I get comments frequently that switching from an engineering career to naturopathic medicine had to be a big change. While this may be true, the problem-solving aspect of my engineering degree I use everyday in my practice. The body is very complex and when dealing with chronic health issues it’s not always easy to find the underlying cause. Solving these complexities is one of my favorite parts in helping others.
The Micronutrient Test
One of the tools I use to help me is the Micronutrient Test. This test looks at both serum values and cellular values for 48 vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fats. The serum values depict what is available for the body to use and the cellular values depict what the body is actually using.
This helps me differentiate between a true deficiency or malabsorption issues which may be due to intestinal malabsorption, genetic variations, or oxidative stress.
Here is what the patterns in the values may indicate:
- Serum Normal/High – Cellular Deficient: Reflects an issue getting into the cell
- Serum Deficient – Cellular Deficient: Reflects a deficiency
- Serum Deficient – Cellular Normal/High: Reflects nutrient is getting into the cell but there is not a lot of back storage available to use
Example: Vitamin A
This image shows an example of one of the fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamin A, from the Micronutrient Test Report.
(A full sample report can be viewed here.)
We can see from this example that the serum values of Vitamin A are normal but the cellular value is low. This is a case where there is an issue with this nutrient not getting into the cell so the body is not able to use it. Your body not being able to utilize Vitamin A may cause issues with eyes, hair and skin as well as immune system and thyroid function.
Looking for Patterns
From here, the question becomes is it all fat-soluble vitamins that have this pattern? If so, then there is potentially an issue with absorbing fats which supporting the body with the appropriate digestive enzymes or a liver detoxification may help.
If only Vitamin A has this pattern and the other fat-soluble vitamins are normal then it is very likely there is a genetic variation that is affecting the utilization of this nutrient. In this case I would want to make sure the right form of Vitamin A is consumed in the diet and in supplement form as well. Plant-based foods contain beta-carotene which is a precursor to Vitamin A or retinol. If someone is having issues converting beta-carotene into retinol I would check to make sure they were consuming animal products to get retinol or supplementing the correct form.
This is one example of many of how the Micronutrient Test helps me get to the underlying cause. With problem-solving such as this it can be possible to find the underlying cause of chronic health issues, which makes naturopathic medicine stand apart from medicine that only treats symptoms.
Contact 317-344-9840 to learn more about Dr. Melanie and how she can help, or request an appointment. Virtual consultations are available by appointment.