stand-alone” test.
Results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information.
Factors that may interfere with the results include surgery, oral contraceptives and chemotherapy.
Up to 15% of Caucasians carry a genetic mutation in a clotting factor that makes it resistant to Protein C’s effects, leading to similar symptoms as Protein C deficiency.
Tourniquet placement for extended periods of time can cause veins to pool with blood, altering Protein C and Protein S levels and affecting the test results.
Protein C and Protein S are being considered for use in therapy for individuals with hypercoagulation or Sepsis (whole-body inflammation).
LeanMachine advises finding a specialist experienced in these disorders, as these conditions can be easily mis-diagnosed.

More tests to follow here soon…

There are many more tests available, but the ones included here are among the most common.
To get accurate readings, be sure to follow instructions in preparing for tests.
We may be asked not to eat and to drink only water for anywhere from a few hours to 12 hours beforehand.
Follow these instructions, or results may be skewed, requiring additional tests or even unnecessary medications or procedures.
Remember that you have the right to ask questions!
No matter how busy the Doctor is, you are entitled to the information and explanation.
If the Doctor cannot provide it, ask the nurse. If you still cannot get a reasonable explanation, find another doctor!
This information is not meant to replace advice from the doctor, but to assist us to understand what the results mean, and allow us to ask the doctor any appropriate questions related to the test results, and understand the health, medication, treatment and prognosis implications.
And if the doctor says “All of your results are fine” then ask if any are “in range, but not optimal” and “what changes should I make to progress toward optimal results”.
Always get a printed copy of your results, and refer to this site to check if the doctor is really telling the truth, bluffing, or has no idea.

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